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Pumpkin Spice Rugelach

Hi Everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Rosh Hashanah, a meaningful Yom Kippur, and an easy fast. And next in the annual fall marathon of Jewish holidays, I hope you have a great Sukkot. In honor of this holiday, filled with stuffed foods and fall vegetables, I’ve put together a recipe for pumpkin spice rugelach.

I make rugelach for most family events and have developed a standard chocolate rugelach recipe.  A delicious dairy rugelach recipe is extremely simple and indulgent, and until now I haven’t messed with a winning formula.

Pumpkin Spice Rugelach, Ingredients, 2016.
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Pumpkin Spice Rugelach, ingredients, 2016.

However, as always in the first month after Rosh Hashanah, I want to push myself to try new things and so far a lot of my new year energy has been channeled into baking. Obviously, pumpkin works well with fall themes, but it also works with the traditional Sukkot foods of squashes and gourds. Rugelach works all the time. During Sukkot, people traditionally make stuffed foods, and rugelach counts as a stuffed food, right?

Without further ado, I present Pumpkin Spice Rugelach: a fun, Sukkot-relevant twist on a classic.

Ingredients:

6 ounces butter
6 ounces cream cheese
2-3 ounces pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
1 cup pecans and/or chocolate chips (I used both)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
Dash of cloves
Dash of allspice
Extra sugar and cinnamon for rolling out

Directions

Dough:

Take your cream cheese and butter out of your fridge to soften at room temperature at least 45 minutes before you mean to bake.

Disk of Pumpkin Spice Rugelach Dough, 2016.
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Disk of Pumpkin Spice Rugelach Dough

Once you’re ready to bake, take out the flour and pumpkin puree. Cut cream cheese and butter into rough chunks (several inches each). In your mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter with the pumpkin puree and flour. If you are using an electric mixer, the flour will definitely explode everywhere. When I remember to, I use an apron or paper towel to wrap around the top of the bowl to save my counter and the floor area.

After the dough is fully mixed (there will be some visible chunks of butter and cream cheese, which is fine! It does not affect how much the dough puffs up), stop mixing. Divide dough into three equal portions and wrap each in cling film before flattening into a disk. Put the disks in the refrigerator for a minimum of three hours, ideally overnight. The more chilled the dough is, the easier it will be to work with.

Filling:

Put your pecans in a chopper, or chop them by hand. Same goes for the chocolate chips.

Pecans, about to be chopped, 2016.
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Pecans, about to be chopped.

Once you have your chopped nuts and chocolate, combine them in a mid-sized mixing bowl. Add your cup of sugar. In a separate, smaller, bowl, mix all of the spices together to create your pumpkin spice seasoning. (You can also use a store bought pumpkin spice, no judgement!).  Once all of the spices are combined, add them to your pecan-chocolate-sugar mixture. 

Now, combine the extra cinnamon and sugar in a small separate bowl. You are going to want a lot of it easily on hand!

Sugar Cinnamon Mixture, 2016.
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Lisa's Sugar Cinnamon Mixture

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 350° degrees and get the baking sheets ready with parchment paper.

This next step is the most labor intensive part of rugelach making.  But don’t stress, once you get the hang of it, you can create your rugelach quickly and easily.

Sliced Circle of Dough, 2016
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Sliced (but not separated!) circle of dough

If you like to watch TV while you bake, stream something that doesn’t require a lot of keyboard touching since your hands will be a mess the entire time. I watched Luke Cage while assembling these, but was so focused on my baking, I forgot to follow any of the plotlines.

Take one of your dough disks out of the fridge, leaving the others to chill until you’re ready to use them. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over your rolling surface and rolling pin. You will continuously have to reapply the mixture, which is fine, but make sure you have enough sugar-cinnamon on hand.

Roll your dough out into a thin circle. It does not have to be perfectly circular around the edges, but if you would like it to be exact, I recommend using a pizza cutter or a knife to make a circle.

Using the pizza slicer or knife again, cut the circle into 16 even wedges by continuously cutting in half. Do not separate the pieces.

Composite: Filling and Mid Roll, 2016
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Spread the filling and roll away!

Once the dough is cut, pour the filling into the center of the circle, and spread the pecan and chocolate chunks evenly towards the outer edges of the circle. Start at the outside of each wedge and roll inward. You will begin to see the rugelach take shape. Transfer to parchment paper.

Repeat for each rugelach, making 4 rows of 4 on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-16 minutes. The bottoms of each should be browned, and the dough should puff up. Each rugelach will likely have some melted filling and butter surrounding it, which is normal. I brush this excess off after the rugelach has been allowed to cool on a cooling rack.

Final Pumpkin Spice Rugelach with Dog
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A beautiful plate of pumpkin spice rugelach, being faithfully watched over by Lisa's dog!

Repeat for the other two disks.

The smell of these baking is unbelievable, by the way. Everyone in my house came to the kitchen to comment on it, even though moments before I had a house full of doubters about the legitimacy of pumpkin spice rugelach.

These will make a great dessert for your sukkah dinners, or really any time. They taste best and have the best texture on the day they are baked, but should last a few days wrapped airtight in foil.

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Pumpkin Spice Rugelach, Plated
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Lisa Yelsey's Pumpkin Spice Rugelach, 2016.
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How to cite this page

Yelsey , Lisa . "Pumpkin Spice Rugelach." 14 October 2016. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 15, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog/eating-jewish-pumpkin-spice-rugelach>.

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