Rugelach are little cookies made of pastry dough usually containing some sort of cream cheese or sour cream. The dough is then flattened, filled with nuts, raisins, sugar, and cinnamon and then rolled into triangles or horns. These traditional Jewish desserts get their name from the Yiddish word rugel, meaning “royal.”
Rugelach have gone more mainstream than any other Jewish dessert. They are known by other names in many places: Kipfil in Germany, Kifili in Yugoslavia, and Cream Cheese Cookies in the United States.
Rugelach’s origin cannot be traced to a single year or time period, because in Jewish tradition, sweets used are historic parts of the festivals they are made for. Rugelach, like the Purim treat Hamantaschen, are thought to have their beginning in this way. However, they've become particularly popular around Hannukah in Israel, earning them a top spot as one of our delicious Hannukah gift ideas.
Rugelach are believed to have been brought to this country by Jewish immigrants from Hungary and Yugoslavia. They became popular through kosher bakeries in New York City, and can now be found all over the country.
Does your family celebrate with rugelach? What's your favorite filling? Let us know in the comments!