Red Wine and Prune Rugelach

published Nov 27, 2022
Red Wine and Prune Rugelach Recipe

Brown butter rugelach filled with jammy red wine soaked prunes and toasty hazelnuts, these cookies are the best of tradition and nostalgia combined.

Makes32 rugelach

Prep30 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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red wine prune cookies on slate surface
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling; Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Sarah Smart

This recipe is a part of Secret Family Cookies — a dozen recipes from our favorite bakers, inspired by the people who make them feel at home. Get all the amazing cookies here.

When I think about a cookie that signifies family, there really isn’t a singular recipe that comes to mind — nor is there a precious, butter-stained index card passed down from generations gone by. Rather, it’s a combination of aromas, flavors, comforting traditions, and nostalgic ingredients that transport my senses and taste buds to a true time and place, giving me that familiar feeling of belonging.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling; Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Sarah Smart

Buttery, unctuously creamy rugelach filled with jammy red wine-soaked prunes and toasty hazelnuts put me right there. These cookies are ubiquitous in Ashkenazi Jewish tradition and all of these ingredients evoke belonging for me, which is really what family boils down to.

The brown butter isn’t customary, but it’s my little signature twist for this dough, and in my mind it ties it all together — a little bit of tradition, a little bit of nostalgia, and a little bit of me. I make these year-round for all the people I love, relatives or not, and I hope you will too. 

Red Wine and Prune Rugelach Recipe

Brown butter rugelach filled with jammy red wine soaked prunes and toasty hazelnuts, these cookies are the best of tradition and nostalgia combined.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Makes 32 rugelach

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 sticks

    (8 ounces) unsalted butter, divided

  • 8 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces

    pitted prunes (about 30)

  • 1 cup

    dry red wine

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 2/3 cup

    toasted hazelnuts

To finish:

  • 1

    large egg

  • Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Instructions

Start the dough:

  1. Place 1 stick of the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Cut 8 ounces cream cheese into 16 pieces and place on the counter. Let both sit at room temperature until softened. Meanwhile, brown the remaining butter.

  2. Melt the remaining 1 stick unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and continue to cook, whisking frequently, until the liquid butter is a rich honey color and the solids at the bottom are dark golden brown, about 6 minutes.

  3. Scrape into a heatproof bowl. Refrigerate until opaque and a spreadable consistency, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, make the prune filling.

Make the prune filling:

  1. Place 8 ounces pitted prunes, 1 cup dry red wine, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the wine reduces but still covers the prunes about 3/4 of the way up, about 5 minutes.

  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until smooth and spreadable, scraping down the sides of the processor once or twice, about 1 minute total. If there isn’t enough liquid to process the mixture easily, add water or more dry red wine 1 tablespoon at a time.

  3. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Finely chop 2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts.

Finish the dough:

  1. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the brown butter into the bowl with the softened butter (save any remaining brown butter for another use). Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until combined and uniform in color, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese 1 piece at a time and beat until fully incorporated, about 3 minutes total, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  2. Return the mixer to medium speed. Add 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Beat, scraping down the sides as needed, until combined, about 1 minute.

  3. Reduce the mixer speed to the lowest speed. Add 2 cups all-purpose flour and beat until the flour is just incorporated and no flecks of butter remain, about 1 minute.

  4. Divide the dough into 2 portions (about 13 1/2 ounces each). Shape each portion into a disc and wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 5 days.

Assemble and bake the rugelach:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1 disc of the dough on a well-floured work surface and roll into a 12-inch round about 1/4-inch thick. If the dough cracks, let it warm up slightly at room temperature before trying again. Rolling this dough when it’s too warm is impossible, so keep it on the cooler, chilled side.

  2. Spread half of the prune filling onto the round. Sprinkle with half of the hazelnuts. Cut like a pizza into 16 triangles. Starting on the outside of the circle, roll each triangle tightly up toward the tip.

  3. Place the rugelach on the baking sheet seam-side down, they can be close together but not touching. Repeat rolling, filling, and shaping the second disc of dough. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  4. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat 1 large egg in a small bowl with a fork until broken up.

  5. Divide the rugelach between the baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart. Brush the top of each one lightly with the beaten egg, then sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.

  6. Bake for 13 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from front to back and between racks. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes more. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The prune filling can be made up to 1 week ahead and refrigerated. The dough can be made up to 5 days ahead and refrigerated. Alternatively, place the unbaked rugelach on one baking sheet and freeze until solid; transfer to a zip top bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Bake from frozen, adding 3 to 5 minutes to the bake time as needed after rotating the baking sheets.

Storage: The rugelach can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.