Fig rugelach recipe are traditional Hanukkah dessert that you’re going to want to borrow for your every cookie craving throughout the year.
These fig rugelach are made with a largely traditional cream cheese dough that’s unexpectedly spiked with the notable addition of cardamom. It’s then smothered with fig jam, and rolled into those characteristic crescent shapes and make an unforgettable hostess gift or addition to any Hanukkah or Christmas cookie extravaganza. Truth be told, they also make a lovely little sweet to enjoy alongside an afternoon cup of tea any time of year. Bonus: the unbaked rugelach freeze beautifully so you can bake off as few or as many as you need at moment’s notice. Happy holidays, indeed.–Angie Zoobkoff
For the rugelach dough
- 2 tablespoons green cardamom pods
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
- 8 ounces cold full-fat cream cheese cut into small cubes
- 1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the fig rugelach filling
- 3/4 cup fig jam
- 1/2 cup almonds toasted and finely chopped
For finishing the fig rugelach
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons coarse decorating sugar
Make the rugelach dough
- In a mortar, using a pestle, crush the cardamom pods until they open. Free all of the black seeds from the pods and discard the pods. Crush the seeds until finely ground. You should have about 1 tablespoon crushed cardamom seeds..
- In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, crushed cardamom seeds, brown sugar, and granulated sugar and pulse a few times to mix. Scatter the butter and cream cheese over the flour mixture and pulse until most of the butter and cream cheese is no longer visible and is roughly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the egg, egg yolks, and vanilla and pulse a few more times, just until the dough starts to come together, about 10 seconds.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a disk 3/4 to 1 inch (2 to 2.5 cm) thick, then wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Position 2 oven racks, evenly spaced, in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make the fig rugelach filling
- Place 1 dough disk on a large, well-floured work surface and roll it out into a round that’s approximately 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. If the dough is sticky, lightly flour the top of the dough and rolling pin.
- Spread 3 tablespoons fig jam evenly over the dough and then top the jam evenly with 1/4 of the almonds. Using your palm, gently press the almonds into the dough. Cut the round into 12 equal wedges. Starting at the rounded outside edge of each wedge, gently roll each wedge toward its point. Place the rolled cookies, evenly spaced, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with a second disk of dough and second prepared baking sheet. (At this point you can go ahead and freeze the rugelach on the baking sheet until they’re hard as a rock and then pop them into a resealable bag and stash them in the freezer for up to a month. When you’re ready to bake them, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top and bake them from frozen, adding a couple minutes to the suggested baking time below.)
Finish and bake the fig rugelach
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, and water, mixing well. Lightly brush the rolled cookies, using no more than half the egg wash, and then sprinkle the rugelach with 1 tablespoon coarse decorating sugar.
- Bake the cookies until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, switching the baking sheets between the racks about halfway through the baking time. (If you’re baking the cookies from frozen, you’ll need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time.)
- Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer the rugelach to the racks and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough, filling, and toppings. Eat as soon as you can.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This fig rugelach is a great back-pocket recipe. It looks fancy, yet is really simple as the cream-cheese dough is made in the food processor. I thought the flavors were great, as I love fig and cardamom, but there is also a lot of room for playing. Cinnamon could replace the cardamom or even an apple pie spice. The fig jam could be swapped for classic strawberry or something tropical like guava. And whatever nuts you have floating around could be used.
I thought this recipe made a flavorful rugelach that was perfect for a fall day with a cup of tea. The only thing I would change would be to use more jam on each disk after rolling it out. I also would cut the disks into smaller triangles to make smaller cookies.
These little fig rugelach are absolutely delectable! Perfect alongside an afternoon cup of tea, and they’d look lovely on a holiday cookie platter, too. I baked one sheet fresh and froze the remaining cookies. They, too, baked up beautifully and received equally rave reviews as the first batch.
Originally published December 20, 2019