This recipe comes from the cookbook Margaret Palca Bakes. While the filling for Palca’s rugelach is delightfully chewy, oozing out to create a crispy, sticky bite, it’s the dough that makes them special. It feels lighter than expected (though that’s certainly not the case calorically); a smooth crumb with only the slightest bit of sourness from full-fat cream cheese is what makes these rugelach award winners.
- Beat butter until smooth in bowl of electric mixer, add cream cheese, and beat until well combined. Add confectioner's sugar, and then slowly add flour until completely incorporated. Place dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 3 equal pieces. Put some flour in a small bowl to use while rolling the rugelach. Work each piece of rugelach dough on a floured surface to form 3 smooth balls. Tear off three square pieces of wax paper to roll dough on. Be sure there is no flour under the surface of the wax paper. Place paper down and flour it heavily. Place a piece of dough on top of the poured paper and press it down with the palm of your hand to extend slightly. Put more flour on top of dough. With a long-tapered rolling pin, begin to roll dough until you have a smooth circle 12 inches in diameter. Pick the circle up with wax paper still attached and place on a cookie sheet that will fit in your refrigerator. Repeat with other two pieces of dough, carefully layering one on top of the other. Make sure there is a little flour on the surface of each circle. Put cookie sheet in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Well-chilled circles are essential.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 10-by-15-inch cookie sheet with parchment. To roll rugelach, you need the rugelach dough and filling ingredients listed above as well as a bench scraper, a cup measure, a small, sharp knife, and an offset spatula. Work with one circle of dough at a time. Put circle on table without paper and dust off excess flour.
- Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of apricot jam on the surface of circle, spreading almost to edge. Combine all other filling ingredients in a bowl. Put one cup of filling on the circle and spread it almost to the edge. With a small, sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 pie-shaped pieces. Starting with the outside edge, roll each pie-shaped piece all the way to the middle and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with other two circles. Bake rugelach for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool.
- Rugelach keeps for up to 1 week in an airtight container.