The dough for this traditional Jewish cookie or pastry (it fits the bill as both) is rich and soft and must be made a day ahead and refrigerated before rolling out. We’ve filled these with apricot jam—but seedless raspberry, peach, strawberry and currant jellies are also wonderful. Rugelach freezes well and thaws quickly, which means it is well worth keeping on hand. But be warned: it is best to hide them in the back of the freezer, lest they disappear.
- For the Dough:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 packet yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, cut into bits
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sour cream
- For the Filling:
- 1 1/4 cups walnuts
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 cups apricot jelly, room temperature
- Make the dough: combine the flour, yeast and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry fork or two butter knives until the mixture is the consistency of sand.
- Beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and combine with the sour cream. Stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Divide the dough into 10 balls (each about 2-inches in diameter) and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate over night.
- To make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of coarse sand. Spread 1 heaping tablespoon out on your work surface to form a 9-inch circle. Take one ball of dough out of the refrigerator and place in the center of the circle. Press down with your palm to flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and roll the disk, on top of the plastic, into an 8-inch circle. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap and sprinkle the top of the dough with a heaping tablespoon of the cinnamon nut mixture. Cut the dough into 8 even wedges. Place about ¼ teaspoon of the jelly about 1/4-inch in from the outer wide edge of each wedge.
- Roll the wide end over the jelly toward the point until it forms a shape similar to that of a croissant. Repeat with the remaining wedges. (Note: if the dough sticks to the surface, gently scrape it up with a butter knife as you roll). When all 8 cookies are formed, roll them in any cinnamon nut mixture remaining on the work surface. Place the cookies, point side down, on a nonstick baking sheet with about an inch between them. Repeat with two more rolls of dough, filling two baking sheet pans in total.
- Bake until the cookies are golden and flaky, about a total of 15 minutes, rotating the pans once after about 7 or 8 minutes.
- Transfer the cookies to wire rack to cool.