I spent most of December traveling with a few baking projects scattered in toward the end of the month. I meant to make rugelach around Hanukkah, but I put it off until after the new year.
I’m kind of glad I did because rugelach is a project. I feel like holiday baking should either be semi-easy to counteract the stress of the holidays, or difficult but in a step-by-step way, so you get small doses of work that are balanced with relaxing waiting periods. I’ll get to that later in a post about making homemade cinnamon rolls.
Rugelach, though, are kind of universally annoying. I had a conversation about it the other day with my friend Rachel. First of all, you need a lot of counter space to roll out the dough and shape it. Second, rugelach dough has cream cheese, which makes it more difficult to work with. It’s stickier and goopier than other dough, so you’ll need some flour to roll it out.
Also, you’ll want to keep it as cold as possible. This will keep the cream cheese from melting and the dough from becoming wet. Only take the dough out of the fridge right before you need to use it.
Then, for these specific rugelach, you add melted chocolate into the mix, which can create even more of a goopy mess if you’re not quick, careful, and efficient.
I’ve probably turned you off making rugelach forever, but don’t despair. If you’re methodical and patient, this rugelach will turn out great. The dough is slightly sweet, the interiors are chocolatey and melty with the perfect amount of sweetness, and the outsides are sweet and salty with a pinch of flaky sea salt.
Another good thing about these rugelach is that you can disguise any dough mishaps with tons of sprinkles. I had some problems rolling up one of my logs of dough, and the outside looked a little speckled. I ended up dumping half a container of sprinkles on top and it worked like a charm. It covered the dough and gave the rugelach some aesthetic appeal. Sprinkles solve most problems, I’ve found.
I gave most of my rugelach away to friends and family, but I wish I would have kept more for myself. I’ll have to make some again soon.
Here’s where to find the recipe. Molly Yeh knows what she’s talking about.
And here’s a song to get you started on your rugelach journey. I’d recommend playing it on rainy winter mornings when you wake up late and don’t want to go to work.