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! :)
Remember to #bakerita if you try the recipe!
Apple Butter Rugelach
- 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.