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!
Craving more? Subscribe to Just a Taste to get new recipes, meal plans and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
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.
- ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!
Did you try this recipe?
Share it with the world! Mention @justataste or tag #justatasterecipes!
Recipe adapted from BellaOnline.
You mentioned semi sweet and bittersweet chocolate in your introduction, but only listed bittersweet in your recipe. Do you add the same amount of semi sweet chocolate or 3 oz of each?
Hi Christie! I’d use 3 ounces of each :)
Perfect! Thanks so much for a great recipe. Going to use this at our Mission Market/Cookie Sale. My husband found this recipe, made it last night. I grated semi-sweet with regular chocolate bars and mixed that. yum! The crust is right on!
Awesome! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Kat!
The recipe looks great and am looking forward to making these. BUT the casual way it says ‘cut the dough into 12 wedges’ what!? It’s not like saying makes 12 dough balls! Thankfully I did what I always do and read through the recipe first so I’ll plan this part beforehand.
This recipe makes nearly 50 rugelach! I hope you enjoy the recipe :)
Had really high hopes for this recipe, but it turned out pretty bad. I listened to all the instructions but the dough, even after 1.5-2 hours in the fridge, was so sticky! After wrapping them (which was very difficult b/c of the dough) and cooking them, they tasted really bad. Love your blog, maybe it was something I did bad on my end! Only thing I can think of is that i put my cold butter and cream cheese in the food processor and came back to it 20 mins later b/c i had to run out to get more flour
Hi Hannah – I’m sorry you had this experience. The butter and cream cheese should re-solidify once it’s in the fridge but leaving it out will make the dough way too sticky to work with.
what do you mean until “fat” is evenly dispersed? Do you mean cream cheese? Some recipes have fat for the pastry.
Hi Donna! I’m referring to the cream cheese and the butter :)
can I use bittersweet choc chips in recipe?
Hi Joanie – One cup of mini chocolate chips would work!
my aunt made these–she called them “Kieflies”–using crushed walnuts and brown sugar–then sprinkles confectioners sugar on top–She’d make them at Christmas–and I was lucky enough before she died to get her recipe. Once put out on a plate–they are gone immediately!!! Great, easy recipe–and they freeze well too1
These are one of my fave cookies around the holidays!
I made these yesterday. I usually make cookies but needed something without egg because we had someone coming over who has an egg allergy. Omg! I ate probably 6 of them before our guests even got here! Perfect recipe. I followed exactly, except made one batch of dough with only the melted butter and cinnamon sugar. They were all delicious!!
Woohoo! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Jill!
Can I used whipped cream cheese instead?
Hi Shoshana – No, you’ll want to definitely use regular cream cheese as the texture of the rugelach won’t be the same if you use the whipped kind.
These are delicious! I froze a bunch of the rugelach to make later. How long should they be left out before baking them?
Hi Rebecca! No need to defrost before baking, just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.
Annyira orulok ennek a receptnek!! Jo ideje keresek olyat ami nem tul edes. Koszonom, isteniek lettek!
Wow the Chocolate Rachelle look so yummy ;-). I really love the way you shoot the Chocolate Rachelle. Thumbs up!!!
great recipe, remind me of my Mama’s rugelach… new family fave
I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Dahvi!
You mentioned in the write up semisweet chocolate but I only saw bittersweet in thr recipe? Is it better with both? Also I don’t have a food processor-could I use a Vitamix instead or a Kitchen Aid mixer?
Hi Georganne – Any singular type or combo works but I prefer both! And I’d definitely recommend making this in a food processor, not a blender.
What is another way to mix this recipe together if you don’t have a food processor?
Hi Zoie – You’ll definitely need a food processor for this recipe!
50’s a lot! Luckily cooking for kids is like running a full time bakery anyway! Yum!
How is bittersweet chocolate sold. I buy72% cacao dark chocolate often. Is that considered bittersweet
Yes, Barbara, that would work as bittersweet chocolate hovers around the 70% cacao range!
I just found this site and wanted to reply to Nikki Dawson’s question back in 2015.
By now Nikki has probably found that there is dairy free cream cheese and dairy free butter. The taste would not come out exact, but it would be doable.
Thanks so much, Brenda! And yes, we agree :)
Lucky for that picture showing the crescents being brushed with egg wash – and I’m guessing also sprinkled with sugar? Because it’s not mentioned anywhere in the ingredients or directions.
Apologies, Lindsay! (And great eye!) I’ve updated the recipe with the egg wash instructions.
These were really delicious, but I’m curious if there is an error in the recipe. The dough does not call for any liquid at all, so basically it is just dry ingredients and fat. When I made it this way, I just ended up with a dry, powdery mixture that would not form a ball (or form anything). I added a small amount of very cold water to the dough until I could form it with my hands. Once I made this adjustment, I did everything else the same and they came out really well. Super yummy.
Hi there, Hannah! The recipe doesn’t require water in the dough, but if it’s particularly dry where you are, you may need to add some. I’ve never added water to it before, as it’s meant to be a more crumbly dough.
Do you have any tips on making these dairy free? The chocolate I’ve got sorted, it’s just the buttery cream cheese pastry that’s got me stumped. Or could you recommend another type of pastry that could work? Allergies are the worst!!
Hi Nikki! I am not sure of a substitute for the dairy products, as I’ve never made this dough recipe before without them.
Hey! I just made the dough for these and for some reason it was so crumbly and wouldn’t stick :/ I think I over mixed it! So I ended up adding about a 1/2 of cup of water to the dough and it finally stuck together. It is in the fridge right now chilling, do you think I ruined it by adding water?? Thanks!
Hi Erin! I’ve never tried adding more water so I’m not sure what the resulting dough would be like. Hopefully it turned out!
I’ve refrigerated the dough over night and it feels really hard would it still work?
Yes, definitely! Just let it thaw out slightly at room temp.
Hi, I made these once after refrigerating the dough for 24 hrs and they are super delicious! Flaky and all you could dream of in homemade rugelach! I made them vegan with earth balance and tofutti cream cheese and it worked just as well. I want to make them again and I was wondering if you think I could fully prepare the rugelach for the oven and then leave them in the fridge and bake them the next day?
So glad you enjoyed the recipe! I’ve never tried baking them the next day but it should work. Let me know if you give it a shot!
What happens if you freeze them after they’re baked and cooled?
Hello – I’ve never tried freezing these so I can’t say with certainty if they’d still have the same texture/taste after defrosting.
If you decide to freeze them, can they be baked from frozen, or to they need to thaw first? If so, any idea about how long?
My mouth is watering!!!! Yum!!
Hi Hay! These were so delicious. Then again, cream cheese dough stuffed with anything is delicious. Hope all is well!
yes!!! can’t wait to use some of those delicious Scharffen Berger bars: rugelach sounds perfect …
these look so amazing. i should not be browsing these things while attempting a diet! delish!
Wow, these look delicious! Going to give them a try the next time I do some weekend baking. Thanks for sharing!
Saw these on FPD, beautiful pic! I have never actually made these lovely little cookies, but the flavors you have are our favorites. Nicely done!!
Hi Natalie! Thanks so much for your comment. I’ve kept my latest batch of Chocolate Rugelach in an airtight container for four days now, and they are just as fresh as day one. My guess is they’ll last a week, if stored properly.
This is really one of the best chocolate dessert recipes I’ve ever made, so I hope you enjoy it (and be patient with the cream cheese dough, it takes a bit of warming up)!
– Kelly Senyei
these look amazing! how many days do they last in an air-tight container? want to make them a few days ahead of serving if possible…