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Chocolate Cheesecake Rugelach

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Chocolate Cheesecake Rugelach

Growing up Jewish in New York, rugelach were a regular nosh – ever-present beside platters of bagels, lox, and whitefish.  Rugelach are traditionally filled with jam and/or nuts and raisins.  As with Hamantashen, rugelach fillings stray from the classics and you can often find poppy seed, marzipan, or chocolate varieties.  Honestly, I don’t care what the filling is;  you could fill rugelach with thin air and I’d still be all over them like Pinterest users pinning Internet memes.  But, since rugelach require a filling, I decided to make one with some chutzpah!

I filled these homemade rugelach with chocolate cheesecake in honor of Shavuot (I’ll explain that word in second) and wow, wow, wow!  Given that rugelach dough often contains cream cheese, it’s not surprising that cheesecake and rugelach are a perfect pair!  While I used chocolate cheesecake for the filling, you could play around with using any of your favorite cheesecake recipes.  You’ll likely have to quarter your cheesecake recipe to use it since you’ll only need one cup of cheesecake batter for the rugelach.

Filling Rugelach

What is Shavuot?

Even if you’re not Jewish, you have probably heard of Passover and Rosh Hashana – and it’s hard to avoid Chanukah.  Shavuot is a lesser known, but very important holiday.  Shavuot celebrates the day that the Jewish people received the Torah (the Hebrew Bible).  On Shavuot, it is customary to eat dairy because (according to one opinion) once the Israelites were informed that there were dietary laws that they needed to learn, they chose to eat only dairy in order to have time to learn the laws of kosher slaughter.

Each year at the Passover Seder, Jews are asked to think of the exodus from Egypt as if we had personally been there.  I do think about it, and I wonder what I would have done had I been there when Moses came down with the Torah.  I’m typically of the rules-are-loose-guidelines camp; my crazy chocolate cheesecake rugelach should give you a clue that I don’t like to stick within a mold.  I could imagine saying, “Come on guys, we can still eat meat, we’ll just learn the Kosher thing as we go.  Surely, there is some wiggle room for the first couple of months.”  But, I’d like to think that if I had just seen the Red Sea part and had dined on manna falling from the sky, I would have treated these rules with reverence and seen this learning period as a great opportunity: Shavuot is a fabulous excuse to eat cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake rugelach, or if, you prefer, lots of buttercream frosting!

If you are interested in learning more about Shavuot, check out NJOP’s Shavuot essentials.  There is also a lot of information about Shavuot on Jewish Treats, the blog by the folks behind the Twitter account for all things Jewish (JewishTweets).

Chocolate Cheesecake Rugelach Recipe

There are two camps of rugelach recipes, yeast-based and cream cheese-based.  The yeast-based rugelach are lighter and more flaky, while the cream cheese-based ones (my personal favorites) are heavy, buttery, and incredibly rich.

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I used Ina Garten’s cream cheese-based rugelach recipe for the rugelach dough.  She clearly perfected it (a 5 star rating and 196 reviews have to mean something).

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Where I differed from her was in my chocolate cheesecake filling.  I’m including her recipe below in my own words, along with my my filling recipe.

If you've tried this recipe, please RATE THE RECIPE and leave a comment below!

Chocolate Cheesecake Rugelach
5 from 2 votes

Chocolate Cheesecake Rugelach

Servings 4 dozen rugelach


Rugelach Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Chocolate Cheesecake Filling Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate melted (if you prefer semi-sweet, that would also work)
  • 1 large egg

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons sugar


Rugelach Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy (about three minutes on high speed).
  2. Mix in the sugar, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Mix in the flour until just combined.
  4. Place the dough on a floured board and form it into a ball.
  5. Divide into four roughly equal pieces, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Chocolate Cheesecake Instructions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
  2. Mix in chocolate.
  3. Mix in egg until just combined.

Assembly Instructions

  1. Remove one of the wrapped sections of dough from the refrigerator.
  2. Roll out to a roughly 9" circle. The dough is sticky, so be sure to flour your surface and your rolling pin really well. Also, don't worry if your circle isn't a perfect circle. Mine looked more like a map of the United States than a circle.
  3. Spread 1/4 cup of the chocolate cheesecake filling over the dough, being sure to evenly distribute it. Leave just a little rim of uncovered dough around the edge of your circle.
  4. Cut the circle into quarters. Then, cut the quarters into thirds as if you were cutting a pizza (I even used a pizza cutter). You will end up with 12 roughly even wedges.
  5. Roll up each wedge, starting with the wider edge of the wedge.
  6. Place the rugelach on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  7. Repeat for the other 3 sections of dough.
  8. Chill the formed rugelach for 30 minutes in the refrigerator (this helps them hold their shape). I didn't have space in my fridge, so I chilled one baking sheet at a time in my freezer for about 10 minutes. Either way is fine.

Topping and Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Remove cookie sheets of rugelach from the refrigerator.
  3. Beat egg in a small bowl and brush the rugelach with egg.
  4. Sprinkle sugar on the rugelach.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the rugelach are golden brown. It may take longer than 20 minutes if your rugelach are particularly cold (mine took almost 35 when they came out of the freezer). Be careful not to under-cook them. Although you can eat them before they brown (you won't get sick), they are so much better when they have time to get a little crispy. You don't want them to burn, but they should achieve the golden brown color that you see in my photo.

This post was sponsored by NJOP (The National Jewish Outreach Program).

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8 comments on “Chocolate Cheesecake Rugelach”

  1. Holy cow those look awesome! I’ve made traditional rugelach before, but I’ll definitely have to try this sometime. :)

  2. sarasays:

    These look FANTASTIC!!!!

  3. Adelaidesays:

    How will I store these, can I freeze it? It looks delicious, and want to make it this week for a babyshower.

  4. Kittishsays:

    I just tried one of the first set of these to come out of the oven, I made an apple cinnamon filling for mine. Wow! Good thing I have more filling than I needed, I’m going to turn right around and make some more of these.

  5. Alkasays:

    Loved this recipe. Made it twice and about to make it again this weekend.

  6. Laurasays:

    Though I don’t know you, I do know and share the pain of losing my father suddenly, without warning. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your childhood memories of your dad bringing sweets home and your recipes that he would have loved – our lost loved ones live on by us sharing our memories of them. He lives on in you. Keep baking, and please keep sharing :)

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