Rugelach has been on our "must make" list forever and now that we've done it, there will be more! An entire batch of these vanished during one shift at the spice shop and I'll not say how may of us were working. I can confidently say that this recipe is a keeper. The dough is surprisingly easy to make. No yeast or leavening is needed, because all of the magic is in the butter and cream cheese whipped in the dough. While this soft dough is chilling, it's jam time! We went with a classic pairing of strawberries and rhubarb, but you can mix it up with just about any seasonal fruit. The key to these fruity cookies is cook down the jam to be the perfect consistency. Spreadable but thick enough to stay in place once heated and rolled between the dough.
Deciding on a spice for these was tough! Tangy rhubarb and our local strawberries are a great base for so many things. Ultimately we landed on ginger and the concentrated flavor of the powder was perfect. The spiciness of ginger elevates the entire jam and we sprinkled in some mace for the secret ingredient. Mace is the outside ground shell of the nutmeg, and it's lighter and peppery. It highlights the lemon zest and gives the jam an overall all sweet spice aroma.
Rugelach dough freezes well and can sit in the fridge up to 5 days. These cookies can be made ahead and are a great activity to do as a family. My pizza cutter has a fancy serrated side that creates a fanciful edge. Whatever utensil you use, wipe the blade between cuttings to keep the edges from tearing. Traditionally rugelach is a smaller, two bite sized cookie, but feel free to play with the size of the wedge slices. The bigger the slices the smaller the yield, but the larger the portion. With one test batch we cut the dough round into 8ths and the rugalach was about the size of a croissant, a perfectly sized pastry to enjoy with your morning cup of tea.
There's nothing quite like homemade jam made with fresh blueberries, raspberries, peaches, cherries, or blackberries...the possibilities are endless! Ginger powder and mace work well with all of those fruits, but feel free to try other spices - Lavender or cardamom would be two bold flavors to try in jam.