This is a basic rugelach recipe that can be adapted to your liking. For sweet fillings, like cinnamon sugar, jam, or dried cranberry and pecan, you can add a teaspoon of sugar to the dough, if you wish. For savory fillings, leave the dough as is, or add a teaspoon of dried herbs for a bit more flavor. We love the plain dough with pesto and chopped sun-dried tomatoes, or an Herbes de Provence dough with goat cheese and caramelized onions. The below recipe uses cinnamon sugar, dried cranberries, and pecans for the filling.
1 cup flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar or dried herbs (optional)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut in 1/2-inch cubes, very cold
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, very cold
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped (optional)
In a stand mixer, mix the flour and salt quickly. If you wish to make your dough sweeter, add the optional sugar. If you are making a savory herb dough, add your herbs. Mix to combine quickly. Add the cold butter and cream cheese, and combine until the mixture just forms a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured, pastry cloth-lined surface. Form a 2-inch thick disc and wrap well in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, and up to overnight.
If the dough has rested overnight, remove it from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before rolling. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the sugar with the cinnamon and mix well. Combine the egg yolk and water to make an egg wash.
Lightly flour the dough on both sides. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough, moving or flipping it after each roll to ensure it doesn't stick, and to create a circle. Roll to about 3/8-inch thickness.
Brush the dough with the melted butter, concentrating on the edges. Spread the cinnamon sugar all over the dough, covering the surface completely. Sprinkle on the dried cranberries and pecans, if using. With a rolling pin, gently roll the filling into the dough.
Cut into 1/16ths and roll each wedge from the outside in to create each rugelach. Place on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet, tip-end underneath. Repeat for the remaining wedges.
Brush each rugelach with egg wash, and garnish with cinnamon sugar, if you wish. Bake for 20 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden, turning the tray after about 10 minutes.
Let the rugelach cool about 5-10 minutes before serving, or cool completely and place in an air-tight container to freeze for up to one month.