Rugelach are tender, flaky crescent-shaped cookies made with buttery cream cheese pastry, and filled with cinnamon sugar, nuts, and raisins or jam. Fig fanciers will adore this twist on tradition—filled with sweet dried California Mission figs, dark chocolate, and fragrant fresh orange zest.
California Fig and Walnut Rugelach
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar plus extra for sprinkling
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 ounces unsalted butter cold
- 8 ounces cream cheese cold
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 orange medium/large
- 16 Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs whole
- 3/4 cups walnuts finely chopped
- 2/3 cups Guitard Semisweet or 63% Cacao Extra Dark Baking Chips
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to mix. Cut the butter in ¾-inch cubes and scatter over the flour mixture. Pulse until butter pieces range in size from very coarse breadcrumbs to hazelnuts. Cut the cream cheese into 1-inch cubes and scatter in the bowl. Pulse until the mixture looks damp and crumbly—not smooth or cohesive— and only sticks together when pinched with your fingers. Dump the mixture onto a large piece of parchment or plastic wrap. Press the mixture together firmly into a large mound. Don’t worry about any bits of unblended butter or cream cheese.
- Cut the mound into 4 equal wedges. Press each wedge into a flat round patty about 4 inches in diameter. Wrap each patty and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days). Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Organize the filling: Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Use a rasp grater to grate the zest of the orange directly into the bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Use an oiled knife to stem and chop figs into raisin size pieces. Use your fingers to toss the figs and walnuts together in another bowl, separating any pieces stuck together.
- Remove one dough patty from the refrigerator. Wait a few minutes until just pliable enough to roll, but not too soft. Dust a sheet of wax or parchment paper very lightly with flour and place the dough in the center. Dust lightly with flour and cover with a second sheet of paper. Roll the dough between the sheets into an 11-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick.
- Peel the top sheet of paper from the dough and place it clean side up on the counter. Flip the dough over onto the paper and peel off the second sheet. Sprinkle the dough with one quarter (1 ½ teaspoons) of the sugar mixture. Sprinkle with one quarter of the fig mixture, followed by one quarter of the chocolate. Roll over the filling with a rolling pin (or use your fingers) to press it gently into the dough. Cut the dough like a pie, into 4 equal wedges. Cut each wedge into 3 equal wedges. Use your fingers to roll the wide outside edge of one wedge up around the filling toward the point. Place the roll, with the dough point underneath to prevent it from unrolling, on the lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining wedges, placing cookies 1½ inches apart. If at any time the dough becomes too soft to handle, slide it onto a baking sheet and return it to the refrigerator to firm up. Roll out, fill, cut, and shape the remaining pieces of dough. Sprinkle each cookie with a small pinch of sugar. Bake two sheets at a time until cookies are golden brown at the edges and underneath, 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Set the baking sheets on racks to cool. Cool the rugelach completely before storing or stacking. Rugelach are always most exquisite on the day they are baked but they remain delicious, stored airtight, for about 5 days.