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Recipe Highlight: Rugelach at the Jewish Community Center

Tray filled to the brim with ruggelach

The Levin Jewish Community Center in Durham is located only a few miles away from The Forest, giving our residents easy access to all of their amenities and events. A few weeks ago, we were particularly excited to receive an invitation to join in and participate alongside our partners as sponsors of their Jewish Food Festival. Proceeds from the event went to support the Jewish Federation’s initiatives to combat food insecurity, including stocking the Jewish Family Services’ food pantry.

Additionally, we were invited to host a cooking demonstration where we could create a special dish for the event to share. So as the air swirled with the enticing scent of braided sweet bread and loaves of chocolate babka, one of our talented chefs, Lionel, pulled out his showstopper: homemade rugelach.


young chef in white chef's coat


It is an understatement to say that event attendees enjoyed our rugelach. We handed out over 1,000 crescent-shaped flaky pastries rolled with cinnamon, sugar, and dried fruit, with many coming back for a second or third taste. Chef Lionel’s demonstration was well attended, and nearly everyone walked away with a recipe in hand and a delicious taste in their mouth.

Want to give the recipe a try at home? The one below is the exact recipe Chef Lionel used at the event—the product of which was devoured by festival goers. Enjoy!

The Forest at Duke Rugelach


  • 4 ounces cold cream cheese (cut into 4 pieces)
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter (cut into 4 pieces)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup jam (raspberry, apricot, or marmalade)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup plump, moist, dried currants
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. cold water
  • 2 tbsp. sugar for topping


  1. In a large bowl, add flour and salt.
  2. Slowly cut in 4 pieces of butter until crumbly.
  3. Then cut in cream cheese.
  4. Mix to form dough.
  5. Roll into two balls and wrap in plastic; refrigerate for two hours.
  6. Create filling mixture: Mix 2 tbsp. sugar, chopped nuts, currants, and chocolate in bowl.
  7. When dough is ready, roll each ball into a 10″ circle.
  8. Spread jam (about 2 tsp.) over dough and sprinkle filling mixture to cover.
  9. Cut circle into 12 wedges (cut into 4ths and then 3rds).
  10. Roll each wedge starting from the wide outside edge to the narrow point.
  11. Place on a cookie sheet.
  12. Beat egg and brush top of each.
  13. Mix sugar and water and brush top of each.
  14. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for ~20-25 minutes, or until the rugelach are lightly browned and crusty.
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