These apple butter rugelach cookies are buttery and flaky and filled with apple butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla toasted pecans and a mix of warm spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg.
The rugelach cookies are similar to a flaky pastry like a croissant but without all the work. The perfect blend of pastry and cookie, these cookies are approachable, adaptable and so, so delicious.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- The butter and cream cheese dough is easy to make in a food processor.
- Concentrated and jammy apple flavor from apple butter.
- Brown sugar, maple, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and cloves sweetens and flavors the rugelach.
- Once baked, these cookies are light, crisp and flaky with jammy layers from the apple butter mixture.
- I've provided step by step photo instructions on how to make these cozy rugelach cookies.
All purpose flour
Fine sea salt
Demerara, or turbinado sugar
- Make the pastry dough. Combine the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor.
- Add cubes of butter and cream cheese and process until large clumps start to form.
- Divide the dough into 3 balls, wrap with plastic wrap, flatten and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Make the apple butter filling. Stir together the apple butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and cloves.
- Roll each dough round into a 10" circle.
- Spread ⅓ of the apple butter filling over each of the dough circles.
- Divide the pecans amongst the circles, ¼ cup of the pecans on each round.
- Cut each circle into 12 wedges.
- Roll the cookies. Starting with the wider end, roll each wedge into a log shape, tucking the end point under the cookie.
- Place the cookies 2" apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Brush the cookies with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
- Bake at 350F until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
Storing and Freezing
Dough can be made up to 2 days in advance.
Store the baked rugelach cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Rugelach dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator before using.
Shaped and filled unbaked rugelach can be stored in an airtight container and frozen for up to 3 months.
Baked rugelach can be stored in an airtight container and frozen for up to 2 months.
Tips for Perfect Cookies
- Keep the dough chilled with working with it. This ensures you end up with a light and flaky pastry.
- Don't skip out on chilling the dough. This is one of those recipes that chilled dough is necessary for a successful recipe. Chilling the dough relaxes the gluten, firms up the butter and cream cheese and makes it easier to roll out. It also keeps the cookies firm and prevents them from turning into a buttery puddle in the oven.
- When adding the pecans, lightly press them into the apple butter filling so that there is less chance of them falling out when rolling the wedges into cookie shapes.
- Some of the filling and butter will ooze when baking. This is completely normal and beneficial as it helps the bottoms get crispy. Let the cookies cool, then you can detach any of the oozed out jam from the cookies.
- If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter instead. Finely chop up the butter and cream cheese, then use a pastry cutter to combine.
If you make these apple butter rugelach cookies, let me know! Drop a comment or tag me on Instagram. I love seeing your creations.
For more cookie recipes, check out these posts:
Apple Butter Rugelach Cookies
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cold and cubed
Apple Butter Filling
- ¾ cups pecans, finely chopped
- 1 cup apple butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup demerara, turbinado or raw sugar, for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Pulse to mix well.2 cups all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Add the butter and cream cheese cubes. Pulse 3-4 times to mix, then pulse for 30 seconds just until the dough starts to clump together.1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed, 8 ounces cream cheese, cold and cubed
- Turn out the dough and divide into 3 equal portions. Shape each portion into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Place the pecans in an even layer in a medium skillet over medium low heat.¾ cups pecans, finely chopped
- Cook the pecans stirring frequently until they are golden brown and aromatic, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the pecans from the heat. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the apple butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.1 cup apple butter, ½ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough disks into a 10" circle.
- Spread ⅓ of the apple butter of the surface of the dough with an offset spatula.
- Sprinkle ¼ cup of the pecans over the apple butter mixture. Lightly press the nuts into the apple butter mixture so they don't fall out when shaping.
- Cut the dough into 12 equal wedges using a pizza cutter.
- Starting at the wider end of each wedge, roll the cookies into a log shape, tucking the end under the bottom of each cookie.
- Place the cookies 2" apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of water.1 large egg
- Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash. Sprinkle the cookies with demerara sugar.¼ cup demerara, turbinado or raw sugar, for sprinkling
- Repeat steps 9-16 for the remaining two dough disks. Chill the cookies in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
- Cool completely on the pans. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days