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cranberry orange rugelach

Cranberry Orange Rugelach

A rugelach combining an orange-scented dough with dried cranberries, dark chocolate, toasted walnuts, and homemade cranberry jam - it's a burst of Thanksgiving and Hannukah goodness in every bite.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Jewish Holiday Baking
Servings 48 servings
Calories 104 kcal



  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (8 ounces, at room temperature)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (about 1 ½ medium oranges)
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour


  • 6 ounces dark chocolate (medium fine chop)
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts (about 4 ounces, medium fine chop)
  • cup dried cranberries (about 1 ½ ounces, chopped to about the size of currants)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ cup cranberry orange jam
  • 2 tablespoons orange or citrus marmalade (my marmalade was quite spreadable – if yours is a bit thick – you can heat it for 10 seconds at a time in the microwave with a bit of water to loosen it up if necessary)


Make the dough:

  • Zest your orange(s) to accumulate 1 tablespoon of zest (if preparing the filling immediately following the dough, zest an extra ½ teaspoon for the filling) – I use a microplane to do this – you want to be sure to get only zest, no white pith. Put the 2 tablespoons of sugar into a small bowl, add in the zest, and combine with your hands until the sugar is fragrant with the zest. (I learned this technique from Dorie Greenspan – it is a great way to infuse citrus and herb flavors into baked goods.)
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium high speed until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in the sour cream and 2 tablespoons of orange-zested sugar until well combined, about 1 minute. Add flour and use mixer on low speed to carefully mix in OR stir in the flour by hand until well blended. In both cases, be careful not to over-mix or knead. Just combine until the flour is mixed in and the dough can be pulled together into a ball. Form it into a ball, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Make the filling:

  • In a medium bowl, combine the chopped chocolate, toasted and chopped walnuts, chopped cranberries, 4 tablespoons of sugar, and orange zest. Set aside at room temperature. (can prepare ahead of time by a few hours or even a day)

Roll the rugelach:

  • The key to rugelach making is to get organized. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put your jam(s) into small bowls each with a pastry brush for spreading. Have your flour available for dough preparation. Pizza cutter at the ready. ½ cup measure ready for filling. Cookie sheets lined with silicone mat or parchment nearby. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions; refrigerate all but 1.
  • On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a ball and flatten it out. Roll the dough into a circle about 10 inches in diameter and ⅛ inch thick.
  • Brush 2 tablespoons of the cranberry jam over the dough. Sprinkle a generous ½ cup of the filling mixture evenly over the dough and press down gently. Cut the dough into 12 triangles using a pizza or dough cutter. Gently but firmly roll each triangle up starting at the wide end. Place the rugelach, with the pointed side underneath, on a large cookie sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Roll up the remaining triangles in the same manner and arrange them on the sheet, about ½ inch apart.
  • Brush each rugelach with a dab of the orange or citrus marmalade, then refrigerate the pan for 15 – 30 minutes before baking. This step seems to help then hold their form when baking.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough, preserves and filling mixture; the rugelach will fit on 2 - 3 cookie sheets, depending on how large your sheets are. Do not overcrowd them.

Bake the rugelach:

  • Bake up to two sheets at a time, switching the sheets after 20 minutes, for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and filling starts to ooze a bit. I found if I baked one sheet at a time, it took just under 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Once out of the oven, transfer the rugelach to a rack to cool. Store in a closed container for several days or the rugelach can be frozen, well wrapped, for 2-4 weeks; let return to room temperature before serving.


Use my homemade Cranberry Orange Jam for filling.


Calories: 104kcalCarbohydrates: 7gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 12mgPotassium: 46mgSugar: 5gVitamin A: 165IUVitamin C: 0.6mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 0.5mg
Keyword cranberry, cranberry orange jam, rugelach
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