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Cream Cheese Rugelach Recipe

These cream cheese rugelach with a cinnamon-raisin filling are drawing raves as being “flaky,” “tender,” “easy,” even “perfect.” 

Cream Cheese Rugelach Recipe

This tender, flaky cream cheese rugelach recipe came to author Tracey Zabar via chef Jason Weiner of Almond in Brooklyn who in turn acquired it from grandmother Risa Smith at a baby shower. That’s how the best recipes come to be circulated, yes? Someone experiences something transcendent, instinctively knows it’s a keeper, kindly requests the details, thankfully embraces the need for it in one’s life, openly shares the recipe with others in turn, and then bakes happily ever after. The end. This recipe has been updated. Originally published December 6, 2011.Renee Schettler Rossi

LC Not Your Grandma's Rugelach Recipe Note

We’ve noticed that most folks’ understanding of the best rugelach recipe tends to be the rugelach recipe their grandma made. Obviously, this cream cheese rugelach recipe isn’t that rugelach recipe. However, it was handed out by a grandmother, which ought to count for something. What also ought to count is that our testers found the dough to be “flaky,” “tender,” “a dream to work with,” “easy,” even “perfect,” although you can be the judge of that.

Cream Cheese Rugelach Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 2 H
  • Makes about 36 rugelach

Ingredients

  • For the cream cheese dough
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and chilled
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • For the raisin filling
  • One 15-ounce box golden raisins
  • Enough water to cover the raisins
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or hazelnuts
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons rum
  • For the apricot filling
  • One 15-ounce box apricots
  • Enough water (or orange juice) to cover the apricots
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or hazelnuts
  • One 12-ounce jar orange marmalade
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons orange brandy

Directions

  • Make the cream cheese dough
  • 1. Toss the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse just until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles mostly coarse sand with a few pea-size blobs of butter. Add the cream cheese and sour cream and pulse just until the ingredients come together into a somewhat shaggy dough.
  • 2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divvy it up into 4 equal portions, being careful not to overwork the dough. Gently pat each portion of dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.
  • Make one of the fillings
  • 3. For the raisin filling: Dump the raisins in a medium saucepan and pour in just enough cold water to cover. Add the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla and gently simmer over low heat until almost all the water is absorbed and the raisins have turned plump, anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the heat and and size of the pan. Let the raisins cool slightly. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until the raisins are coarsely chopped. Add the walnuts and process until a paste forms. Stir in as much rum as you fancy and let the filling cool to room temperature.

    For the apricot filling: Dump the apricots in a medium saucepan and pour in just enough cold water to cover. Add the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Gently simmer over low heat until almost all the water has been absorbed and the apricots have turned soft and plump, 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the heat and the size of the pan. Let the apricot mixture cool slightly. Transfer the apricot mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until it’s coarsely chopped. Add the walnuts and marmalade and process until a paste forms. Stir in as much brandy as you fancy and let the filling cool to room temperature.
  • Assemble the rugelach
  • 4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • 5. Roll 1 portion of the dough into a rectangle somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. (If the dough doesn’t roll easily, let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes and then try again.) Spread the dough with up to 1/4 of the filling, smoothing the filling almost but not quite all the way to the edge of the dough. Starting with the long side of the dough, tightly roll up the dough and filling into a jelly roll. Using your palms, gently flatten the roll ever so slightly and wrap it in plastic wrap. Place the filled rolled dough in the freezer or refrigerator and repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  • 6. Take 1 of the filled rolled dough portions out of the fridge or freezer and cut it into 1 1/2-inch-wide slices. Place each slice, cut side down, on the prepared sheet. Whisk the egg yolks and brush very lightly over each slice and then sprinkle, sparingly or generously, as you see fit, with sugar. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
  • 7. Bake the rugelach for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Let the rugelach cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. We think you can figure out what to do next.
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