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by on December 22, 2009 · 20 comments

Italian wine cookies weren’t the only great cookie at the Austin food blogger cookie swap. The Cosmic Cowgirl made some amazing rugelach – the best I’ve ever tasted. It was flaky, the perfect sweetness, and had chocolate chips and hazelnuts in the filling. Her rugelach was so good it sparked a new (let’s hope brief) obsession with the pastry which if made right and served fresh, is a wonderful thing.

I didn’t want to hound the Cosmic Cowgirl for her recipe, so instead I turned to Ina Garten and Dorie Greenspan who had highly rated versions. Both cooks used the same proportions of butter, cream cheese and flour in the dough but Ina’s used softened cream cheese and butter and Dorie’s dough was made with the cold butter food processor method. I made both recipes over a period of two days.

First, Ina’s recipe. These were so good.   They weren’t as flaky as Cosmic Cowgirl’s, and I think they were a little moister and sweeter, but they tasted great and the process of making them was less frustrating than I’d anticipated. Luckily cream cheese dough is pretty easy to work with. I also liked the granulated sugar and vanilla in Ina’s dough, which is something you will not find in recipes by Maida Heatter and Joan Nathan who keep the sugar in the filling, only.

This is one of the first rugelach I rolled.  I got better at it after a while and increased the bake time too.


Dorie’s rugelach was good, if not great. It was definitely flakier thanks to the cold butter, and it wasn’t as sweet as Ina’s since it didn’t have sugar in the dough. At first the lack of sweetness surprised me (having just tried Ina’s), but I found I kind of liked that contrast of sour and sweet quite a bit.  I baked this one for almost 25 minutes because I like the well-browned look.


So I’ve only tried two rugelach recipes and you can bet I’ll be trying more pretty soon. Since the recipes are all so similar, I think a lot of what it boils down to is the skill of the baker. Obviously, I’m in the beginning stages of developing this skill.

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Published on December 22, 2009

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

CindyD December 22, 2009 at 4:30 pm

These are on my “someday” list. Thanks for comparing the recipes. Any tips on rolling them?

Dolce December 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Oh these are to die for!
Merry Christmas to you :)

Louise December 22, 2009 at 5:42 pm

These look tasty. I haven’t made rugelach in a while and I’ve never tried Ina Garten’s or Dorie Greenspan’s recipes. The type I make is not sweet but the stuff inside makes up for it so I guess I like the contrast.

Gloria December 22, 2009 at 5:47 pm

I’m in the no sugar in the dough camp on these. I like them with cinnamon sugar, raisins, nuts and sometimes jam and nuts!
Thanks for reminding me about these; I have not made them in years and the store-bought rugulach are not nearly as good.!

Kelly December 22, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Is there anyway that you can post the recipe from the Cosmic Cowgirl on her rugulach? I went to her website and couldn’t find it.



Anna December 22, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Sorry, Kelly. I asked her for it, but she hasn’t had time to give it to me yet. I’ll link over when she posts it.

Shannon December 22, 2009 at 8:14 pm

If you’re looking for more rugelach recipes this is the only one I’ve ever tried:

I was also surprised to find that they’re not as difficult to make as I first imagined… it just requires some patience. The recipe I linked to is a little different in that you roll the dough into one long log, make cuts part way through, bake the log, and then finish cutting the cookies once they’re baked, so you end up with a different shape than in your pictures. Your rugelach good, so nice and golden brown! These have always been my favorite bakery treats.

Randi December 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm

I made Ina’s last week before I went to Cleveland. I took them to some foodie friends and my first cousin. Everyone said it was the best they ever tasted. I got frusted with rolling them in cresents so I just made a big log. I also used seedless rasberry and mini chips in one and pear jam( with the nuts, raisins) in another.

Sue December 22, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Yet another cookie I’ve never made! So many cookies so little time! Did you use the same fillings that Dorie and Ina used?

dawn December 23, 2009 at 10:17 am

I have such a hard time with rugelach…the whole rolling thing is not down pat yet. Yours came out perfect though.

Ghislaine December 23, 2009 at 10:47 am

I’m a big fan of the Cooks Illustrated version, although I’ve pared down the filling to just the cinnamon sugar and mini chocolate chips. I’ve also found the egg wash to be optional. They are so much better than any store- or bakery-bought version I have tried.

Katrina December 23, 2009 at 11:06 am

I loved these when we made Dorie’s for TWD. They are dangerous for me, as Kevin doesn’t like them, I don’t think the kids did and over the course of a few days, I ate them all! Shhh. Wish I had more time to make goodies. Yours look great–and definitelly better in the second picture. Some of mine rolled up fine and some, not so nice! Can’t wait to see what other recipes you do. I haven’t tired Ina’s, but I heard through TWD that it was great! I like flakiness, so can’t wait for your friend’s!
Merry Christmas!

Rina December 23, 2009 at 1:41 pm

These look great and you’re inspiring me to try them again. I made them once a couple of years ago but had a really difficult time rolling them (tore the dough, etc.). Merry Christmas Anna!

Sarah December 23, 2009 at 7:39 pm

These look really good. I may have to try them soon.

hiltonc December 25, 2009 at 11:02 am

I’ve been wanting to make these since I first saw this article.

Now, after reading your recommendations, I’m totally confused. :) Need to compare the recipes and just make some. :)

Anna December 25, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Out of the two in your link, this recipe was the most interesting to me because it did not use the usual proportions of 4 oz cream cheese, 4 oz flour and 1 cup flour.

But if I had to choose between making rugelach with softened cream cheese and butter or using the cold butter/cold cream cheese method, I’d go with the cold butter method. I think cutting the butter and cheese into the dough might make the texture flakier. It did in the case of Ina’s recipe vs. Dorie’s.

hiltonc December 25, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Anna … Merry Christmas and thank you for your opinion regarding the recipes. I’m tempted to start with Dorie’s. I’ve never made anything of hers that wasn’t fabulous.

Judy December 26, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Your rugelach are beautiful, looking more like kieflees, a Hungarian cookie I always made, since I’m Hungarian. But a few years ago I tried rugelach — recipe from allrecipes with cold butter, cream cheese & sour cream, no sugar in the dough, and they were amazing. The recipe is rated 5 out of 5 by 87 reviewers. I cut them into logs, much easier. I will only make them again if I can take them right to a party and get rid of them. They are so good I would eat them all.

Anna December 26, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Judy, thanks so much for that recommendation! Since I like the cold butter method and am starting to prefer to “no sugar in the dough” version (I’ve been eating a lot of rugelach these past few days), I’ll have to try the allrecipes recipe with sour cream in the dough. Sounds good.

Sally December 28, 2009 at 11:50 pm

In your link for the Dorie rugelach there is also a recipe for World Peace Cookies. A friend brought them to our annual Cookie Exchange and they were delicious! She gave me two “logs” as a gift and I just baked them up . . . yum! By the way, I was just in Houston, TX after going on a cruise in the Caribbean. We stopped at Crave Cupcakes and we all thought they were delicious. I had the Key Lime and it was great — just the right proportion of icing to cake and the cake was super moist and tasty!

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