The other day David mentioned that he had been craving chocolate rugelach. I hadn’t had rugelach in ages and I had never made them myself, but since I was home and had all of the ingredients I needed, I decided to give it a whirl.
Rugelach originated in the Jewish communities of Poland, so it makes sense that the pastries made their way into nearby Hungary (and all around the world). Most people I know just call them rugelach but I’ve seen some Hungarians call them csokis tekercs (chocolate rolls) or csokis kiflik (chocolate crescents). Our family associates kifli with a crescent shaped bread roll, so we just call them rugelach.
Traditionally the pastry is made with a yeasted dough that requires a lot of kneading and rising, but I wanted a quick recipe, so I made one that uses cream cheese in the dough. The finished product is light, crisp and totally delicious.
David likes to have them with his morning coffee, and I like to have them with afternoon tea. Our children pop one in their mouth every time they walk by the kitchen. The chocolate was such a hit that I’ve been thinking of all of the other things I could fill them with. Maybe next time I’ll try Nutella, or jam, or even a nut filling. If you decide to try them, I hope you like them as much as we do!
Makes 64 Small Pastries
For the Dough:
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (a heaping ½ cup)
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter, melted
For the Topping:
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup sugar
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- Add the flour and mix until just combined.
- Refrigerated dough for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350° F and line four cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Make the filling by pulverizing chocolate chips in a food processor until they start to look like sand.
- In a small bowl, combine the pulverized chocolate, cocoa, cinnamon and sugar.
- Melt the butter and set aside.
- Divide dough into four balls.
- To assemble, on a floured surface, roll each ball out into a circle about that is about 1/8 of an inch thick.
- Brush the melted butter over each of the four circles and spread each circle with a quarter of the filling.
- Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut each of the four the dough circles into 16 wedges (as if you were cutting a pizza or a pie). You should have 64 pieces total.
- Starting at the wide end of each wedge, roll the dough toward the tip and place each roll tip side down on the parchment. I bake 16 pastries per cookie sheet in four rows of four.
- Mix together the egg and ¼ cup sugar for the topping.
- Brush each pastry with a small amount of the topping so they look shiny.
- Bake at 350° F for about 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely before serving (because if you try to eat them when they are hot, the filling will burn your tongue. Trust me on this one).