Pumpkin Chocolate Rugelach

Jan Rood-Ojalvo
Recipe by
Jan Rood-Ojalvo

Rugelach is one of those quintessential Jewish desserts that should be enjoyed year round. Here is an autumn version that uses pumpkin and spice to enhance its buttery pastry. It is especially delicious warm from the oven.

(Psst: Prefer a savory rugelach? Try this recipe for Pumpkin Parmesan Rugelach.)

1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin (or mashed butternut squash or sweet potato)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour (more if dough is sticky)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup Nutella or chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts (optional)
1 egg yolk
  1. In an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese. With mixer on low, gradually add sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix until just combined. Add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough is too sticky.
  2. Divide dough into 4 equal balls, wrap in plastic, and place in refrigerator for 2 hours or up to several days.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove one ball of dough at a time from fridge, place on floured surface, sprinkle flour on top, and roll into a 10-inch circle. With a knife or pizza cutter, slice into 8 wedges. 
  4. Lift one wedge away from circle and place a teaspoon of Nutella or chocolate chips across the wide curved end. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired. 
  5. Roll gently, but firmly, from the wide end up over the chocolate and down to the point. Place point side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bend the two ends away from the pointed side, so the roll becomes curved into a crescent. Paint with beaten egg yolk for a shiny glaze.
  6. Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on rack.

    Jan's Baking Tips

    I like to bake just one set of eight rugelach to enjoy fresh each day. If the dough is too cold and hard from the fridge, it may split as I roll it. I simply microwave the dough for 10 seconds to make it malleable, but not warm, before rolling it. I sprinkle plenty of flour to keep it from sticking to the counter.

    Jan Rood-Ojalvo has longstanding ties to Congregation M'kor Shalom and the Katz JCC, both in Cherry Hill, NJ. Jan, who lives with her husband Steve in Haddonfield, NJ, loves baking, traveling, opera, and staying in touch with her six children – and two granddaughters.