Apple Butter Rugelach

32 cookies
35 min

Tender little crescent-shaped cookies bursting with rich apple goodness, crunchy walnuts, and pops of dried fruity joy.

Rugelach, it turns out, has numerous spellings.  Directly translated from Yiddish, it means little twists and it’s a hugely popular lil’ ditty in Israel, evolving over time from a yeast-based recipe.  

But nowadays, having jumped across the pond and into American baker hands, they’ve become a cream cheese based pastry cookie filled with concoctions of dried fruits, nuts, or chocolate, to poppy seed or cinnamon or jam or, or darn near anything.  

Cream cheese, to skip the hassle of yeast I’ve read.

Right quick I realized you for sure can put darn near anything in these cookies, the dough is merely a puffy delivery vehicle for your heart’s desire. 

And really, they’re simpler than you might suspect.

Check out the full blog post over on The Bake Dept for all the details and tips!

As you'll have two dough rounds to work with, be sure to split your filling in half ahead of time.

Slice one round into sixteen cutie evenly sized wedges with either a pizza cutter or a big ol’ knife (flouring those blades kinda helps).

Slip one of those cutie wedges out and starting at the wide end, gingerly roll ‘em up to the little pointy end.

A few more simple steps and then pop them in the oven to bake for about fifteen to twenty minutes.  Do wait for them to get puffy and golden brown; it won’t seem like they’ll go but they do so don’t necessarily follow the clock.

Looking for more tasty cookie recipes? Come check out my growing list!

Cool them on a rack, pour a nice glass of cold milk, and nom nom nom nom nom…..

Deeeeelicious.  Tender and velvety.  A nice crunch from the walnuts I didn’t chop super fine.  Spritely pops of fruity currants.  Yum.  Yesss, insert fist pump.

Happy baking!

Recipe details
  • 32  cookies
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 35 min
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Cookie dough:
  • 8 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 4 ounces room temperature cream cheese half of a package
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour plus additional for rolling
Cookie filling:
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar add only if apple butter is unsweetened
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon use 3/4 if your apple butter is spice-free
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup currants or chopped raisins
  • 1 large egg beaten (or milk)
  • Demerara or sanding sugar sprinkling

Prep the dough by adding the butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt to a mixer bowl. Beat everything on medium speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Sift the flour by passing it through a fine mesh strainer then add it to the mixer. Beat slightly below medium speed until just combined. Be sure to not overwork the dough.
Dump the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and form it into a ball using the plastic to help form it.
Cut the dough in half, flatten each piece into about a 6” circle, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, frozen for 3 months.
Using two small bowls, add a 1/4 cup of apple butter, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of sugar (if using), and half the cinnamon to each and stir. Split the walnuts and currants or raisins in half as well.
Flour the counter or rolling surface and roll out one piece of chilled dough to 11” in diameter, trying to keep the edges tidy and neat. If the dough gets too soft or sticky, return it to the fridge for about 5 minutes on a lined cookie sheet.
Spread one small bowl’s worth of apple butter mix atop one round leaving about a 1/4” border on the edges, then sprinkle on half the walnuts and half the currants or raisins.
With a pizza cutter or large knife, slice the dough into 16 triangles of equal size. You may need to flour the blade edge.
From the wide end of a slice, begin rolling it gently towards the narrow end and place each cookie tip-end-under on a cookie sheet spaced at least an 1” apart, the cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
Transfer the sheet to the fridge for about 15 minutes and begin preheating your oven to 375° F (190° C) in that time. Repeat with the other dough round and chill.
Brush each cookie with the beaten egg or milk and sprinkle with sugar, if using. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are puffy and golden. If you bake each sheet together, rotate them halfway through though baking one sheet at a time is highly advised.
Cool cookies on a rack.
  • Be sure to swing by my blog Flaky Bakers for more details, tips, and other delicious baked goods!
Becky at The Bake Dept
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