My Mom’s Rugeleh

   My mom made RUGELEH every Christmas as far back as I can remember. I’m sure it’s a  recipe she got from her mother or grandmother and, knowing mom, she tinkered with it and made it her own.  RUGELEH originated in Central Europe as a pastry made with sour cream and when it made its way to America the sour cream was replaced with cream cheese.  I love these rich little roll ups and have tried many different recipes over the years but always come back to this one.  Partly because it’s familiar to me and mostly because it is amazingly delicious.

Most of the RUGELEH recipes I have tried over the years are similar:  cream cheese, butter,  flour and sugar.  It’s the filling that differs from one baker to the next .  My mom used finely chopped walnuts…I like hazelnuts and use HAZELNUT MEAL  combined with sugar, currants and cinnamon.  If you have never baked with currants I urge you to buy a box and experiment with them.  Currants are about one fourth the size of raisins and have a slightly tart intense fruity flavor. Their tiny size makes them an ideal ingredient in recipes like this RUGELEH where a larger raisin would overwhelm the other ingredients. **see note below

To make RUGELEH roll out the dough into 10-inch circles.   Spread with apricot jam ( raspberry jam is another choice) and sprinkle on the hazelnut meal, sugar, cinnamon topping.  Add currants and gently press into the pastry.  With a knife or pizza cutter cut the pastry into 12 wedges.  Carefully roll up the triangles starting at the wide end.   Try to keep as much nut mixture on the pastry wedge as possible.  Brush roll-ups with heavy cream, sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake in a 375 degree oven.

During baking the jam and nuts make a sweet, caramalized fruity filling  accented with bits of sweet-tart currants.  RUGELEH is a beautiful addition to  cookie trays and is a delicious pastry to serve with coffee or tea any time of day. Stored in an air-tight container, the cookies will keep for 5-6 days. Mine never last that long.

5.0 from 5 reviews
My Mom's Rugeleh
: Dessert, Cookie
  • 1 cup ground nuts (I used hazelnut flour/meal available in my web store) Walnuts and pecan are delicious too.
  • 1 cup currants
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup apricot jam
  • DOUGH:
  • ½ pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Flour
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • sanding sugar
  2. Combine nuts, currants, sugar and cinnamon is a small bowl.
  4. Combine cream cheese, flour, butter and sugar in a large bowl and blend well. Divide dough into three pieces. Dust each with flour, shaking of excess. Roll each between sheet of waxed paper into 10-inch circle. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment of a silpat. Spread each circle of dough with apricot jam. Divide filling among the circles, spreading evenly. Pat gently into the jam. Cut each circle into 12 wedges. Carefully roll up each wedge from the wide edge to the point. Arrange on prepared sheet, point side down. Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar if desired.
  6. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cook. Store in airtight container.

  • Raisins are dried white grapes. They are dried to produce a dark, sweet fruit. The grapes used are usually Moscatel.
  • Sultanas are also dried white grapes but from seedless varieties. They are golden in color and tend to be plumper, sweeter and juicier than other raisins. Also referred to as Golden Raisins in the US.
  • Currants are dried, dark red, seedless grapes. They are dried to produce a black, tiny shrivelled, flavour-packed fruit.  The grapes were originally cultivated in the south of Greece, and the name currant comes from the ancient city of ‘Corinth’.


  1. says

    Cathy: This is a treat that we enjoy here and I’ve never made it. My husband is from eastern Europe (Poland) and it was always a part of their holiday goodies. I’m happy to have a recipe.

    Bonnie recently posted..Candied CitrusMy Profile

  2. says

    My Mom also made a variation of these using left over pie dough. She never threw anything away. I loved them more than the pies. Appreciate you sharing your Mother’s recipe.
    Penny recently posted..Salmon CakesMy Profile

  3. says

    Thanks so much for linking up to Friday Food Frenzy – I wanted to let you know that I will be featuring this tomorrow in my “What I Bookmarked This Week” post. I love rugelach but I always make a huge mess when I attempt it.
    danielle recently posted..Friday Food FrenzyMy Profile

  4. says

    So pretty Cathy. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten Rugeleh. How fun that your mother and grandmother made this recipe. Family recipes are the best because they and loaded with memories.

    Your green bean salad a couple of posts ago inspired me to make one for Thanksgiving with mushrooms and I forgot to thank you. Have a lovely weekend.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Homemade mayonnaise in the food processor + some of our favorite mayonnaise saucesMy Profile

  5. says

    Oh my Cathy, what a wonderful treat to make for the holidays, and so wonderful that your recipe is a tribute to your mother!!!! You had asked when my new WP site will be up and running . . . looks like February-ish. Sorry for the delay. I hope that you’re having a wonderful holiday season!

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  6. says

    What a treasured recipe, Cathy! They look beautiful and must be delicious. I have never tried making rugeleh myself – it wasn’t something that my mother made since we always had Danish Kringle in the house 😉 I love to try it!
    Susan recently posted..Roasted Dry-Brined TurkeyMy Profile

  7. Diana Devlin says

    I love Rugeleh! This recipe looks wonderful and delicious! I am going to make this recipe tomorrow to see how they come out. If they turn out as good as I hope, I plan to make batches for my friend’s party they are having next weekend!

  8. says

    These are my all time favorite cookie!!! My recipe has sour cream in it, and I roll it in a rectangle then roll it up and slice it in chunks……brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon…..and I always use currants and finely chopped walnuts.

  9. says

    I’m happy to say I made Rugelach for the first time a few months ago in Baking With Julia. It was a delightful experience. I really stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something very new. And we loved it! It was rich and delicious and wonderful. I was so proud of myself.
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