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Recipes » Desserts » Cookies » Real Simple Apricot Walnut Rugelach

Real Simple Apricot Walnut Rugelach

Rugelach are a pastry classed as a cookie, a tender, petite cream cheese crescent laden with irresistible jammy apricot and walnut filling.

If you own a food processor, assembling rugelach dough takes less than 5 minutes. I make several balls of dough during the holidays, nestle them in plastic wrap, and keep in my refrigerator to fill and bake whenever.

assorted cookies on a white plate
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

What are Rugelach Cookies Made Of?

The dough components for rugelach could not be more conventional using only all-purpose flour, Kosher salt, unsalted butter, and cream cheese. Really, whatever you favored filling them with would be up to you. Today, I’m going with apricot jam.

Together with warm spices like cinnamon and cloves, the apricot filling mingles with lightly toasted chopped walnuts for a superior, sweet filling that is both tender to the bite and crunchy with nuts.

If apricot jam ‘isn’t your jam’ (see what I did there 🙂 ?) look instead to raspberry jam or another spreadable which is similar in consistency to apricot preserves. Think Nutella, poppy seed filling, mincemeat, brown sugar and cinnamon, or chocolate chips in conjunction with nuts.

apricot rugelach cookies on a white plate

Ingredients for Apricot Walnut Rugelach

  • all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • unsalted butter
  • cream cheese
  • granulated sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground cloves
  • apricot jam
  • walnuts
  • a large room temperature egg

What Tools Are Needed for Baking Rugelach?

Just like all other cookies, rugelach requires basic kitchen tools such as parchment paper, a cookie sheet, and a rolling pin. But before I run down the list, this cream cheese dough comes together easiest when combining in a food processor.

For the rest of it, general tools required for baking rugelach include a second prepared baking sheet lined with parchment, three small mixing bowls, a cutting board, baking sheet(s), a serrated knife, pastry brush, and a wire cooling rack.

a rolling pin on a wooden board, with a ball of dough

How to Make Rugelach Cookies

Prep and Preheat

Gather and measure out all of your ingredients and have all kitchen tools at the ready. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In one small bowl, whisk together a quarter cup granulated sugar with a teaspoon-ish of ground cinnamon and just a pinch of cloves. From this mixture, remove a tablespoon to another of the three small bowls. Set both aside.

On a wooden cutting board there are chopped nuts and a knife

Make the Dough

Begin by pulsing all-purpose flour together with Kosher salt to combine. Add both COLD butter and COLD cream cheese that you have cubed, and pulse until a crumbly dough forms that holds together when squeezed.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead to form a cohesive mass. Use lightly floured hands to shape the dough into a 5 x 4-inch rectangle.

Divide dough using a knife or bench scraper, slicing the rectangle in half crosswise. Wrap each half tightly in plastic film and refrigerate for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

hands are using a rolling pin to roll dough

Assemble the Rugelach

Leave one piece of dough in the refrigerator while you work the other into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle on a floured surface. I place a ruler directly in front of my dough, so I am accurate with the size I am rolling.

Notice how LOVELY the dough is to work with, and so soft. IF you feel you need to flour the top as you’re working, do so. Just be sure not to over-flour.

Once you have your 12 x 9-inch rectangle, spread 1/4-cup of the jam over the entire surface. The layer will be thin.

Next, sprinkle with 1/4-cup of the walnuts you have chopped and lightly toasted, followed by half the remaining spiced sugar. Beginning at the wide end, roll the outer edge toward the other edge and into what will look like a log.

Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and pop into your freezer until completely firm, or about 30 minutes. Then repeat with the remaining dough, apricot jam, toasted walnuts, and remaining spiced sugar.

a wooden cutting board with a white plate and red napkin, with apricot cookies

Slice the Cookies and Bake

Preheat your oven to 350°F and have the second cookie sheet you prepared at the ready. In the last small bowl, whisk a single large room temperature egg.

Transfer each well-chilled log to a cutting board, one at a time. First, trim the edges. Then, use a serrated knife to slice each log into 1-inch wide pieces, yielding approximately 11 rugelach cookies per log.

Place each cookie onto the second prepared baking sheet, dough side up, and space them 1 1/2-inches apart. Freeze 15 minutes more.

Lightly brush the tops of the rugelach with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Sprinkle all with remaining tablespoon of spiced sugar and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

The rugelach will appear golden brown, and the jam will be bubbling slightly around the edges. Using a flat spatula or tongs, immediately transfer the rugelach to a wire rack to cool.

Can You Freeze Rugelach

Rugelach dough or fully assembled UNBAKED rugelach may be stored/wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 4 weeks before pulling out to bake. To thaw them, place still stored/wrapped in the refrigerator overnight.

Serving Rugelach

I enjoy both coffee and tea with rugelach, though tea is considered traditional. These petite pastry cookies are not overly sweet, which is why I also encourage serving them alongside savory appetizers.

Pair the ‘course’ with Champagne or Brut or even sparkling wine. My personal recommendation is Lingot Martin Bugey-Cerdon’s Traditional Sparkling Gamay Rosé, a bottle you can easily pick up in the States for around $24. This sparkling Rosé is apricot’s BFF…

apricot walnut cookies on a white plate

FAQs & Tips

Can You Refrigerate Rugelach Dough Overnight?

Yes! And in fact, the dough may be assembled and refrigerated for to 3 days.

Does Rugelach Need to Be Refrigerated?

While rugelach will keep tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days, it does last a bit longer if refrigerated, up to 10 days.

Is There a Difference Between Crescents Versus Slices?

If you Google rugelach, you will get results for two very different shaped cookies. Both are correct. The first is as I show herein, a lovely textured and golden baked swirl. The second is a deliberate crescent and is considered the traditional shape. In this recipe, I am specifying slices, not crescents.

Can I Add Extra Jam?

The big deal that happens when jam leaks is that it tends to burn. For this reason, more jam doesn’t equal better. The layer you spread will be thin, and this is intentional. Any more results in leaks and ultimately less jam than if you’d kept it to the 1/4-cup per dough directed.

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Apricot Walnut Rugelach

Jenny from Not Entirely Average
Rugelach are a pastry classed as a cookie, a tender, petite cream cheese crescent laden with irresistible jammy apricot and walnut filling.
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Servings: 22 rugelach
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
chilling time 2 hrs 45 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 22 rugelach
Calories 120 kcal

Equipment

  • 2 rimmed baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • 3 small bowls
  • Rolling Pin
  • cutting board
  • pastry brush
  • serrated knife
  • wire rack for cooling

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter COLD; cubed
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese COLD; cubed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam divided
  • 1/2 cup walnuts divided; lightly toasted and chopped
  • 1 large egg room temperature; lightly beaten

Instructions
 

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of cloves. From this mixture, remove 1 tablespoon to a separate small bowl. Set both aside.
  • Pulse all-purpose flour and salt to combine. Add both cubed COLD butter and cubed COLD cream cheese and pulse until a crumbly dough forms that holds together when squeezed. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead to form a cohesive mass. Use lightly floured hands to shape the dough into a 5 x 4-inch rectangle. Divide dough using a knife or bench scraper, slicing the rectangle in half crosswise. Wrap each half tightly in plastic film and refrigerate for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Leave one piece of dough in the refrigerator while you work the other into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle on a floured surface. ProTip: I place a ruler directly in front of my dough, so I am accurate with the size I am rolling.
  • Spread 1/4-cup of the jam over the entire surface. The layer will be thin. Next, sprinkle with 1/4-cup of the walnuts, followed by half the spiced sugar.
  • Beginning at the wide end, roll the outer edge toward the other edge and into what will look like a log. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and pop into your freezer until completely firm, or about 30 minutes. Then repeat with the remaining dough, apricot jam, toasted walnuts, and remaining spiced sugar.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F and have the second cookie sheet you prepared at the ready. Lightly beat a single large room temperature egg. Transfer each well-chilled log to a cutting board and trim edges. Use a serrated knife to slice each log into 1-inch wide pieces, yielding approximately 11 rugelach cookies per log. Place each cookie onto the second prepared baking sheet, dough side up, and space them 1 1/2-inches apart. Freeze 15 minutes more.
  • Lightly brush the tops of the rugelach with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Sprinkle all with remaining tablespoon of spiced sugar and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The rugelach will appear golden brown, and the jam will be bubbling slightly around the edges. Using a flat spatula or tongs, immediately transfer the rugelach to a wire rack to cool.

Notes

Please Note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not use table salt or iodized salt in any of the recipes you find on Not Entirely Average UNLESS specified otherwise.
Do Not use more than the indicated amount of jam per dough. The layer you spread will be thin, and this is intentional. Any more jam may result in it leaking from the cookies during the bake and burning.
Rugelach Dough Can Be Refrigerated Overnight and baked the next day. It may be refrigerated up to 3 days.
To Freeze rugelach dough and fully assembled UNBAKED rugelach, wrap/load into airtight and frozen for up to 4 weeks. To Thaw, place in refrigerator overnight. Bake according to directions in this recipe card.
Store Fully Baked, Uneaten Portions in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or up to 10 days under refrigeration.

Nutrition

Serving: 1rugelachCalories: 120kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 49mgPotassium: 33mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 228IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword apricot, Christmas cookies, cookies, rugelach
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4 Comments

  1. Jenny, these look out of this world! I am excited to be featuring you at the Home Imagined Link party! Congrats! We will be sharing features next week on social media. But still will be on our holiday break, so we will have our next party on the 10th and will feature you again then too.
    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    1. Meagan, what a wonderful early Christmas gift! Thank you!! I’m soooo glad to be a part of your parties and glad to have come to them late rather than never! Merry Christmas, Meagan 🙂 Jenny