My Holiday Cookie: Pear Pie Rugelach


I love the holidays for many reasons. But one of my favorite is holiday goodies. 

My mother-in-law makes her famous apple strudels…so good. Warm, with a scoop of ice cream and we can say life is good! 

A friend of the family makes her amazing Bakewells. Those are like a shortcrust pastry with a layer of jam and a sponge cake filling with almonds. They simply melt in your mouth! 

And another friend of the family makes a very delicious Kuga. It’s like a flat sweet bread with a custard on top. It’s great for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

Each one of these unique recipes are wonderful treats that only come to visit around the holidays. Special treats from special ladies.

I have been searching for years to find my special recipe. And according to my husband (who had about 10 of these today) the search is over! 

To be honest, I had never heard of a rugelach cookie before. So I did a little investigating and I discovered that rugelach is a Jewish pastry. 

And I have to say,  I just adore the shape of this cookie. To me, it’s like a little love-filled crescent roll.

They are light and flaky and oh, so addictive! You simply, must try them!

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours plus chilling and cooking 
Makes 64 cookies

Rugelach Dough:
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Pear-Walnut Filling:
4 oz. dried pears, finely chopped (11/2 cup)
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Spice Sugar:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3/4 cup pear jelly
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1) Prepare dough: In a large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and cream cheese until creamy, scraping bowl occasionally. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour and salt just until blended, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; flatten each into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll.

2) Meanwhile, prepare filling: In medium bowl, combine pears, walnuts and brown sugar.

3) Prepare Spice Sugar: In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. 

4) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

5) Sprinkle work surface with 2 tablespoons Spice Sugar. Place 1 disk dough on top of sugar; turn over to coat both sides. Roll dough into 10-inch round, turning round over a few times and sprinkling dough with 2 more tablespoons Spice Sugar to coat both sides.

6) Spread top of round with 3 tablespoons jelly, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup filling, leaving 1/2 inch border around edge. With knife, cut dough into 16 equal wedges. Starting at wide end, roll up each wedge jelly-roll fashion. Place rugelach, 1 inch apart, on prepared baking sheet , point side down. 

7) Bake rugelach 30 to 33 minutes or until dough is browned and cooked through. Immediately transfer to wire rack to cool.

8) Repeat with remaining dough, Spice Sugar, jelly and filling. Store cookies in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week or in a freezer up to 3 months. Dust with confectioners’ sugar to serve.

What’s your favorite holiday treat?

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