This flaky goat cheese and butter pastry, filled with orange-cinnamon sugar, chocolate, and toasted hazelnuts, belongs in your rugelach (or baking) repertoire. Rolling the pastry between sheets of wax paper (instead of on a floured surface) helps the filling adhere to the pastry—at least enough so that you can shape the cookies without excessive filling fallout. It also minimizes clean-up. Feel free to swap walnuts or almonds for hazelnuts, trade ground cardamom for cinnamon, or chopped dried fruit for chocolate chips. All's fair in love and rugelach... —Alice Medrich
(50 grams) finely chopped toasted and skinned hazelnuts
(85 grams) dark chocolate chips
a couple pinches
salt (I use fine sea salt)
In This Recipe
Make the pastry: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processer fitted with the steel blade. Pulse a few times to mix.
Cut the butter in 3/4-inch cubs and scatter them over the flour. Pulse until butter pieces range in size from very coarse breadcrumbs to hazelnuts.
Crumble or break the 4 ounces of goat cheese into teaspoon size chunks and add them to the processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like crumbs—it should not come together into a dough or look cohesive at all, but it should stick together when you pinch it.
Pour the mixture into a plastic bag and press it very firmly into a compact ball, don’t worry if you notice unblended bits of butter or cheese; this is correct. Twist the top of the plastic bag and refrigerate the dough for at least two hours and up to three days before using.
Fill, shape and bake the cookies: Position a rack in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Unwrap and cut it in half and let it rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes until just still firm but pliable enough to roll; it should not be soft or squishy.
Meanwhile, mix the cinnamon with the sugar in a small bowl. Set a heaping tablespoon of it aside for sprinkling on the cookies later. Use a microplane (or other fine grater) to grate the zest of the orange over the remaining cinnamon sugar and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Roll one piece of dough between sheets of wax paper into a 12-inch circle a scant 1/8-inch thick. Peel off the top sheet of paper and set it on the counter next to you. Flip the dough over onto the loose sheet of paper and peel off the second sheet.
Spinkle half of the cinnamon orange sugar evenly over the dough. Scatter half of the hazelnuts and half of the chocolate chips over the sugar. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roll over the filling with a rolling pin to press it gently into the pastry.
Cut the pastry like a pizza, into 12 equal wedges. Roll the wide outside edge of a wedge around the filling towards the points as though shaping a miniature croissant. Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet, with the point of dough on the bottom to prevent it from unrolling. Repeat with the remaining wedges, placing them about 1 1/2-inches apart.
Roll, fill, cut and shape the second piece of pastry. Moisten the cookies with a wet pastry brush and sprinkle each with the reserved cinnamon sugar.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until deep golden and brown on the bottom. Rotate the baking sheets from back to front and top to bottom about halfway through the baking time. Set baking sheets racks to cool. Cool cookies completely before storing in an airtight container. Rugelach are always best on the day they are baked, but they remain delicious for several days. Store in an airtight container.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).