Last updated on July 18th, 2024.

Israeli Chocolate Rugelach is the pastry that makes you happy when you see it. Sweet and buttery yeasted dough filled with decadent chocolate filling is rolled into crescent shapes, baked, and then soaked with sweet, sticky syrup.

Israeli chocolate rugelach pastry.

Israeli Chocolate Rugelach vs. Regelach Cookies

I am not sure where to start, So I will begin with the first time I was presented with a Rugelach cookie when I moved to the States. I glanced at what was clearly a shortbread cookie and raised my eyebrow, saying: that’s not rugelach. That is a chocolate rolled cookie. The kind person who was gifting the cookies as a sweet jester could not have been more confused and if I am honest, scared. My reaction was sharp, and it was clear that I took my relationship with this pastry very seriously. I still do, and in this post, other than sharing with you what I believe to be one of the most delicious pastries I grew up eating, I intend to set the record straight. 

The best way to describe this thin-layer crescent pastry is Israeli Croissants. Italians have Cornetti, the French have Pain Aux Raisins, and the Portuguese have Purtoguese Croissant Brioche. Israelis have Chocolate Rugelach. Sweet yeasted dough thinly rolled and laminated with a generous layer of chocolate filling, then cut into triangles and rolled like “little twists,” or Rugelach in Yiddish. 

The traditional Jewish pastry originated in Eastern Europe; what we all know as the classic American version is a cookie, not a pastry. Traditional Rugelach is made of a shortbread dough, cream cheese, or sour cream-based and filled with raspberry preserves or chocolate. Sometimes, it is rolled into crescent-shaped cookies, and sometimes, it’s folded into layered rectangles like these Fig Rugelach.

BTW, the dough can be used to make these Cinnamon Brioche Rolls and this Chocolate Brioche Babka and its best enjoyed with a warm cup of Moroccan Mint Tea.

Ingredients

To make Israeli chocolate rugelach, you’ll need the following ingredients:

For the Rugelach Dough

  • All-purpose flour. Unbleached all-purpose flour is the best option for this recipe. A good alternative is to substitute half of the flour with bread flour.
  • Granulated sugar. A quarter cup goes a long way in the recipe. If you wish to use honey instead, warm it with milk and stir to incorporate it before adding it to the dough.
  • Salt
  • Instant yeast. See notes in the recipe card for cake or active dry yeast. 
  • Large eggs at room temperature.
  • Lukewarm milk. Dip your finger in the milk; it should feel nice and warm; if it’s too hot for you to touch, it’s too hot to add to the flour mixture and might kill the yeast.
  • Unsalted butter at room temperature. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • Egg for egg wash.

For the Filling

Use your favorite store-bought chocolate spread For a simple, no-fuss filling,

  • Unsalted soft butter
  • Cocoa powder
  • Powdered sugar
  • Melted dark chocolate.

Soaking Simple Syrup

  • Water
  • Sugar

Step-by-Step Instructions

Make the Dough

  1. Add the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, eggs, and milk to a large bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to mix the ingredients until you have a shaggy mass. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and mix for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, one piece at a time, waiting for each piece to incorporate into the dough before adding the next.
  3. Continue mixing until you have a smooth dough and the bottom and sides of the bowl are clean.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 90 minutes.
how to make sweet dough for pastries.

Prepare the Filling

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until you have a smooth filling.

Shaping

  1. Divide the dough into two parts. Roll each part into an 18×12-inch rectangle over a clean work surface dusted with flour.
  2. Spread half of the filling using an offset spatula, leaving 1 inch of bare edges.
  3. Fold the wide part of the dough in half.
  4. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12×8 rectangle.
  5. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to mark dents every two inches, then cut the dough from the first mark diagonally to the corner across and back.
  6. Gently roll each triangle from the wide end gently stretching the dough with the opposite thumb. Each part should yield six equal pieces and 12 triangles.
  7. Place the rolled dough over a baking pan lined with parchment paper, leaving about 2 inches of space. Brush with an egg wash and let rise for about 90 minutes. 
  8. Bake until golden brown and the inner temperature is 180F. 
  9. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the pastries with the sugar syrup using a pastry brush.
steps for rolling and filling dough for yeasted israeli croissants.
how to shape israeli rugelach
rolling yeasted israeli croissants.
baked pastries, brushing pasties with simple syrup.

​Tips and Troubleshooting

  • If you wish to make the dough a day in advance, reduce the yeast to 1 1/4 teaspoon. Allow it to rest at room temperature for about one hour, then place in the refrigerator.
  • The dough is easier to work when it’s cold, so place it in the refrigerator for about one hour to chill. Remember that the cold temperature slows the fermentation process, so allow the dough to rise for about 90 minutes before chilling.
  • When the dough bounces back, allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes after you deflate it and divide it.
  • The chocolate oozes. Filling, rolling and shaping this pastry can get a bit messy, it is best to enjoy the process. Remember to leave 1 inch of bare dough when you spread the filling. And when you re-roll the do, do it very gently.
  • My Rugelach are in different sizes. I like to use a ruler, or even a measuring type to help me cut the dough into even parts. As you slice the dough, it might slighty shrink. That is very normal.   

Variations

This is where the fun begins. Israeli chocolate rugelach are famous for being a source of creativity when it comes to different fillings; here are some options:

  • Cinnamon sugar. Spread the top of the dough with a thin layer of soft butter, the sprinkle some cinnamon sugar.
  • Pistachio Rugelach. Spread your favorite pistachio spread, and sprinkle chopped pistachios.
  • Almond rugelach. Spread with some Almond Cream Filling and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
  • Poppy Seeds. Spread with some store-bought poppyseed filling.
  • Fruity Rugelach. A variety of fruit jams are all great to spread. 

Storing and Freezing Options

Rugelach can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Warm them in a 300F preheated oven for about 5 minutes for a fresh pastry.

If you prefer to freeze them, place the baked and cooled rugelach in a plastic bag or airtight container, and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw at room temperature or warm in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes.

twisted pastries filled with chocolate.

Don’t forget to leave a comment and tag me on Instagram when you make one of my recipes.

More Jewish Israeli Recipes

Israeli Cheesecake, Israeli Biscuit Cake, Jewish Apple Cake

Israeli Chocolate Rugelach

Sweet buttery yeasted dough filled with chocolate and rolled into crescent -shaped pastries.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword israeli chocolate rugelach
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 24 rugelach
Author Dikla

Ingredients

The Dough

  • 4 Cups Unbleached all-purpose flour (480g)
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar (50g)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 Cup Lukewarm milk (180ml)
  • 6 Tablespoon Unsalted soft butter (85g)
  • 1 Egg For egg wash

Chocolate Filling

  • 3/4 Cup Unsalted soft butter (180g)
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa powder (45g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Powdered sugar (120g)
  • 1/4 Cup Melted dark chocolate (45g)

Simple Syrup

  • 1 Cup Sugar (200g)
  • 1 Cup Water (240ml)

Instructions

Make the Dough

  1. Place the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and eggs in a bowl of a standing mixer.

  2. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients on low while you drizzle in the milk.

  3. Mix until you have a shaggy mass, then replace with the dough hook.

  4. Mix at medium-low speed for 2-3 minutes. You should have a ball of dough that is not smooth and slightly dry.

  5. Increase speed to medium, then add the butter, one piece at a time, waiting for the butter to be incorporated before adding the next piece.

  6. Mix the dough until the butter is fully incorporated, the dough is smooth, and the sides and bottom of the bowl are clean.

  7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot to double in size, about 90 minutes.

Make the Filling

  1. Mix all of the ingredients until smooth. You can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer.

shaping

  1. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll each part over a clean work surface dusted with flour into a 19×13-inch rectangle.

  2. Spread half of the chocolate filling over the dough, leaving a one-inch border around the edges.

  3. Gently lift the wider side of the rectangle and fold it in half.

  4. Gently roll the rectangle into a 19×8 rectangle.

  5. Using a sharp knife or a pizza wheel, mark the dough every two inches along both wide sides.

  6. Cut the dough diagonally from the first mark closest to you, moving toward the opposite corner and back in a straight line.

  7. Gently roll each triangle from the wide end toward the tip, stretching the dough with your opposite thumb.

  8. Place the pastries over a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

  9. Brush the pastries with an egg wash and place in a warm spot to rise for 60-90 minutes.

  10. As the pastries rest, make the simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for five minutes.

  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 180F from the center of the pastries.

  12. Remove from the oven and brush with the simple syrup.

Recipe Notes

  • All of the ingredients should be at room temperature.
  • Use three teaspoons of active yeast, or 1 1/2 tablespoons of cake yeast.
  • Combine the yeast, one tablespoon of sugar, and warm milk. Set aside for 10 minutes until a layer of foam forms on top.
  • If you want to prepare the dough a day ahead, reduce the yeast to 1 1/4 teaspoons. Let it rest at room temperature for about an hour before refrigerating.
  • When cold, the dough is easier to handle, so chill it in the refrigerator for about an hour. Cold temperatures slow down the fermentation process, so allow the dough to rise for about 90 minutes before chilling.
  • Use a ruler or measuring tape to cut the dough into equal parts for an even-sized Rugelach. It’s normal for the dough to shrink slightly as you slice.
  • Use different spreads and fillings for a variety of flavors.
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