Psst… I have Grandma Rose’s rugelach recipe. I think. But, I’m not sure. Many years ago, I asked Rose for all her recipes – or at least her most coveted recipes. A week later, I received a small, yellowed paperback book in the mail.
It is “The Jewish Low-Cholesterol Cookbook” by Roberta Leviton. On the inside cover, in very fine script, it says “To Aunt Rose, Use it in good health. Love, Rita.” Was this the source of all those great recipes? Or did she just cook and bake by memory? I didn’t ask. I sifted through the index and found a rugelach recipe, and I assumed that this must be the recipe my grandmother had been using for years.
So, this is the recipe that I use when an occasion calls for rugelach. Yesterday, on Mother’s day, for some reason I remembered Rose and her recipe. And even though it’s not Hanukkah, rugelach seemed like a great treat for Mother’s day. The original recipe called for margarine and dry cottage cheese. Instead I used butter (although I never used margarine), and dripped yogurt (half & half), and whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour. And lots of brown sugar (I use muscovado).
This is my first time baking rugelach with whole wheat pastry flour, and I think I prefer the all purpose flour to whole wheat pastry flour, but you can’t go wrong with either. And, feel free to substitute cream cheese for the cottage cheese or yogurt if you prefer.
Although Grandma Rose passed away several years ago, she inspired me to cook and bake, even if I may not have her recipes. What I have for sure is a love of homemade food and the inspiration to make it.
Note To drip the yogurt, I place it in a paper towel on top of a strainer and let the water leak through into a saucepan. Let this process take place anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight in the refrigerator, depending on how moist the yogurt is and how much time you have.
- 2 3/4 cups of flour (whole wheat pastry or all purpose)
- 1 cup of dry cottage cheese (I used dripped half & half yogurt)
- 1 cup of butter (two sticks)
- 6 tablespoons of brown sugar (I use muscovado)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- mini-chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup)
- brown sugar (about 1 cup)
- walnuts (about 1/2 cup)
- raisins (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- or whatever else you can dream up (fruit preserves and jam come to mind)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cream all the ingredients except the flour, until well blended.
- Next, add the flour and blend well with the mixture.
- Chill the dough for an hour or so in the refrigerator (or speed up the process by placing it in the freezer for about 10 minutes).
- Break the dough apart into 4 separate balls, and place the other three in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.
- Flour a flat surface (a cold flat surface is ideal for buttered dough) and place the ball of dough on it.
- Roll the dough out using a rolling pin (also floured) until you have a circle about 8 to 9 inches in diameter.
- Slice the circle into 8 equal pieces (use a knife or pizza cutter).
- Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together to blend it well.
- Liberally spread about 1/4 (saving 3/4 for the other three balls of dough) of the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture on the surface of the dough and then place other filling ingredients across the dough. I make two kinds of rugelach: one batch with brown sugar and chocolate chips, and the other with raisins, chopped walnuts and brown sugar. I try to place most of the filling towards the outer edges so they are tucked into the cookie when I start rolling them.
- Roll each cookie starting with the wide outer edge. Roll the dough over the filling so it’s captured in the dough as you roll it to the tip of the inner corner.The tip of the triangle is the last part to be rolled – it’s outside the cookie.
- Place each cookie on a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Sprinkle the cookies with more brown sugar. I tend to place the triangle tip on the bottom of the cookie so it stays tucked under while it is baking.
- Repeat the above steps for the other three balls of dough.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until just turning light brown.
- Cool for 10 minutes or so and enjoy! Store in an airtight container.