Apple Butter Rugelach
These Apple Butter Rugelach will be gone before you know it – you can’t eat just one! Butter and cream cheese make the rugelach dough super tender and flaky.
Pretty much every year since I made them for the first time, I make rugelach during November or December and then I spend a bunch of time wondering why I don’t make these delicious cookies all the darn time.
The true answer? Because I know if I did that, I would eat ALL of them way too quickly. That’s the biggest problem with these cookies: they’re addictive, and way too easy to eat. The dough is rich and flavorful, and different than most cookie doughs. It has cream cheese in addition to butter which helps make the resulting dough super tender and flavorful, with a bit of tanginess from the cream cheese. I used Challenge brand for both butter and cream cheese – there aren’t many ingredients in the dough so it’s important to use high quality products you love!
The rugelach dough isn’t very sweet and only uses 3 tablespoons of sugar total. But, this totally is not a problem because the apple butter has more than enough sweetness for the whole cookie. In fact, most fillings for rugelach – chocolate chips, Nutella, or jam of any sort – all have enough sugar to sweeten these cookies just enough.
I also used a bit of cinnamon in the dough. I love the flavor of cinnamon and always add an extra shake, but if you want to cut back on the cinnamon or eliminate it entirely, feel free to do so. Other spices, like nutmeg, would also be delicious.
I’ve made both a chocolate chip and Nutella raspberry version of rugelach, but I think this version with apple butter and pecans might be my favorite. I love apple desserts and these are no exception. I don’t use apple butter often, but I love the bold apple flavor and smooth texture of it, especially in these rugelach. I added pecans because I love a bit of crunch, but skip ’em if you’re a no-nuts-in-your-dessert person.
I have something important to mention in this post! I’m partnering with Challenge Dairy and UNICEF for a seriously awesome campaign that goes through the end of December. It’s called Pin A Recipe, Feed A Child and get this – in order to raise awareness for childhood hunger, Challenge will donate a meal to UNICEF for a child in need for every recipe pinned from their dedicated campaign Pinterest board.
I think that means you should definitely head on over to Pin A Recipe, Feed A Child board to get pinning and feed some children while you’re doing it! You’ll also be finding some delicious new recipes to try :) double win! I’m proud to work with brands with campaigns that are dedicated to making a difference, and I hope you’ll join me in sharing in the love this holiday season.
Make some cookies, pin a recipe or a bunch, and have a happy week! :)
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Apple Butter Rugelach
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Total Time: 62 minutes
- Yield: 48 cookies 1x
- Category: Dessert
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (slightly softened, cut into small pieces)
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (slightly softened, cut into small pieces)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup apple butter
- ¼ cup pecans (finely chopped)
- Milk (to brush on top of cookies)
- Cinnamon sugar (for sprinkling)
- In a the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add in the butter and cream cheese and mix on low speed. The dough will get crumbly and then start to come together. Mix until the dough is just combined. Alternately, this can be done in a bowl with a pastry cutter.
- Shape the mixture into a large rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
- When ready to prepare the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cut dough into 4 equally-sized pieces. On a floured surface (or in between sheets of parchment paper) roll out one piece of dough at a time into a 12-inch by 4-inch rectangle. Spread apple butter evenly over the dough, leaving 1/2” around the edges. Sprinkle evenly with pecans.
- Working from the long end, gently roll the dough into a 12-inch long log, making sure seam is at the bottom. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to rechill the dough (this will also help you make cleaner cuts. You can also wrap the dough plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months at this point).
- Remove from the freezer. Brush the dough log with milk, and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar. Cut each log into 12 equal pieces, about 1” each. Place upright on lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers, they also freeze really well.
This post was sponsored by Challenge Dairy, Inc. As always, all opinions are completely my own. I love Challenge products! :) Thank you so much for supporting the brands that support Bakerita.
Rachel, these look and sound so heavenly! Beautiful job girl!
Thanks so much, Roxana!
Wow! Amazing combo. I love how you rolled the Rugelach too. I always have trouble with the triangle shape. I am definitely trying these.
I hate rolling them that way, Faye! Haha. This way is definitely way simpler :) Thanks for the sweet words!
This is a cookie I have yet to try to bake, but it sounds so good! Heading over to pinterest to help this feed a child campaign, that is so cool that you are a part of that Rachel.
These look so scrumptious! Love it :)
I’ve never heard of rugelach before but it looks scrumptious! I must try, especially with that gorgeous apple butter.
Mmmmm these look so yummy! Such a great classic holiday cookie! But I love the twist with apple butter. :D
You totally nailed these cookies! They are beautiful. I tried to make rugelach over the holiday weekend, and my food processor broke halfway through. Cutting a pound of butter and cream cheese into flour with a also broken pastry cutter is a nightmare to put it lightly.
Oh my goodness, nooo! That sounds horrible, Nicole! I remember the first time I made rugelach it was a DISASTER and I ended up with sticky dough everywhere. I definitely prefer the stand mixer version! It’s so much easier. You need to give it another shot! :)
Rugelach are one of my mom’s guilty pleasures- this apple butter version looks amazing :)
I’m the same way – I love rugelach but only make them during Christmas! This apple butter flavor sounds delicious!
Your rugelach looks to die for!And I love love love the idea of putting apple butter and pecans in them. Its autumn, and holidays and spice rolled into one delicious cookie!
I just love rugelach! I’ve only made them once or twice awhile ago, but I remember they were crowd pleasers. This apple butter variety looks incredible – so perfect, especially with the pecans!
My grandmother used to make rugelach all the time, and so seeing it makes me think of her. Yours looks perfect. And I love the cause you’re supporting! Remembering to feed hungry people this time of year is so important.
Apple butter is SO GOOD on almost anything! I’ve never had rugelach but I love this recipe!
Thanks so much, Laura! Apple butter works so well in these :) rugelach will be a new fave!
These look so incredible! Apple butter isn’t the easiest to find around here, but I’m going to try to hunt some down!
What a beautiful cookie!
I think you’re definitely right, it would be hard to stop at just one of these. Love that you used apple butter, it reminds me that I need to make some soon!
Such a great cause! And what a fun idea — these are gorgeous Rachel!
Oh my goodness! These look amazing!! What a beautiful recipe! I love these! So fun that they’re a Christmas tradition! :)
These look absolutely stunning, Rachel! I can’t resist anything with apple butter!
Oh this sounds delicious, Rachel! I’ve never had rugelach before, but now I need to try this. Love the apple butter in here!
What a great campaign….and a tasty looking cookie! it’s nice to know my Pinterest addiction can be used for good!
I made these exactly as directed (and a double batch to boot!) I even made my own apple butter to spread. OH…they are SO good there may not be many left to give to neighbors
Five stars…and I’ll do this again
I’m so glad you liked them Lou! I made them again this weekend too, but mine didn’t have homemade apple butter – that sounds outstanding! Thanks for commenting. Happy holidays!
I baked these for the first time last night. Oh my! They are scrumptuous! My 14-year-old son was hesitant to try one, but as soon as he did, without hesitation he said “these are really good”.
I am drafting a holiday newsletter for the law firm I work for and I would very much like to share your recipe on our newsletter. I will, of course, give credit to you and provide a link back to your site. Do I have your permission to do so? If yes, do you have a specific format for your credit line that you would like me to use? I can also send you an advance copy for your approval prior to sending if you like.
Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe.
Looking forward to trying this one with the fruit, nut, and spices of prepared mincemeat filling since the dough would balance the sweetness.
I was looking for a recipe to pair my homemade apple butter and this was great thank you for sharing….
So glad you enjoyed it, Judy!
I just made your recipe again and spread the dough with Nutella. OMG!
If freezing for long term (several weeks or months) as indicated in Step #5, do I need to thaw before cutting and baking? Or do I just remove from freezer, cut, and bake immediately (and if so, do I need a longer bake time)? Thanks
Hi KB, I would thaw enough to get a clean cut (they may be pretty firm coming straight from the freezer and you don’t want them to crumble), but don’t let them get too soft. If they’re still super cold, I’d add a minute or two onto the bake time.