I first found this recipe in 2018; I was familiar with nut rolls growing up, but while doing research for a Pittsburgh cookie-table fundraiser at Spork for Dor Hadash, New Light, and Tree of Life, I fell in love with the flaky dough and endless variety of fillings. After several tweaks, I came up with a less sweet, lighter, crispier cookie that allowed the fillings to really shine. Since then, rugelach has been a regular addition on my holiday trays.
Traditionally, some sort of smooth jam and ground nut is used (raspberry and walnut is super traditional), but this particular combo is my dad’s favorite. @kevileedropsthemic
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER RUGELACH RECIPE
Makes 128 cookies
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt
16 oz cold, unsalted butter, about 1-inch cubed
16 oz cold, cream cheese, about 1-inch cubed
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
Powdered sugar, as needed
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups mini chocolate chips
Throw the flour, salt, butter, and cream cheese into your stand-mixer bowl.
On the lowest speed, slowly begin to break up the cubes of butter and cream cheese until lima bean-sized “chonks” start to form.
Meanwhile, stir the vanilla into the egg yolks.
Drizzle the yolks into the flour mixture and slowly mix until the dough just begins to clump together. There should be visible streaks of butter and cream cheese.
Transfer to a work surface and divide the dough into 8 equal portions (about 7 ounces apiece) and flatten into 1-inch-thick disks.
Wrap each disk in plastic and chill at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
Sprinkle your work surface and the surface of the dough liberally with the powdered sugar and begin to roll the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch thick.
Sprinkle the work surface, rolling pin and dough with powdered sugar as needed, it is a sticky dough.
Spread about 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on the surface, going right to the edge of the dough. Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of the mini chips.
With the sharpest knife in your kitchen, slice the dough (like a pizza) into 16 equal wedges.
Beginning at the short edge, roll the dough like a croissant. Place tip down onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
Chill the shaped cookies for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through baking.
Cookies will keep for about a week at room temperature in an airtight container.
Don’t break out the ruler to cube your cream cheese and butter. This is just a general guideline.
Keep an eye on the dough and let it go slow. Those “chonks” are the key to the flaky factor.
The divided, wrapped dough can be frozen; let it thaw in the fridge overnight before shaping and baking.
If your circle isn’t perfect, don’t worry, you won’t see those ragged edges after shaping.
Use smooth peanut butter as chunky will tear the thin dough. If you really want those chunks, toss a few chopped peanuts on top with the chips.
Other filling ideas: Nutella® and hazelnuts, marmalade and craisins, apricot jam and dried sour cherries. Let your imagination run wild!
RECIPE AND STORY BY KEVI LEE FURGASON / STYLING BY ANNA CALABRESE / PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVE BRYCE
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