Chocolate Rugelagh

On my trip to Israel this past month I had the most delicious rugelagh. Marzipan Bakery is located in the Machane Yehuda Market, (known as the Shuk) and they are famous for their rugelach. The two times I went to shuk on my visit this bakery clearly was well known. Lots of people always in it, picking up boxes of their baked goods. The rugelagh was completely different from the ones I have had in the states. For one, we had them fresh right from the bakery so they were still warm and oozing with chocolate. Even after they cooled down they still had almost a brownie like consistency. I was able to bring home a box and they were devoured after a few days. I set out on a mission to learn how to make them.

Machane Yehuda Market
Spices in the shuk
So many pastries
warm gooey rugelach from Marzipan Bakery

There was not a lot of information about the recipe for Marzipan’s iconic rugelagh. I did find a recipe from Jamie Geller who writes the “Joy of Kosher” website. After previewing it I decided to try my hand on to bring back some of the magic of my trip, even though I’m still trying to shed the pounds gained over there! I also have plans to get together with the women I went on my trip with this week, so I thought it would be great to eat some of the memories as we reminisce.

The first thing I noticed about this recipe that made it different from any other rugelagh recipe I’ve found is that it does not have a cream cheese based dough. This dough was a yeast based dough. Jamie’s recipe allows you to proof the yeast in water or milk (obviously to decide if you are making the cookies parve or dairy) so I chose the milk since I was using butter anyway. I only use butter for baking.

The dough came together beautifully and it was actually a really nice dough to work with. It rolled out nicely, and only needed a light sprinkling of flour to make a large rectangle. Once rectangle was made, the chocolate spread easily on top of the dough. You just want to make sure to have the chocolate cool before adding to the dough.

Cutting the dough into rectangles took some measurement and precision, but after a few practice ones, the cookies were easy to shape. Brushing some cinnamon sugar syrup was the last step before popping them in the oven.

brushing on the cinnamon syrup

The verdict? They were not a replica of the Marzipan rugelagh. However, they are a stunning looking cookie and really delicious! I can’t wait to share them with my girlfriends this week. And as far as the real Marzipan deal? Guess I need another trip to Israel sooner than later.

Carve out some time to make these. You will need about 2 hours and it makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

While that’s an expensive and time consuming solution, I did see that many markets in the United States sell the real deal.

Chocolate Rugelach (Jamie Geller of Joy of Kosher)

INGREDIENTS

Dough:

  • 2/3 cup milk or water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
  • 3 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs + 2 yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ tablespoons butter, softened

Filling:

  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Syrup:

  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Make the dough: Heat the milk or water to about 110°F. (It should be lukewarm; if the liquid gets too hot allow it to cool slightly before moving on to the next step as hot liquid can kill the yeast).

2. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and stir to dissolve slightly. Sprinkle the yeast over and allow to stand for 10 minutes (it should start to bubble and fizz slightly).

3. Mix together the flour, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, yolks, vanilla extract and yeast mixture. Knead (with your hands or a dough hook attachment) for about 5 minutes. 

4. Add the butter and knead for another 5 minutes, until the dough is elastic.

5. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Put the butter, chocolate, cocoa powder, and sugar in a pot over medium-low heat. Stir until the mixture is full melted.

7. Roll out the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface (or on parchment paper) to a large rectangle. 

8. Spread the filling evenly over the dough. 

9. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then slice it in 10-12 even pieces the other direction so there are about 24 rectangles. 

10. Cut each of these rectangles down the middle to create a triangle (there should be about 48 in total).

11. Roll up each triangle starting from the base of the triangle to form rugelach.

12. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

13. Allow the rugelach to rise once again for 30 minutes, until doubled in volume.

14. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

15. Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup by heating the water and sugar together over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Allow to boil for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken is just slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon.

16. Brush the sugar syrup over the rugelach and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned (take out sooner rather than later as they continue to cook for a few minutes out of the oven, and you want a slightly doughy texture).

17. Remove from the oven and serve.