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Rugellach: Sweet Treats for the New Year

Rugellach: Sweet Treats for the New Year

I grew up knowing the fragrant aromas of freshly baked cakes, nutty cookies,  jam filled pastries and  whole grain bread.  My grandfather was a baker by trade. He came to NYC from Poland, in his late teens.

In a tiny village in Poland, his step father contracted a master baker to house him and train him in all aspects of baking. After two years of horribly long hours and searingly hot servitude, he ran away but was tracked  down and forced to return to finish out the terms of his apprenticeship contract.  On his second attempt, he succeeded in making his way to a ship bound for Ellis Island.

He  found some mishpuha  (relatives) on the Lower East Side and sent for his beautiful and oh so sweet step sister, whom he then married in NYC. He made a living as a baker for the rest of his life.  My  grandmother, his step sister (yes, you guessed correctly), was a superior home baker of all things parave  (non-dairy).

I remember them visiting our home every Sunday, toting both glossy, cardboard bakery boxes secured with twine and a second parcel of  home baked, parave treats to enjoy after our meat meals.  Calories be damned. We never gave it a thought and everyone lived long, healthy lives.

As committed as I am in my search for the freshest, veggie based creations, periodically, I turn back to traditional foods from my grandparents’ era.  In moderation, and  sometimes with modification, these treats are just too good to pass up.

So, as we approach the auspicious eve of Yom Kippur, the day of reflection, prayer and repentance, I am planning a more traditional meal.  At the end of this long day of fasting, we will feast on dairy.   Cheese laden sweet noodle kugels (puddings), doughy NY bagels with  wacky cream cheese flavors, platters of smoked fish and lot of baked goods will all be part of the buffet.

These rugellach would be the perfect sweet on the buffet table. The recipe came to me via a golfing gal pal who connected me with a new friend .  They are both enthusiastic and excellent bakers.

Don’t you love the connections you make through your passion for food?Consider baking these and sharing them with your family and friends at a dairy brunch or  for break fast after Yom Kippur this weekend.

They are melt in your mouth delicious and will prompt your memories of family and holidays spent together.   Feel free to substitute any flavor fruit preserve and any combination of fillings such as marzipan, poppy seed, or chocolate.


  1. What a great site! I am neither kosher nor vegetarian, and prefer to eat at home than at restaurants. But I love the writing I find here, the great photos, and the interesting tidbits I never knew before. Keep it up, and I’ll be spreading the word. Congrats, Liz – and yum!

  2. Liz – my Hungarian mother used to make these when the first cold snap hit and around the holidays. Thanks for the memories. Think I’ll bake some up this weekend for the grandkids.

  3. Liz,

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog and these look delish and almost doable. I’ll give it a shot. I really like that is a dairy recipe because something else that is important to me is healthy eating and I don’t eat margarine. While I don’t keep kosher, I am vege so this is the perfect recipe. Thanks!

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