· Don’t overwork the dough — you want it to be flaky, so mix the dough until just combined and then cover in plastic wrap. Make sure to chill one to two hours, or overnight.
· The best filling combo (IMHO) is something spreadable combined with something crunchy (chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, etc.).
· Don’t add too much filling or it will explode — one even thin layer is plenty.
· Use a pizza cutter to cut into triangles. It’s easier than knife. (This is a special trick via @ferrarokitchen.)
· Rugelach don’t need to be sweet — make savory rugelach as an ideal movie-watching nosh, to compliment a cheese board, or the next time we are allowed to socialize with actual humans again.
Some of my favorite filling combos:
· Raspberry jam and chopped chocolate or mini chocolate chips
· Nutella and crumbled halva
· Marshmallow fluff, mini chocolate chips, and graham cracker crumbs
· Orange marmalade or other citrus‑y jam, and shredded coconut
· Nutella and chopped nuts
· Pesto and goat cheese
· Cream cheese and everything bagel spices
· Harissa and goat cheese
· Tomato paste and shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheeses
Recipe, from Modern Jewish Baker: Challah Babka Bagels and More (Countryman Press).
· 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
· ½ lb unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
· ¼ cup granulated sugar
· ½ tsp salt
· ½ tsp vanilla
· 2 cups unbleached AP flour, sifted
1. Cream butter and cream cheese in stand mixer with a paddle attachment until creamy. Add sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix well.
2. Add flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters and wrap each quarter in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 375 F.
4. Roll each piece of dough into a large circle. Using an 8- or 9‑inch round, cut dough into a perfect circle. I recommend using a pizza cutter for this task.
5. Spread each circle of dough with 2 to 3 tablespoons of marinara sauce in a thin layer, leaving 1/4‑inch border all around. Sprinkle each circle with 2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella and press gently into sauce.
6. Using the pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 even triangles. Starting at the longer end, roll up each triangle.
7. Place the point side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
8. Brush each rugelach with beaten egg and sprinkle with dried basil, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.
9. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool on wire rack.
Shannon Sarna is founding editor of The Nosher, the widest-reaching website dedicated to Jewish food, which is part of the 70 Faces Media group. Shannon grew up in upstate New York immersed in performance and music as well as surrounded by diverse culinary experiences: Her Sicilian American mother loved to bake, her Ashkenazi Jewish father loved to experiment, and her grandfather was a food chemist who patented Tang, among other products. Her writing and recipes have been featured in Bake from Scratch Magazine, Taste of Home Magazine, Parade Magazine, Food52, The Kitchn, Tablet Magazine, JTA News, New Jersey Monthly Magazine, Vinepair, and Modern Loss. She graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, with a degree in comparative government and Spanish language and literature and lives in South Orange, New Jersey, with her husband, three children, two rescue dogs, and a bunny named S’mores. Her first cookbook, Modern Jewish Baker: Challah, Babka, Bagels & More, was released in September 2017 by Countryman Press.