These flaky, light-as-air Chocolate Mint Rugelach cookies are little bites of sweet, minty heaven. They are crispy and chewy all at once, and because of their cream cheese dough they simply melt in your mouth.
What is Rugelach?
Rugelach (pronounced roo·guh·laak) is a triangle of cream cheese pastry dough rolled around a filling of nuts, jam, or chocolate. In this case, I’ve made a chocolate peppermint filled cookie. These baked cookies originated in the Jewish communities of Poland.
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I’m very excited to be participating in this cookie exchange winter 2021 edition of Freaky Friday, an old-fashioned blog hop, with this wonderful recipe for Chocolate Peppermint Rugelach from Take Two Tapas, and this recipe is perfect for any cookie exchange, holiday party, or just for sharing with your family.
This cookie exchange is always so much fun, and it’s hosted by the talented and lovely Michaela at An Affair from the Heart. I’ve known Michaela for many years, and am always so happy to participate in her events. Please do stop by her blog and check out her tasty food.
Be sure to scroll down to see all the blogs participating, and all the delicious cookies they made!
Take Two Tapas
I love Take Two Tapas. Her blog is always a fun place to discover bite sized treats, nibbles, game day grub, and great sweets.
For this cookie exchange edition, I got to look through all of her cookies. And she has tons of great cookie exchange recipes including OREO Cookie Ornament Balls, Butter Pecan Fudge, and Chocolate Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars.
Make sure you hop over and give her recipes a try! She has wonderful game day grub, especially if you’re watching any football games! You will love all of her stuff! I promise!
What holiday do you eat rugelach?
Because of the cream cheese in the dough, these cookies are a dairy food, and dairy is more traditionally eaten for Hanukkah, the festival of lights, and for Shavuot, a harvest festival celebrated seven weeks after Passover. But these cookies are so good that I’d eat them anytime of year! And with their chocolate peppermint filling they are a festive treat for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Pro tips on how to make great rugelach
These cookies are fairly simple to make, if not a bit time consuming, if you follow along with a few pointers. Be sure to scroll down for the printable recipe card with amounts and detailed instructions.
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Make the dough
For this recipe, it’s best to make the dough in advance at least two hours but up to a few days.
Mix the egg yolk and the vanilla together in a small dish, and set aside.
The dough for these Chocolate Mint Rugelach is like a pie dough or puff pastry, and should be handled accordingly. You want to keep the butter and the cream cheese as cold as possible. So, pulse the dough in the food processor just until it comes together. You want a dough that looks like little balls of sand.
Because this is a cream cheese-based dough there is chilling time involved. They say “good things come to those that wait”, and this is one of those things that’s definitely worth waiting for.
The dough gets pressed into 4 disks on a surface that’s lightly coated with powdered sugar, and refrigerated to keep it nice and cold. You can make all four disks into cookies at the same time, or you can make a couple into cookies now and save a couple disks for another day. Each disk will take 2 tablespoons of Nutella, a few drops of peppermint extract, and 1 tablespoon of fresh mint leaves.
Roll out the dough
Once you’re ready to make the cookies, take one disk out of the fridge at a time so that the others stay cold. I love these dough mats for working on cookies and breads.
Roll one disk out on a surface lightly coated in powdered sugar to a circle about 1/8-inch thickness, and about a 9 to 10-inch round.
Don’t worry if the edges of the round aren’t perfectly smooth and circular. When you cut the dough into wedges and roll it, all the edges are hidden anyway.
Use powdered sugar to roll out the dough instead of a floured surface. The powdered sugar will help the dough not stick, and it creates a crystalline coating that sparkles and adds a thin crisp crunch to the cookies once they’re baked.
Fill the cookies
I find it helps to soften the Nutella before spreading it by placing it in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Then mix in the peppermint extract, and it’s a great spreadable consistency. Use an offset spatula or just the back of a spoon to spread the Nutella.
Fresh mint should be chopped right before using it in the filling. I used fresh peppermint from the farm.
This recipe makes 64 small bite sized cookies. And, yes, it is possible to cut the dough rounds into 16 wedges so that you have tiny rugelach.
Cutting the circle into 16 wedges may seem like a difficult task at first, but the dough is pretty easy to work with, especially if you have a bench scraper. Cut the circle in half, then in half the other way, making 4 wedges. Then cut each wedge in half, making 8 wedges. And each of those wedges gets cut in half again, making 16 wedges. These 16 wedges make for nice small bite sized cookies, and I love the size they bake up to!
Starting from the wide side, roll up each wedge, like a crescent roll, pinching the end shut. Place the rolled up cookie on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake them up!
Those small balls of butter and cream cheese will expand during cooking and make the Rugelach dough nice and flaky.
Some of the butter may also melt out of the cookies as they bake. Not to worry, this is expected. A rimmed cookie sheet will make sure none of the butter flows off into the oven.
You can also garnish the baked cookies with crushed peppermint or candy canes or a drizzle of melted chocolate.
The cookies will soften as the sit on the counter in an airtight container overnight, and they’ll be less crispy, but they’re still delicious!
Once you try these chocolate rugelach, you’ll go straight to cookie heaven. They really are love at first bite.
Can these be made ahead?
Yes, you can make the dough and store in the freezer until you’re ready to make them.
The baked cookies also freeze really well, and retain most of their crispiness. Let them cool completely, then pop them in a tightly covered container or a zip top bag. When you’re ready to eat the cookies, let them defrost on the counter.
2021 Freaky Friday Holiday Cookie Exchange Recipes
All of these cookies sound so wonderful! Be sure to check them all out!
- An Affair from the Heart – Candy Cane Puppy Chow
- The Carefree Kitchen – Christmas Linzer Cookies
- Devour Dinner – Peppermint Meltaways
- Family Around the Table – Chocolate Overload Cookies
- The Foodie Affair – Easy Pecan Pie Crust Cookie Recipe
- Fresh April Flours – Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- The Fresh Cooky – White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
- Hostess at Heart – Crumbl Cookie Recipe
- House of Nash Eats – Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog – Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
- Lemoine Family Kitchen – Lemon Thumbprint Cookies with Strawberry Jam
- Lemon Blossoms – Cranberry Orange Biscotti
- Life Currents – Chocolate Mint Rugelach
- Life, Love & Good Food – White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
- Soulfully Made – Polar Bear Paw Cookies
- The Speckled Palate – Saltine Cracker Toffee
- Sue Bee Homemaker – Jam Thumbprint Cookies
- Take Two Tapas – Sugar Cookie Truffles
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Chocolate Mint Rugelach Recipe
Chocolate Mint Rugelach
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 egg yolk beaten
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese cold, cut into cubes
- 1 cup unsalted butter cold, cut into cubes
- Powdered sugar for dusting and rolling the dough
Make the dough:
- Mix the egg yolk and the vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.
- Combine the flour and salt in a food processor, and pulse a few times to mix.
- Add in the cold cubed butter and cream cheese, and pulse about 10-12 times until the dough looks like small pea gravel.
- Drizzle the egg yolk and vanilla mixture into the dough, and pulse 2 or 3 more times to combine.
- Place the dough on a counter that’s been lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Press the dough into four equal disks being careful not to let the dough get too warm.
- Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- You can store the dough in the fridge for a few days before using, or in the freezer for a month.
Make the cookies:
- When you’re ready to make the cookies, Preheat the oven to 375° F. Roll one disk out on a surface lightly coated in powdered sugar to a circle about 1/8-inch thickness, and about a 9 to 10-inch round.
- Soften the Nutella before spreading it by placing it in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for about 20 seconds. Mix in the peppermint extract. Spread the mint Nutella mixture and chopped mint over the surface, much like a pizza. Cut the circle into 16 wedges.
- Starting from the wide side, roll up each wedge, like a crescent roll, pinching the end shut. Place the rolled up cookie on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 375° F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove the cookies to a wire rack.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.