Homemade Rugelach

As a Registered Dietitian, I say I follow the 80/20 rule.  I eat healthy foods that fill my body with nutrients 80% of the time.   When I do indulge in a little extra, I can rarely resist homemade family treats (made with REAL ingredients).  I was visiting my mother-in-law for the Yom Kippur holiday and discovered that she had been making Rugelach every Yom Kippur for over 20 years.  It began with a recipe passed down from her mother.  What is Rugelach you ask? Google told me the following:

rug·a·lach ˈrəgələKH/  noun: rugelach  
1. a bite-size cookie made with cream-cheese dough rolled around a filling of nuts, poppy seed paste, chocolate, or jam.
I got very lucky that my mother-in-law decided to share and pass down her recipe to me- I also received a wonderful gift: rolling pan, cloth sheet and dough kneader to make my very own Rugelach!
We started with this recipe.  This recipe book is from 1955- my mother-in-law tells me this is the only recipe in the book she uses- imagine what other gems might be inside!
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We began by making the dough- it should sit in the fridge overnight.  We began with Sugar, Butter, Flour, and Cream Cheese.

We creamed together the butter and cream cheese.

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Added the sugar and flour
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And mixed well.
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Using our (clean) hands, we rolled the dough into a ball and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
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The following morning we removed the dough balls from the refrigerator so they could get to room temperature and took out the remainder of our ingredients: chopped walnuts and a cinnamon and sugar blend.
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My favorite thing about Rugelach is you can add (or remove) whatever ingredients you wish.  Substitute another nut for walnuts, or remove the nuts all together and try adding a bit of nutella or jam to the Rugelach.
After setting out all ingredients (and being sure to put a lot of flour on the cloth sheet and rolling pin, its time to begin making the cookies.  Take your dough ball and cut it into four equal pieces.

Roll each section into a round ball.

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Roll out the dough.  Flatten with your hand.
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Roll with the rolling pin.
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Cut into 8 equal segments.
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Sprinkle nuts and cinnamon/sugar mixture onto each segment.

Roll up each piece from the large end to the small end

IMG_3078Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
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Place in the oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes and remove.
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And there you have it!  Delicious homemade Rugelach.  I performed the nutritional analysis and each piece has about 60 calories- not bad for one small cookie.
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I love how this recipe is so hands-on.  I could see making this recipe with children- teaching them how to use the rolling pin and also rolling up the dough.  It's similar to "fruit sushi" (recipe coming soon!).  Until then, a heartwarming recipe from my family to yours, and best wishes for a healthy, happy new year!