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Rugelach is a cookie that’s really special to me and lots of people of Jewish heritage. It’s a crescent shaped cookie that has cream cheese in the dough. It’s not very sweet dough. You roll it out into a circle and then cover it with jam and sprinkle it with chopped nuts and a little cinnamon sugar.  Then cut the dough into wedges, roll it up and bake it until golden and chewy on the edges. The dough is a little flaky and it makes a perfect cookie.

I first learned to bake this cookie when I was starting out as a chef and baker in Brooklyn, New York, at a little bakery called Margaret Palka Bakes. Margaret was a Polish-American Jewish woman who made cookies sold at Dean & DeLuca and other fancy food stores. The recipe that I use is adapted from Margaret’s bakery. Along with cream cheese, there’s powdered sugar in the dough. Some rugelach recipes have no sugar, some have granulated sugars, and Margaret’s had powdered sugar. I think it adds a little chewiness and wonderfulness to the texture of the cookie.

You can be from any cultural background and enjoy this cookie. I make some of the dough, put it in the freezer and pull it out whenever I feel like making cookies just for fun, or for a holiday or to give to friends.

Get the backstory to this recipe by listening to Tagan Engel describe her holiday cookie traditions on a recent episode of Seasoned.


Tagan Engel
adapted from Margaret Palca Bakes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 80 cookies


  • 14 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Jam or jelly of your choice (apricot or raspberry are the classics)
  • 1-1/2 cups walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


  • Line 3 baking pans with parchment paper or butter very well. Cream butter and cream cheese till very fluffy, add sugar and flour until well combined.
  • Split into 4 rounds, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Lightly flour one dough round at a time and roll out between two sheets of wax paper, about 10 or 12 inches in diameter.
  • Mix nuts, cinnamon, and sugar together.
  • Working with one round at a time, brush with a thin layer of jam, and sprinkle with crushed nuts mixture. Cut round into 12 wedges (like a tiny pizza), roll them up from the outside edge inwards, and place on baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 till very golden for 18-22 minutes. Must cool completely to come off of parchment paper.


Tagan Engel is the creator and host of The Table Underground and a contributor and producer of Seasoned
Keyword Baking, Cinnamon, Cookies, cream cheese, Flour, Holiday, Jam, Jelly, Rugelach, Tagan Engel, walnuts

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