During my high school years (circa late 90s- early 2000s), I relied heavily on All Recipes as my go-to source for baking adventures. This was before I started my crazy cookbook collection, before there were thousands of food blogs to learn from, and when Food Network still played reruns of Emeril Live and dubbed Japanese Iron Chef.
I could only bake chocolate chip cookies for so long before I didn’t want to eat them anymore. I would scour All Recipes for new cookies I’ve never tasted or tried. That’s how I was first introduced to rugelach.
The first time I made rugelach, I remember my friends went into a frenzy. None of them had ever tried this cookie pastry before. We devoured the four dozen batch I made in one night. Oh, the voracious appetite of high schoolers.
What’s not to love about this sweet crescent shaped treat? It’s flaky like a palmier (also known as elephant ears), it looks like a cute tiny croissant, and the subtle cream cheese flavor is so addicting. Till this day, some ten years after high school, I still have friends that ask me when I’m going to make them a batch of rugelach. My answer is always the same: move and be my neighbor.
I find the easiest way to make rugelach is by rolling the dough into a circle and then slicing it like a pizza to get little wedges. Rugelach can be filled with a variety of ingredients: raisins, walnuts, jams and jellies. Since I’ve been on a Nutella kick lately, I made this chocolate hazelnut version.
Because I’m big on crunch, I sprinkled the outside of the rugelach with turbinado sugar. With the melted chocolate chips, toasted halzenuts, and flaky dough, this chocolate hazelnut rugelach is one cookie I can’t ever tire of!
Chocolate Hazelnut Rugelach
Yield: makes about 4 dozen
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, cooled
- 1 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, chopped
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- 3 Tbsp turbinado sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tsp water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add salt and flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are fully incorporated. Scrape down bowl as needed during mixing.
- Transfer dough to a clean working surface. Divide into 4 equal parts. Pat into a flat disk about 1/2 inch in thickness. Wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 1 hour until firm (or overnight).
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
- Place cooled, melted butter in a separate small bowl. Keep chopped hazelnut and mini chocolate chips in separate bowls as well.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Work with one chilled dough disk at a time. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to circle with a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Brush melted butter over the entire piece of dough. Sprinkle about 1/4 of the sugar mixture over dough. Sprinkle 1/4 of chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Press hazelnuts and chocolate chips into the dough.
- Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into wedges (triangles). Beginning with the wide outside edge, roll dough. Place cookies with the small tucked end underneath. Space cookies about 1 1/2-inches from one another.
- Repeat with remaining 3 disks of dough.
- Whisk together egg white and water. Lightly brush tops of rolled cookies with egg wash. Sprinkle with cinnamon-turbinado mixture. Bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
The Little Epicurean