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Tender and Flakey Chocolate Rugelach

Chocolatey, nutty, and tender, these Chocolate Rugelach (pronounced Rug-a-lah) pastries are delicious! While these amazing cookies are often thought of as a holiday treat, in our house they are made year round.

chocolate rugelach feature image.

Making rugelach is certainly a bit involved, but once you make it you will see it was well worth the effort. Our visual step by step pictures will guide you through the process and help you create a dessert your family, friends, and guests will love. These delectable pastries also make the perfect homemade gift.

Why This Recipe Works?

  • Chocolatey, nutty, and tender.
  • Make Ahead recipe.
  • Readily available ingredients.
  • Kid Friendly.
  • Great for holidays, special occasions, or just when you feel like it.
  • Perfect for homemade gifts.
  • Can make in many flavor variations.
  • The Best Chocolate Rugelach ever!!!
second feature image of chocolate rugelach.

Main Ingredients

This recipe uses super easy ingredients that can be purchased from a local grocery store if they are not already in your kitchen. Read the Recipe Card for the measurements.

  • Flour/Cream Cheese/Butter – These items are traditional ingredients for making rugelach dough. We used all-purpose flour, whole fat cream cheese, and unsalted butter. You can use all-purpose bleached flour as a substitute for the flour. If you use low-fat cream cheese, just be aware you will lose some of the richness and flakiness of the crust.
  • Heavy Cream – This additional fat adds moisture and ensures a light and flaky crust.
  • Egg Whites/Milk/Turbinado Sugar – These ingredients create the topping of this delicious cookie. Because turbinado grains are coarser than regular refined sugar, they won’t melt into the crust during baking and they create a crunchy, sparkly top.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – These are melted down to create the rugelach’s rich chocolate filling.
  • Toasted Pecans – Toasting the pecans will maximize the flavor and crunch of these tasty nuts. You can swap pecans for toasted walnuts or hazelnuts.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – The acidic properties of this vinegar helps product a tender crust and enriches the flavor.
  • Baking Powder – The baking powder helps make the cookie rise during baking. Make sure to use an aluminum free baking powder.
ingredient picture of chocolate rugelach.

How To Make Tender and Flakey Chocolate Rugelach

Step 1: The Dough

  • Add flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder to the food processor fitted with a metal blade. Give a few pulses to combine.
  • Cut the cold cream cheese into 5 or 6 pieces and add to the flour mixture. Process for 20 seconds until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • Add the cold chunks of butter and pulse until the butter is pea size or smaller, about 20-30 seconds of short pulses.
making the dough for the rugelach.
  • Pour in the heavy cream, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Give a few more pulses until the dough starts to hold together when pinched.
  • Empty the dough onto a large piece of cling wrap. Next, use the cling wrap to gather and kneed the dough until it holds together as one piece. Continue to use the cling wrap to shape into a disk.
placing the dough in cling wrap.
  • Take the dough that was shaped into a disk and cut into 4 equal pieces; wrap each piece of dough in cling wrap and using the cling wrap to shape each section into a disk. Use a rolling pin to flatten each piece into 5 inch disks. Wrap securely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Note: Can also be frozen, at this point, for up to 3 months.

cut the dough into 4 even pieces.

Step 2: The Filling

  • Toast the pecans: Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. Toast the nuts for 10 minutes. Wipe the food processor of any left over dough and add the toasted pecans. Give a few pulses until the nuts are finely chopped (Alternatively you can chop the pecans finely with a knife). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
toast and chop the pecans.
  • Melting the chocolate in a double broiler: You will need a heatproof bowl and saucepan with enough water that will create steam but not too much water that touches the bowl while it’s simmering. The bowl should sit firmly over the saucepan to prevent any steam or drops of water from getting into the chocolate.
  • To a medium saucepan over low heat, add water (be sure the water does not touch the bowl once it starts to simmer). Place a heatproof bowl over the saucepan and add the chocolate. With a rubber spatula, stir until 3/4 of the chocolate has melted. Remove the pot from the heat and continue stirring until all of the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool. Once the chocolate has cooled slightly and no longer is hot to the touch, it is ready to be spread. 

Note: An alternative method to melt the chocolate would be to pop it into the microwave in 30 second increments. We prefer using the double broiler method as it produces even melting throughout all the chocolate whereas the microwave method may create hot spots, therefore leaving you with clumps.

melt the chocolate.

Step 3: The Topping

  • In a small bowl, beat one egg white and 1 tablespoon of milk. In a separate small bowl, add 3 tablespoons of turbinado sugar. Set both aside until the rugelachs have been rolled.

Step 4: Rolling the dough

  • Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside. 
  • Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, remove a disk from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes or until malleable enough to work with.
  • On a well floured counter (or parchment paper) and using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough from the center out into a circle a little under 1/8 inch thick and about 10-11 inches in diameter.
use a rolling pin to flatten the dough.
  • Rotate and flip the dough often and add enough flour to ensure the dough does not stick. It’s ok if the edges are a little uneven or rough. If the dough becomes too sticky to work with, pop back into the refrigerator briefly until it is firm enough to roll.

Note: Rolling the dough out on parchment makes it easier to pop back into the fridge to firm up. Just lift and place the parchment onto a cookie sheet and pop into the refrigerator. 

Step 5: Putting it Together

  • Using a small spatula or spoon, spread 1/4 of the melted chocolate onto the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border at the edge of the circle. Next, add 1/4 of the chopped pecans and press them in gently with your fingers.  
  • Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 12 triangular pieces. First cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 sections
put together the rugelach.
  • Starting from the wider end of the triangle, roll up to form a crescent shape. Place the rugelachs point side down, about an 1/2 inch apart on a prepared sheet pan. Clean your work surface of any chocolate smudges or nuts to get ready for the next disk.
  • Lightly brush the tops of each rugelach with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. 
roll into crescent shapes.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat this process until all of the disks have been rolled. 

Step 6: Baking

  • 20 minutes before the rugelachs come out of the fridge, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Working with one sheet pan at a time: Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan and continue baking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown. 
  • With a spatula, transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
final feature image of the chocolate rugelach.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months; let come to room temperature before serving. 

Other desserts you may want to try are our amazing chocolate chip cookies and easy apple crisp.

Tender and Flakey Chocolate Rugelach

Tender and Flakey Chocolate Rugelach

Yield: 48 Cookies
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

Chocolatey, nutty, and tender, these Chocolate Rugelach (pronounced Rug-a-lah) pastries are delicious! While these amazing cookies are often thought of as a holiday treat, in our house they are made year round.

Ingredients

  • The Dough:
  • 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour, spooned into a measuring cup and leveled off
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 6-8 chunks
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons cold heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • The Filling:
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, best quality such as Ghirardelli or Guittard (Nestle works great too!)
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted (sub walnuts or hazelnuts)
  • The Topping:
  • 1 egg white + 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (sub granulated sugar)

Instructions

  1. The Dough:
    Add flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder to the food processor fitted with a metal blade. Give a few pulses to combine. Cut the cold cream cheese into 5 or 6 pieces and add to the flour mixture. Process for 20 seconds until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cold chunks of butter and pulse until the butter is pea size or smaller, about 20-30 seconds of short pulses. Pour in the heavy cream, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Give a few more pulses until the dough starts to hold together when pinched.
  2. Empty the dough onto a large piece of cling wrap. Next, use the cling wrap to gather and kneed the dough until it holds together as one piece. Continue to use the cling wrap to shape into a disk. Take the dough that was shaped into a disk and cut into 4 equal pieces; wrap each piece of dough in cling wrap and using the cling wrap to shape each section into a disk. Use a rolling pin to flatten each piece into 5 inch disks. Wrap securely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
  3. The Filling:
    Toast the pecans: Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. Toast the nuts for 10 minutes. Wipe the food processor of any left over dough and add the toasted pecans. Give a few pulses until the nuts are finely chopped (Alternatively you can chop the pecans finely with a knife). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Melting the chocolate in a double broiler: You will need a heatproof bowl and saucepan with enough water that will create steam but not too much water that touches the bowl while it's simmering. The bowl should sit firmly over the saucepan to prevent any steam or drops of water from getting into the chocolate.
  5. To a medium saucepan over low heat, add water (be sure the water does not touch the bowl once it starts to simmer). Place a heatproof bowl over the saucepan and add the chocolate. With a rubber spatula, stir until 3/4 of the chocolate has melted. Remove the pot from the heat and continue stirring until all of the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool. Once the chocolate has cooled slightly and no longer is hot to the touch, it is ready to be spread. 
  6. The Topping:
    In a small bowl, beat one egg white and 1 tablespoon of milk. In a separate small bowl, add 3 tablespoons of turbinado sugar. Set both aside until the rugelachs have been rolled.
  7. Rolling the Dough:
    Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.  Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, remove a disk from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes or until malleable enough to work with.
  8. On a well floured counter (or parchment paper) and using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough from the center out into a circle a little under 1/8 inch thick and about 10-11 inches in diameter.
  9. Rotate and flip the dough often and add enough flour to ensure the dough does not stick. It’s ok if the edges are a little uneven or rough. If the dough becomes too sticky to work with, pop back into the refrigerator briefly until it is firm enough to roll.
  10. Putting it Together:
    Using a small spatula or spoon, spread 1/4 of the melted chocolate onto the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border at the edge of the circle. Next, add 1/4 of the chopped pecans and press them in gently with your fingers. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 12 triangular pieces. First cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 sections.
  11. Starting from the wider end of the triangle, roll up to form a crescent shape. Place the rugelachs point side down, about an 1/2 inch apart on a prepared sheet pan. Clean your work surface of any chocolate smudges or nuts to get ready for the next disk.
  12. Lightly brush the tops of each rugelach with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. 
  13. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat this process until all of the disks have been rolled. 
  14. Baking:
    20 minutes before the rugelachs come out of the fridge, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Working with one sheet pan at a time: Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan and continue baking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown. With a spatula, transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  • Rolling the dough out on parchment makes it easier to pop back into the fridge to firm up. Just lift and place the parchment onto a cookie sheet and pop into the refrigerator. 
  • Dough can be frozen for up to 3 months tightly wrapped in a ziplock bag.
  • The baked cookies can be stored at room temperature, once cooled, in an airtight container for 4-5 days. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months; let come to room temperature before serving. 

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