Hanukkah Rugelach

Welcome Back to Easy Desserts,

Last year we talked about Christmas as December’s holiday blog, so this year I thought I’d share about Hanukkah, so “Hanukkah Sameach!”

(Not being Jewish) I looked up some of the things you need to celebrate the “Festival of Lights”.
This year Hanukkah is celebrated on December 12th sunset/sundown and goes until the 20th.

Hanukkah (Must Haves) Objects:

hanukkahHanukkiah (not to be confused with a Menorah)

photo credit: Pinterest

Hanukkiah is a 9-branched candelabra, called a Hanukkiah (or often a Menorah, although technically a Menorah is a 7-branched candelabra). Eight of the branches represent the eight nights, while the last one (at a different height, usually higher than the rest) is called the Shamash or helper candle, and is used to light the rest of the candles. The Hanukkiah is usually lighted at or right after sunset.

On the first night, the Shamash is lit, a blessing is recited, and the first candle is lit. The first candle occupies the rightmost place on the Hanukkiah.

Candles are placed from right to left but lit from left to right. The candle that you light first is always the last candle that you placed on the Hanukkiah; likewise, the candle that you light last is always the first candle that you placed on the Hanukkiah.

On the second night, the Shamash plus two candles are lit and so on until the eighth night, when all nine branches contain lit candles.

Traditionally, the lighted Hanukkiah is placed near a window, so that everyone passing by can remember the miracle of Hanukkah. Some families who set the Hanukkiah near the window place the candles left to right so that they appear right to left to a passer-by.

photo credit: Twitter

Each side of the dreidel displays a letter from the Hebrew alphabet, allowing for dreidels to be used as a game. Below are some rules I found:

Each player starts with an even number of pieces (10-15 pieces of candy, pennies or whatever you choose)

At the beginning of each round, every player puts a piece in the center (“the pot”)

Every time it’s your turn you spin the dreidel once, depending on the outcome you give to or get pieces from the pot. If you get “Nun” (for “Nischt” meaning Nothing) then you do nothing. If you get “Gimmel” (for “Gantz” meaning “Everything”) then you get the entire pot. If you get “Hey” (for “Halb” meaning “Half”) then you get half the pot. If you get “Shin” (for “shtetl”) it means to add a piece to the pot.

If you have no game pieces left, then you’re out. You can ask another player for a “loan” if you wish.

When one person has the entire pot, the game is over.

hanukkah-geltHanukkah Gelt

photo credit: https://www.picquery.com

The tradition of giving money (Hanukkah gelt) to children is of long standing. The custom had its origin in the 17th-century practice of Polish Jewry to give money to their small children for distribution to their teachers. In time, as children demanded their due, money was also given to children to keep for themselves.

Parents often give children chocolate gelt to play dreidel with. In terms of actual gelt, parents and grandparents or other relatives may give sums of money as an official Hanukkah gift.

Hanukkah (Must Haves) Foods:

Hanukkah just wouldn't be the same without the traditional Latkes, Sufganiyot, and other fried foods.


photo credit: https://toriavey.com/

Latkes are pancakes made from shredded potatoes, onions, matzoh meal and salt. They’re fried in oil to crispy gold brown and served with applesauce and sour cream.


photo credit: http://www.history.com/

Sufganiyot is round jelly doughnut during Hanukkah. The doughnut is deep-fried, filled with jelly or custard, and then topped with powdered sugar.

When looking through all the wonderful Jewish desserts I tried to find something I could layer or easily make into a parfait, but I didn’t find anything…

Eventually, I came across Rugelach (singular: Rugala), so I decided to make them and serve them up in whatever cups I could find that I have SupaCute.

The recipe I found is from Molly Yeh
After we learn a little history and see a fun date about Rugelach, we’ll see how I did my take on her recipe.


photo credit: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/

History of Rugelach:

Rugelach are Jewish pastries of Ashkenazic origin. It is very popular in Israel, commonly found in most cafes and bakeries. It is also a popular Hanukkah treat. The name comes from the word like "twist" so the translation would be "little twists," a reference to the shape of this cookie.

Origins of Rugelach, the favorite Jewish pastry, date back to the Hungarian Kifli, Austrian kipfel, and Polish Rogal. The crescent-shaped filled pastry was originally made with yeast dough and filled with fruit jams, poppy seed paste or nuts. Today rugelach may be the most popular sweet pastry both in the American Jewish community and in Israel. But these are very different pastries

In America, bakers quickly came up with a shortcut for the complex yeast dough rugelach, and by the 1940’s they were already making a yeast-less rich cream cheese dough, according to Gil Marks’ Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. The 1941 cookbook “The Jewish Home Beautiful,” says Marks, includes a recipe for rugelach made with yeast dough mixed with sour cream. “Here’ is a raised dough recipe minus the bogey of countless hours of rising and endless kneading,”

Rugelach Fun Date:

National Rugelach Day is December 9th.


What You’ll Need:

1 can of crescent rolls
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/8 cup marzipan* chips (to achieve the chips, roll out and cut marzipan into small squares, about the same size as chocolate chips)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
pinch or two of salt

*if you can’t find marzipan almond paste will work.

Rugelach Assembly:

One of those rare times I get to mention turning on an oven, so preheat your oven to 375. Next line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Open the can of crescent rolls and unroll the dough.

Brush or spoon the marmalade unto the dough. Make sure you spread it out evenly.


Sprinkle the chocolate chips and marzipan chips on top of the marmalade covered dough.


Roll up the dough carefully and tightly then place them on cookie sheet. Feel free to shape them as needed.


Make the egg wash by combining the egg yolk, honey, and water. Brush this onto the tops of the rugelach, and then sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 20 minutes, or till the tops become golden brown.


Once cooled, place inside your cups and serve. For my family, I plated them and served them milk (or wine) with Joli cups.


Normally, I’d tell you the desserts will last about a week or until the dairy expires, but upon some research, I learned that; Rugelach will stay fresh for 28 days in an unheated area. You may also put them in the refrigerator where they will last 7-14 days longer. Freeze them, well wrapped, and they will last up to 6 months.


For any questions about this recipe please contact me at:

Please “like” me on Facebook:

And for a full list of my desserts you can visit my website:


Also “thank you” to Molly Yeh for allowing me to share the flavors of her Rugelach recipe with you all.


Until next time …

Dessert Girlie

December 09, 2017 by Monique Moussan
Older Post / Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.