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A not-so-secret ingredient in this recipe for Chocolate Rugelach guarantees these little treats will be a big hit with cookie lovers of all ages.
Rugelach and I go way back, back to the holidays of my childhood, when my siblings and I would scarf down batch after batch of jam-filled rugelach at my Hungarian grandmother’s house.
She would purchase the rugelach, or “little twists” as it translates to in Yiddish, from a local European bakery, but their distinctive shape and oh-so-flaky texture were impossible to forget.
I’ve done my best to recreate that perfect pairing of flaky cream cheese dough and filling of your choice. Julian got his mom’s sweet tooth, and he’s been requesting the little “chocky cookies” overflowing with a mix of shaved semisweet and bittersweet chocolates. (I love this combination, as it guarantees the filling won’t be overly sweet.)
This recipe makes nearly 50 of the croissant-shaped sweets, but they’re only a few bites each, so don’t let the high yield overwhelm you.
If you’re looking to save a little time, you can freeze the unbaked rugelach then defrost them and bake off batches as needed. They taste just as great on days 2, 3 and 4 as they do the day they’re made, so don’t hesitate to use this recipe as your go-to make-ahead dessert for the holidays.
Because they maintain their stellar flavor and texture, these chocolate rugelach are also a great option for packaging up and gifting, no matter how far the destination!
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For the cream cheese dough:
- 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, cold and cubed
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 2 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for rolling out the dough
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the chocolate filling:
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces or shavings
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 large egg, whisked with 1 Tablespoon water
Make the dough by combining the cream cheese, butter, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Blend the ingredients together until the fat becomes evenly dispersed within the flour and it begins to form into a ball.
Remove the dough from the food processor (squeezing it into a ball as needed) then place it in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap then refrigerate the dough for one hour or up to one day.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut it into 4 pieces. Place 3 pieces back into the refrigerator.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Set it aside.
Lightly flour your work surface, then using a rolling pin, roll it into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. (The dough will be very hard, so it's best to first beat it down with a rolling pin to flatten it slightly. It will loosen up as it comes to room temperature.)
Immediately brush the rolled out dough with one-fourth of the melted butter and sprinkle it with one-fourth of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Sprinkle one-fourth of the chocolate onto the dough, pressing it lightly into the dough.
Cut the dough into 12 wedges.
Roll each wedge up, starting from the thickest end, until you form a crescent shape.
Repeat the rolling, topping and shaping process with the other three pieces of dough.
Place the rugelach on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. (You can also freeze the rugelach at this point for later use.)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Brush the tops of the rugelach with the egg wash then sprinkle them with additional cinnamon-sugar.
Bake the rugelach for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the rugelach to a cooling rack to cool completely.
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