Grandma Re’s Rugalach

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Although Carla’s Grandma Re didn’t have a passion for baking, she could always be counted on to make these rich, nut-filled cookies at Christmas time.

NotesMake ahead:

Store dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Soften for 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling out.

Store baked cookies in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.

The nut filling can also be used to fill pastries and breads.Variation:

Try other fillings, such as canned apricot filling, almond filling or poppy seed filling.

Makes6 dozen cookies

Cooking Methodbaking



Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian

Equipmentelectric mixer


Taste and Texturebuttery, nutty, sweet

Type of Dishcookie, dessert


  • 1 lb (500 g) cream cheese, softened 
  • 2 cups (500 ml) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 4¾ cups (1.175 l) unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) salt 
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) homogenized (whole) milk 
  • ¼ cup (50 ml) unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  • 1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar 
  • 4 cups (1½ lbs/750 g/1l)  walnut or pecan halves, ground 
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) vanilla 
  • Confectioner’s (icing) sugar
  • Flat beater
  • Baking sheets, lined with parchment paper


  1. Prepare the dough: Place cream cheese and butter in the mixer bowl. Attach the flat beater and mixer bowl to the mixer. Set to speed 4 and beat until smooth. Reduce speed to stir and mix in flour, in 3 additions, and salt. Divide dough into 8 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, until firm.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan, bring milk, butter and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Add walnuts and cook, stirring constantly, until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

  3. Using a fine-mesh sieve, sprinkle confectioner’s sugar over a work surface. As you work with each piece of dough, keep the rest refrigerated. Working with one disk at a time, lay dough on work surface and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Roll into a 10-inch (25 cm) round and spread thinly with 1/3 cup (75 ml) filling. Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut dough into 8 wedges. Beginning at the large end of each wedge, roll towards the small pointed end. Repeat with remaining dough.

  4. Place cookies 2 inches (5 cm) apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake in middle of preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.


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