When I was a kid, I really disliked rugelach. It wasn’t a cookie I encountered often, but they always popped up around the holidays at Hannukah or Christmas parties. I didn’t like the mystery nut fillings, which rarely had a distinct flavor, and I disliked the fact that they were usually hard and dry. In short, I didn’t care for rugelach because I had always had very bad rugelach. This is a shame because these cookies can actually be quite good and are easy to adapt to all kinds of fillings!
I’ve made Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Rugelach before and really like that flavor combination, but this year I made some rugelach that I think I would even have enjoyed when I was a kid: Peanut Butter and Jelly Rugelach. They start out like many rugelachs, with a cream cheese dough. This dough is soft and sticky, and it needs to be refrigerated before you work with it. It has a nice vanilla flavor to it and (although I’m not recommending that you eat the dough raw…) reminds me of the flavor of cream cheese frosting. It makes a great backdrop to all kinds of filling flavors.
I rolled out my dough and spread columns of peanut butter and jelly onto it before rolling it up and slicing out the individual cookies. I used crunchy peanut butter – the nuts add a nice little bit of texture – and mixed berry preserves. Use any flavor jam you like, but try to go for a jam or preserve with bits of fruit in it rather than a jelly-type spread (jellies are more prone to melting in the oven). The rugelach need to be chilled for about 15-20 minutes before you bake them, as that will help them keep their shape and prevent the from spreading. The finished cookies have a beautiful swirled shape and taste just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! They are definitely kid friendly, but everyone can appreciate the flavor of a good pb & j!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Rugelach
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
6-oz cream cheese, softened (two 3-oz packages)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
approx 2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
approx 2/3 cup berry preserves or jam
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Cream in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla and milk. Gradually incorporate the flour mixture until it has been completely incorporated. Divide dough into three pieces (dough will be very sticky), wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Lightly flour a work surface and take the cookie dough out of the refrigerator. Work with one portion of the dough at a time. Roll dough out into a rectangle about 12×8 and roughly 1/8-inch thick.
Spread two alternating rows of jam and two rows of peanut butter lengthwise along the dough (down the long side). Starting with the long side, gently roll the dough up. When rolled, turn it so it is seam-side down. Slice into 3/4-inch thick slices with a sharp knife and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops of cookies with coarse sugar (brush tops lightly with water if the sugar will not stick on its own).
Chill cookies for 15-20 minutes.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are light golden.
Cool on a wire rack.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Jen SDecember 1, 2010
I might have to add these to my holiday cookie craziness!
HelenaDecember 1, 2010
i’m drooling!!!! These look AMAZING and i HAVE to make them first thing tomorrow!!!!!
RachelDecember 1, 2010
I don’t think I liked these cookies as a kid either. I remember them from grownup holiday parties. Peanut butter and jelly, though, that I love in any form!
StephanieDecember 1, 2010
What a fresh take on rugelach! Thanks for sharing – these look wonderful.
the blissful bakerDecember 1, 2010
what a great variation of rugelach! pb&j was one my favorite foods when i was growing up. i’ve never made rugelach before, but i’ll definitely give these pb&j ones a try!
Liz @ Blog is the New BlackDecember 1, 2010
I love anything with PB&J!!!
JoyDecember 1, 2010
I love pb and J. This is a great twist to the classic recipe.
MerlotDecember 1, 2010
These look amazing!! If you want to see some delicious cupcakes check out my blog! I made some oreo chocolate chip cupcakes that are to die for!
Crazy About CakesDecember 1, 2010
I have never even heard of rugelach before, but they look AMAZING! I will definitely be making some. Thanks so much for the fun post.
JudyDecember 1, 2010
Sounds yummy, looks yummy! I would use nutella and nuts. I love them!
Lauren at KeepItSweetDecember 2, 2010
i love rugelach because of the cream cheese dough…. i can not believe i’ve never thought to fill it with peanut butter, how delicious!
Jennie @ Oh, Sweet Day!December 2, 2010
LOVE the sounds of this, the little kid in me is drooling! I’ve never filled rugelach with pb and J!
FoodFitnessFreshairDecember 2, 2010
These look delicious! I just had the traditional Rugelach for the first time this year. I love the idea of doing a PB&J combo though!
stephDecember 2, 2010
these look delish, i love making rugelach, but have never made pb&j ones…yet!
dropfoodDecember 2, 2010
Your recipe was posted.
DeborahDecember 3, 2010
I have never made rugelach before, but this is tempting me to make it!
LoraDecember 4, 2010
What a great idea. Love these.
The Poet HerselfJanuary 6, 2011
I am impressed! I tried to make these–never made rugelach before, but lots of cinnamon rolls, so I’m used to filling and rolling–and couldn’t get them to look half as pretty as yours. Nice job! The taste is fantastic!
LauraApril 23, 2011
I love this idea! So much it’s part of my 2011 Easter cookies 🙂
This was such a fun recipe to play with and learn from…so I thought I’d share what I’ve been learning from it today!
I was happily rolling out the dough and started to lay the lines of PB and preserves. Then it hit me. Oh no, which way were they supposed to go? Oh well, keep going. I realized after I started cutting them that I laid the lines the wrong way!
Result: Ended up being PB or J slices, and misshapen ones at that!
I wised up, reread your post, and refrigerated the roll before I sliced them as well as giving them an extra refrigeration after cutting them. Successful in that there is PB and J in each cookie, and for the most part the shape is contained.
Thought I had it down the second batch. So they are actually in the oven now. I expect them to be like the 2nd batch, but I think the lesson I’ve learned is to not go so crazy with the PB and J and spread it thinner in the roll.
Thanks for such a fun recipe!
JenieceAugust 25, 2012
So, I had never heard of rugelach before this recipe and maybe it’s a bad idea to start with the variations before doing the original but I love PB and J (so do my niece and nephew!) so I went for it free of guilt.
These were actually kind of fun to make as I rarely ever make cookies that involve a rolling pin but the dough stayed together really well and it was an easy set up. I think I went a little bit overboard on the amount of PB and J in my first batch (I was worried there wouldn’t be enough) but the second and third batch were much more even.
I would definitely recommend using crunchy peanut butter for this because I used smooth and as soon as I took my first bite, I wished I had bought crunchy! The flavour of these is good but the crunch would have been nice. Last note, I used “no sugar added” jam and I thought it turned out great.