Having a father who was an elementary school principal meant that around the holidays, our home was full to the brim with all manner of Christmas cookies, fudge, candy, and more.  So many sweet and kind people made sure to send some of their home-baked treats to our family, and for the most part I was thrilled.  Every time I went past the kitchen I couldn’t resist nibbling on a cookie or my very favorite fudge.  But rugelach were more like a B list treat to me, only worthy of my attention after all of the A listers had been eaten.

This version is a bit different than a traditional rugelach, but that is exactly what drew me to this recipe.  They still begin with a base of cream cheese dough and there are nuts inside, but this version also includes raspberry jam and dark chocolate in the filling.  These simple changes took these cookies from B list to A list holiday treat, in my book at least.  The cream cheese dough is rich and tender, and the combination of chocolate, raspberry, and almond in the filling is oh so good.  I found these completely irresistible and kept finding excuses to wander past the kitchen for just one more bite.  These would be a lovely addition to any holiday gift package, and can definitely hold their own amongst all the other confections.

  • Yield 32 cookies


  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup seedless raspberry jam, divided
  • ¾ cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, divided
  • ½ cup finely chopped toasted almonds, divided
  • Heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon


  • 01

    To make the dough, combine the cream cheese, butter, and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor*.  Pulse to blend.  Add in the almond and vanilla extracts and lemon zest, and pulse until incorporated.  Add in the flour and pulse until the dough comes together in a soft ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled and firm, at least 2 hours.

  • 02

    When you are ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Working with half of the dough at a time, transfer to a lightly floured work surface and flatten into a disc.  Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a thin round about 12-13 inches in diameter.  Spread half of the raspberry jam in an even layer over the disc of dough.

    Use a pastry cutter or pizza cutter to slice the dough in half and in half again and again until you have 16 equal triangles.  Sprinkle half of the chopped chocolate over the jam, and sprinkle the chopped nuts on top of that.

    Working with one triangle at a time, roll up each piece of dough into a spiral form, starting from the wide end so that the tip is on the outside.

    Place the shaped cookies on the prepared baking sheets, seam side down.  Repeat this process with the remaining disc of dough and the remaining fillings.

  • 03

    Once all the cookies are assembled and on the baking sheets, lightly brush the cookies with a bit of heavy cream.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk together to blend.  Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture lightly over the cookies.  Bake until golden, about 22-24 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

    *If you don’t have a food processor, this dough can also be made with an electric mixer.