I make rugelach once a year, after Thanksgiving when I typically have a lot of cream cheese left over from my post-Thanksgiving brunch. I have no idea whose recipe I am using, but the dough is basically cream cheese, butter, a little sugar, and flour. For fillings I just scrounge around to see whatever I have on hand–jam, apple butter, chopped nuts, chopped raisins, anything will do. It’s pretty hard to go wrong. The dough is quite forgiving. I generally freeze the unbaked cookies, then put them in ziplocs and bake them whenever I need some.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 t kosher salt
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl, mixing until well combined and fluffy (use an electric mixer if desired). Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and the vanilla. Add the flour gradually and mix until just combined.
- Divide the dough in quarters and make a ball out of each. Wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
After that I roll each ball out into a 10" circle, slap the filling on top, and cut each circle into 12 wedges, each of which gets rolled up into one cookie. This dough makes roughly 55 cookies (48 + the extras that you make out of the cut-off edges of the dough, which can get rolled out as many times as necessary). An egg wash and some raw sugar/cinnamon goes on, then they bake for 15-20 minutes at 350. If you freeze them, bake them frozen for 20-25 minutes.
The whole process is quite a production and takes several hours, but you only need to do it once and then you have a lot of cookies.