This brown sugar cinnamon rugelach is a melt in your mouth cookie that is lightly spiced with holiday flavors. The perfect cookie for your holiday season.
Learn it well because once you have made and shared this cookie, everyone will be asking it’s name.
Time and time again.
I made these for my Christmas potluck at work and I bet I said “Rugelach” at least 100 times.
What is rugelach?
Rugelach is a cookie made with a tender cream cheese dough that is topped with a filling and then rolled into a tiny crescent shape. It originates back to the Jewish Polish communities, Hungary, and Austria. Today, it continues to be very popular in Isreal as well as in America around the holidays.
Common rugelach fillings:
- honey and walnuts
- dried fruit
- cinnamon and brown sugar
The version we are making today is a little less traditional but it is my personal favorite:
Cinnamon and brown sugar with a hint of nutmeg and ginger.
Tips for making the perfect brown sugar cinnamon rugelach
Honestly, the cream cheese dough for this recipe is extremely forgiving and almost fool proof. There are just a few things you can do to ensure the best rugelach.
- Make sure the dough remains cold at all times. If the dough gets too warm at any point in the process then just throw it into the refrigerator to cool for a few minutes.
- Avoid overworking the dough. This is a rule with any pastry dough. Over handling the dough can cause it to loose it’s tenderness.
How to make brown sugar cinnamon rugelach
Make the rugelach dough in a food processor
Combine the flour and salt in a large food processor. Pulse 3-4 times to combine. Add the COLD and cubed butter and cream cheese.
Pulse until the mixture is crumbly with large chunks of butter/cream cheese. See the big chunks? That’s a good thing.
Add the egg yolk and vanilla and then process until the dough comes together on one side of the food processor.
Form and chill the dough
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead a few times to form a smooth dough. Form the dough into one large ball and cut into 4 equal pieces. Roll each of the four pieces of dough into a ball and then flatten into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Roll the dough out and make the filling
After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1 tbsp of powdered sugar on a clean, cool work surface. Remove one dough disc from the refrigerator, unwrap from the plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about 3 minutes to soften slightly. Meanwhile, combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Set aside. Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle. Don’t worry if the edges are uneven.
Spread 1/4 cup of the sugar mixture over the top of the dough.
Use a pizza cutter to cut 16 slices (or 8 for a bigger cookie). Don’t worry if they are not exactly the same size.
How to roll the brown sugar cinnamon rugelach dough into a crescent?
Roll each slice into the shape of a crescent. Do this by starting at the widest part of the dough slide and begin tightly rolling the dough toward the pointed end of the dough.
Place seam side down on a parchment paper lined or lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 14-16 minutes, or until they start to turn a golden brown.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rugelach
Cream Cheese Dough:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 sticks butter cold and cubed
- 8 oz cream cheese.
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg.
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Powdered sugar for working surface and rolling pin
Make the cream cheese dough:
- Combine the flour and salt in a large food processor.
- Pulse 3-4 times to combine.
- Add the cold and cubed butter and cream cheese.
- Pulse until the mixture is crumbly with large chunks of butter/cream cheese, about 12 pulses.
- Add the egg yolk and vanilla.
- Process until dough comes together on one side of the food processor.
- Turn out onto a cutting board.
- Form into one large ball and then cut into 4 equal pieces.
- Form each individual piece into a ball, press down to form a disc, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
- Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Make the filling:
- In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients and stir well. Set aside.
Assemble the rugelach:
- Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for about 3 minutes to soften slightly (you may want to remove each disc one at a time so the dough will remain cold).
- Add one tablespoon of powdered sugar to a clean work surface and spread into a thin layer.
- Lightly dust a rolling pin with powdered sugar.
- Roll out one of the discs into a 12 inch circle using powdered sugar on the working surface and on the rolling pin to keep from sticking.
- Spread about 1/4 of the sugar mixture all over the top of the dough.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut 16 slices (pizza style) for smaller cookies or 8 slices for larger cookies.
- Roll up each slice into a crescent and place, seam side down, on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 375 for 14-16 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.
- Repeat with the other 3 dough sections.