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Cinnamon Roll Cookies (Rugelach) Recipe & Video

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When my Mom made pies, she usually had some leftover scraps of pastry. Not one to waste, she would gather up the scraps and roll them into a large round. She would then lightly brush the pastry with water and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar and walnuts. Next, she would roll the pastry into a log shape, cut slits in the log, and bake it until golden brown. I always found myself enjoying this pastry more than the pie that she originally set out to make. It was with this pastry in mind that I decided to make these Cinnamon Roll Cookies.


These cookies are very similar to a cookie called Rugelach, only they are in a spiral shape instead of the more common crescent shape. They are made with a Cream Cheese Pastry. This pastry has a slightly tangy flavor with a texture that is so wonderfully tender and flaky. It is also quite elastic which makes it easy to roll out.

Once the pastry is rolled into a rectangle, the next step is the filling. While my Mom always brushed her pastry with water, I decided to use apricot preserves (often used when making Rugelach). The preserves act as a glue so the cinnamon sugar adheres to the pastry, but it also adds flavor. For the nuts, I like to use walnuts, but pecans would also do very nicely. And another idea is to substitute the nuts with raisins or currants. Once that is done, you simply roll the pastry into a log, and chill. Now you can cover and store the log in the refrigerator a day or two before slicing and baking, or you can freeze the whole log for a couple of months. Before baking I like to brush each cookie with a little beaten egg (you could use milk or cream) and then sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a little more cinnamon sugar.

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Cream Cheese Pastry: In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter, on medium speed, until smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl as needed. Add the sugar and beat until incorporated. Finally, add the flour and beat until incorporated. Divide the pastry into two equal portions (285 grams each). Flatten each portion into a rectangle, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour or until firm (can be chilled overnight).

Filling: Place the apricot preserves in a food processor, and process until smooth.

In a small bowl mix the sugar with the ground cinnamon.

Remove one portion of the pastry from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface roll the pastry into a 7 x 10 inch (18 x 25 cm) rectangle.

Spread half of the apricot preserves over the entire surface of the rectangle. Next, evenly sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar. Then evenly sprinkle with half of the finely chopped walnuts. Gently press the mixture into the pastry. Starting at the long edge, roll the pastry into a log. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 to 60 minutes (or overnight). Repeat the process with the second portion of pastry.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Have ready a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Remove one log of pastry from the refrigerator and, using a sharp knife, cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) slices. Place the slices on the baking sheet, spacing a couple of inches (5 cm) apart.

Topping: In a small bowl stir together the sugar and ground cinnamon. Next, lightly brush the tops of the cookies with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until lightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. The cookies can be covered and stored for a couple of days at room temperature, or they can be frozen for a couple of months.

Makes about 24 - 26 cookies.

View comments on this recipe on YouTube

Cream Cheese Pastry:

8 ounces (225 grams) regular (full fat) cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 tablespoons (45 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour


1/3 cup (90 grams) apricot preserves

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2/3 cup (65 grams) walnuts, finely chopped


1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


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