Hazelnut or Walnut Rugelach



By Cat, Oct 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons, and adjusted for light exposure)

Traditional Rugelach (a Jewish treat popular at Hanukkah) is made in layers of rich, cheesy dough and nuts, rolled up in a crescent shape. I first had this treat at my neighborhood Torrefazione coffee and espresso shop in Portland; their version was more like the walnut version presented here, but also had small dried fruit which was probably Zante currants or chopped raisins.

Either of these recipes, adapted from Good Housekeeping magazine (1, 2), can be made with hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans for an interesting flavor change.

  • See also: 1. Cookies Menu; 2. Nuts (About); 3.Soaking, Sprouting, Toasting Nuts & SeedsOther Sites: Good Housekeeping: Walnut & Cinnamon Rugelach (2); AllRecipes: Rugelach (3) and Sugar-Free Rugelach, which does not use artificial sweeteners (3)
  • Includes: 1. Hazelnut Rugelach with Dried Fruit; 2. Walnut Rugelach; 3. Method for both versions

Recipe notes:

These delicious recipes each make 6 dozen cookies. The description of the method is long and sounds complicated, and there is a fair amount of prep and resting time, but really, they are quite easy to make. You can halve the recipe (for 3 dozen cookies), but with all the trouble you go through to get the final product, you might as well make a whole batch, and then freeze what you can’t use right away.  These cookies also make excellent gifts at the holidays.

Start the dough and the filling 1 – 2 days before you want the cookies.  The dough needs to rest at least 12 hours before rolling; the nuts need to soak the same amount of time, and then dry in a warm oven 12 – 24 hours. I would start the nuts to soak first thing in the morning, and them place in my oven at lowest setting for 12 hours, before making the cookies

Allowing the buttery mixture of flour and cream cheese or cottage cheese to rest in a warm place for at least 12 hours makes the flour more digestible by breaking down the phytates, which would otherwise prevent the minerals in the flour from being absorbed.  If you use commercial cottage cheese, I like the Daisy brand, as it doesn’t have a lot of questionable additives. These recipes can also be made without the 12-hour soak (as in the original Good Housekeeping versions), but they won’t be as nutritious.

Similarly, soaking the nuts also breaks down the phytates and neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, but then requires drying at a low temperature to restore their crispiness. You could skip the soaking and drying, for a less nutritious product.

Similar recipes, can be found on All Recipes (3).  However, use butter instead of margarine, and whole wheat pastry flour, instead of all-purpose flour; then let the dough rest in a warm place for 12-24 hours before chilling and rolling.  And of course, consider soaking and drying the walnuts before using them.

Hazelnut Rugelach

Hazelnuts (Filberts)

Hazelnuts (Filberts)

(Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

This is a traditional Hanukkah treat made with a tender cottage-cheese dough that was popular in the 1960s.This version includes a filling of nuts, jam and dried fruit, but you could use a nut-and-spice filling as in the following recipe.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Rugelach Dough
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup homemade yogurt cream cheese, softened at room temperature (or use cottage cheese as in walnut recipe, below)
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, or a mix of whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached white flour
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • Fruit & Nut Filling
  • 1 cup hazelnuts (filberts), pecans, or walnuts; shelled, chopped, soaked, and dried
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • filtered water
  • ½ cup dried pitted plums (prunes), chopped; or dried currants
  • ½ cup dried tart cherries or cranberries, chopped (avoid dried cranberries if you’re avoiding sugar; substitute with dried blueberries)
  • ¼ cup Rapadura or white cane sugar (or 1 Tbsp sugar plus a pinch of stevia extract powder)
  • 9 Tbsp apricot jam (optional)
  • Spice Sugar (optional)
  • ¾ cup Rapadura or white cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • Equipment
  • small, medium and large bowls
  • electric mixer
  • colander (for draining soaked nuts)
  • waxed paper
  • rolling pin
  • sharp knife
  • cookie sheet

Walnut Rugelach

Walnut Kernel

Walnut Kernel

(Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

This version includes a simple nut-and-spice filling, but you could use a mixture of jam and dried fruit as in the previous recipe.

  • Dough
  • 1 container creamed cottage cheese (size of container was not specified; start with 1 cup, and add more as needed for proper texture) (or use1 cup cream cheese as in hazelnut recipe, above)
  • 1 cup real butter
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, or a mix of whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached white flour
  • Filling
  • ¾ cup walnuts, pecans, or  hazelnuts (filberts); shelled, chopped, soaked, and dried
  • ¾ cup Rapadura or packed brown cane sugar
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. real butter
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Spice Sugar (optional)
  • ¾ cup Rapadura or white cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • Equipment
  • small, medium and large bowls
  • electric mixer
  • colander (for draining soaked nuts)
  • waxed paper
  • rolling pin
  • sharp knife
  • cookie sheet

Method for both recipes

  1. Presoak nuts/seeds: Chop, then soak and dry the nuts:  combine nuts, sea salt and enough filtered water just to cover, in a medium bowl.  Leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight.  Drain in a colander.  Spread on a stainless steel baking pan (DO NOT use aluminum pan), and place in a warm oven or dehydrator (no more than 150 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp.  Store in an airtight container.
  2. Presoak flour:  In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and cream cheese or cottage cheese until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in whole wheat flour just until blended, occasionally scraping bowl. Cover surface of dough with waxed paper to keep it from drying out, then cover with a towel (to keep out the light), and let rest on counter overnight.
  3. Dough: Sift unbleached white flour (if using) and salt (if using) into presoaked flour mixture.
  4. Divide dough into 3 equal balls.  Flatten each into a disk.  Wrap each disk in waxed paper and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll. (Or place dough in freezer for 1 hour).
  5. Prepare Filling: Chop dried fruit (if using) and combine with chopped, soaked and dried nuts.
  6. Add sweetener (and spices, if you are NOT using the sugar and spice mixture for rolling the dough) in medium bowl.
  7. Prepare Spice Sugar (optional): In a small bowl, combine sugar and spices; mix well.
  8. Assemble and Bake: Preheat oven to 375°F (NOTE: the original recipes use 350°F oven for the hazelnut recipe or 400°F oven for the walnut recipe, so I compromise).  Grease cookie sheet with butter.
  9. Sprinkle work surface with 2 Tbsp Spice Sugar (or unbleached white flour if avoiding sugar).  Place 1 disk of dough on top of sugar/flour; turn over to coat both sides.  Roll dough into 12 inch round, turning round over a few times and sprinkling work surface with 2 more Tablespoons Spice Sugar to re-coat both sides.
  10. If desired, spread top of round with 3 Tbsp jam.
  11. Then sprinkle with about ¾ cup filling, leaving ½-inch border around edge.  Press filling lightly, into dough.  With knife, cut dough into 24 equal wedges.  Starting at curved edge, roll up each wedge, jelly-roll fashion, like a crescent roll.  Place rugelach, 1 inch apart, on prepared cookie sheet, point side down.
  12. Bake on center rack in oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until bottoms are browned.  Immediately remove to wire rack to cool.
  13. Repeat with each remaining disk.
  14. Store cookies in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week, or in freezer up to 3 months.


  1. Good Housekeeping, December, 2002, Hazelnut Rugelach recipe: goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a4966/hazelnut-rugelach-1137
  2. Good Housekeeping: Walnut & Cinnamon Rugelach recipe: goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a4515/walnut-cinnamon-rugelach-1531
  3. AllRecipes: Rugelach (allrecipes.com/Recipe/Rugelach-2/Detail.aspx and allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sugar-Free-Rugelach/Detail.aspx (does not use artificial sweeteners)

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