An Oh-So-Customizable Nutella Sea Salt Rugelach Recipe

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today i have two things on my mind.

  1. KOMBUCHA. this has nothing to do with anything, and it probably sounds totally CRAZY, but i feel it bears saying anyway, so: i started drinking kombucha last week (many years late to this party, i know) and i feel like my mood and body and entire life changed. really!!!!! so i’m kinda in love with the stuff and want to drink it for the rest of time. has anyone else experienced this magical post-kombucha feeling?? can you kindly lemme know that i’m not crazy? thanks.

  2. RUGELACH. also life-changing! also delicious! slightly more relevant.

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i’m telling you: if you knew how easy rugelach is to make. you’d be making it every hour on the hour. because not only is it 30643498x more fun to whip together than plain-old cookies (just LOOK at that swirly-spiral cylinder of dough you’ll get to cut), it’s also really, really, really tasty. this is thanks in part to an unhealthy dose of cream cheese in the dough, and also to molly yeh, who developed the base for this particular recipe.

(molly’s brilliance has been making a questionable number of appearances here on my blog, but that’s just because she’s perfect and amazing. so. I REGRET NOTHING.)

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seriously, though, i was pleasantly surprised when i found out how simple it was to make these (and how much they really, truly tasted like the flaky, fresh-from-the-bakery rugelach of my YOUTH). believe it or not, for all that twisty-turny-swirling magic you see in the photos, you really don’t need to be a pro baker…nor do you have to do anything particularly confusing or fancy. IT’S GREAT.

there’s only one catch.

you will need a heck of a lot of time.

like…several hours. 😬

basically, you’re going to have to keep all the ingredients super cold because of all that cream cheese. and also because it’s the best way to ensure that the cookies actually hold their shape when you pop ‘em in the oven.

but if patience is your strong suit, you’ve got this. and if NOT, one thing you can do is make your dough a day ahead of time (as i did!), which somehow always makes the waiting a little less painful.

anyway, enough chitchat. i’ll let the rugelach take it from here. recipe after the jump.

happy eating, friends!!

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nutella sea salt rugelach

makes 24 cookies. adapted from My Name is Yeh!

what you’ll need

  • 2 1/2 c (325g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1/4 c (50g) sugar

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 c (226g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

  • 8 oz (226g) cream cheese, straight from the fridge

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp almond extract, optional

  • 1 1/2 c (260g) nutella

  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water

  • flaky salt

  • sprinkles, sanding sugar, or turbinado sugar

what you’ll do

  1. to make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. add the cubed butter, distributing it all over the top of the dry ingredients, and dollop in the cream cheese (1” dollops should do it, but it doesn’t need to be perfect).

  2. turn the mixer on low and stir until the mixture is mostly mealy and there are still some larger clumps of butter and cream cheese in tact.

  3. continue mixing and add the yolks, vanilla, and almond extract, if using, and then continue mixing until the dough comes together.

  4. divide the dough in half and shape into discs. wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days.

  5. working with one dough disc at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as needed to prevent it from sticking, until it is a wide rectangle, 18” by 9”.

  6. use an offset spatula to spread on half of the nutella in a thin even layer, leaving a 1” border along the long edge that’s furthest from you.

  7. brush the 1” border with a thin layer of egg wash and then start on the end closest to you and roll the dough into a long tight log, placing it seam side down. transfer to a cutting board or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days (depending on fridge space, you might want to cut the log in half so you’re dealing with four shorter logs as opposed to two really long ones). if you’re only refrigerating for an hour or two, no need to cover the logs. if longer than that, cover with plastic wrap. 

  8. to bake, preheat the oven to 375ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. brush the logs with a thin layer of egg wash, sprinkle with a few pinches of flaky salt, and a ton of sprinkles or sugar. cut into 1 1/2” slices and transfer to the baking sheets, 1” apart. bake until golden brown on top; begin checking for doneness at 24 minutes. (you might notice that the cookies seem to sweat and leak out some fat while in the oven, this is completely normal.)

  9. let cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. or enjoy them warm! leftovers can be stored at room temp for several days.