Rugelach: A Recipe

Caroline Schiff

Let’s talk about bagels. We ate a lot of bagels in my family growing up. Every Shabbat, each post-Bar or Bat Mitzvah brunch, for Yom Kippur break-fast, sitting shiva, and on weekends for no special occasion at all. We kept good ones in our freezer, sliced and ready for the toaster during weekday mornings.

Everyone has their own bagel preferences (I have no problem with a pizza bagel) but for me, there is none more superior than the everything bagel with scallion cream cheese schmear. It hits all the savory and salty notes without being overloaded. It’s satisfying, nostalgic, and comforting. To this day, it's my go-to.


I’m a chef by trade, and am probably best known for my pastries, cakes, and desserts. I’m playing with new recipes, and most of the time, I'm working on something sweet. I was making a lot of rugelach this past High Holiday season – another New York favorite. Rolling up cookie after cookie with the traditional fillings of fig, chocolate, apricot, and cinnamon, it hit me that I could give it a savory twist. My mind went to that favorite bagel combination, the one that always marks the end of Yom Kippur or the start of a lazy Sunday. It’s a cookie that’s a little sweet, mostly salty, unexpected and classic at the same time. It’s pretty New York. Enjoy.



Basic Savory Rugelach Dough
● 1 1/2 lbs (24 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
● 1 1/2 lbs (24 oz) soft butter
● 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
● 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
● 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
● 5 1/4 cups all purpose flour
● 1 egg plus 1 tsp water for egg wash

1. Cream butter and sugar in mixer with paddle.
2. Add cream cheese, creaming into the butter fully.
3. Add flour, salt, and pepper mix until the dough comes together.
4. Form into two even discs. Wrap and chill for 1 hour.
6. Let dough temper slightly, unwrap and transfer to a lightly floured work surface.
7. With a rolling pin, roll first disc out to approximately 14” diameter circle.
8. Using a round 12” cake pan or large bowl as a stencil, trace around your dough and
trim it to form a neat circle.
9. Gently spread and top with filling. Sprinkle with spice mixture (see directions below).
10. Like cutting a pizza, cut the circle into 16 wedges.
11. With a rolling pin, roll each wedge up starting with the outer part of the circle, moving
inwards, to create little crescents.
12. Transfer each one to a parchment lined baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. 
13. Chill about 45 minutes.
14. Lightly egg wash each one with a pastry brush and top with spice mix (see directions below).
15. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, rotating in the oven after 10 minutes, until golden and crispy.

Everything Bagel Filling
● 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
● 3 scallions, sliced
● 1 egg
● 1 tbsp poppy seed
● 1 tbsp sesame seed
● 1 tsp kosher salt
● 1 tbsp dried onion flakes
● 1 tbsp dried garlic flakes

1. Cream together the cream cheese, egg, and scallions to create cream cheese mixture (used in step 9 above). 
2. Mix together dry spices to create spice mix (used in steps 9 and 14 above). 

Caroline Schiff (@pastryschiff) is a New York-based chef and the owner of Paradigm Schiff, a creative consulting agency for the food industry.