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Grandpa Abe Piasek’s Rugalech Cookie Recipe

Rugalech side view filled with nuts and chocolate

My grandpa Abe Piasek

The year is not complete unless I make at least one batch of my number 1 favorite cookie in the world and share it with as many good people as possible. This recipe is slight adaptation of my grandpa’s rugalech. Abe Piasek was an amazing step-grandpa, baker and friend. He survived the holocaust including 4 concentration camps and moved to the states when he was 18 and started a beautiful family and a career as a baker. After more or less retiring from baking, and after grandma passed, he dedicated himself to telling his story of the horrors of the holocaust in an insightful, friendly, and charismatic way. For more info on how cool grandpa really is you can start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abe_Piasek or just google “Abe Piasek”.

Grandpa and Grandma Piasek sparked my interest in cooking in baking. They always praised every thing I made and making time at every visit to satisfy my desire to learn new recipes or revisit our favorites. I’ve made this recipe so many times with him over the years. From early childhood to adulthood. I honestly cannot remember exactly where my version differs from his, but my family jokes that mine were always a bit better. I think it’s because I added a little more sugar in the dough and maybe more egg than him? More vanilla? Or like grandpa, they were just trying to encourage me.

Grandpa passed about a year ago at the age of 91. I miss him! This year I definitely couldn’t pass up the opportunity to keep my rugalech skills exercised. I have a few other recipes he taught me on here like his Challah Bread and his sourdough recipe.

This rugalech cookie recipe is not a quick drop cookie recipe. Plan a few hours for it. Get cozy in the kitchen, even better, bring a friend over and teach them how to make it. Experiment with toppings and most of all share! These are hefty little cookie bombs, I recommend having a plan to only have 1 of each type of filling when there are done, especially the first night to avoid rugalech aversions.

Rugalech side view filled with nuts and chocolate

Rugalech Cookies

This is a modified version of my grandpa Abe Piasek's famous rugalech recipe. The only true difference is I add a tad more sugar to the dough and skip the breadcrumbs on the jam filled cookies. Typical fillings are apricot jam (which I don't care for) and cinnamon and sugar. Over the years my favorite fillings have become raspberry jam, cinnamon sugar and nuts, and chocolate spread or chocolate chips.
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Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 12 dozen cookies

Equipment

Ingredients
  

ingredients for the rugalech dough

  • 1.5 pounds salted butter
  • 1.5 pounds cream cheese
  • 1.5 pounds flour plus more for rolling out
  • 1/3 cup white granulated cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the Ruglech fillings (approx made need more or less – keep them close by)

  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 small package mini chocolate chips regular are ok too just a little more bulky to roll
  • 1 jar jam raspberry, apricot, strawberry, whatever you like)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts or more to taste

Instructions
 

Making the Rugalech Dough

  • Mix cream cheese and butter together until well blended
  • Add eggs, vanilla, and sugar
  • Add flour a little at a time until well the dough forms a ball that is not too sticky, not too stiff and somewhat elastic. If it is a little on the stick side it is ok as you roll it out you can add more flour.
  • Remove from a bowl and leave on the counter on a patch of flour

Roll out the dough

  • Break of a ball of dough that is proportionate to the amount of space you have to roll out the dough
  • Roll out the dough into a rectangle shape, turning it over and flouring frequently to prevent sticking
  • Cut edges to ensure a nice rectangle and put aside the scraps to use again. 
  • Spread an even portion of the filling on the rectangle. Depending on how big you made it you should be able to get two long skinny rolls out of it.
  • Starting at the widest side, gently fold over the and crease the beginning and carefully and tightly roll until the "log" is about 1 inch diameter. Cut the seam with flour scrapper and then chop log into about 1 inch segments.
  • Place close together on cookie sheet (ungreased and lined with parchment paper for best results – especially for those jam cookies parchment paper is key).
  • Before baking gently wash a beaten egg using a pastry brush.
  • Bake in oven preheated to 375°F for about 15-20 minutes until the bottoms are a tiny bit golden brown and the tops are slightly golden from egg wash.
    Rugalech side view filled with nuts and chocolate
  • Cool on cookie sheets and enjoy.
  • These cookies store well in sealed containers and bags. They also freeze well.
Keyword Cookies
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