Pumpkin and Walnut Rugelach Cookies are a delight, and are perfect to serve at any celebration. Delicate and rich, you’ll enjoy these traditional treats with a bit of a twist when it comes to the filling.
Traditional Italian cookies, I know. Disclaimer: I’m not an expert. That designation goes to my family of Italian grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, mom, and dad. When it comes to traditional Jewish cookies, I only know what tastes good!
When I was growing up, I delighted in the extra-special Italian cookies made for all the big (and not-so-big) celebrations. All the fancy, intricate, and delicious cookies appeared at weddings, graduations, baptisms, and baby showers.
The process of making those cookies was an event itself. Women in the family would gather to make huge batches of goodies, and they had the process down like an assembly line.
You’ll find these Pumpkin and Walnut Rugelach Cookies fit the bill when it comes to “special occasion” cookies.
I’m sure there are more family recipes for rugelach than you can count, but I came across one I was eager to make. It’s from the beautiful cookbook, The Community Table: Recipes & Stories from the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan and Beyond.
This book is filled with modern and classic Jewish recipes with international flair. The recipes were gathered from members of the JCC Manhattan and are diverse and flavorful. I can’t wait to work my way through this book!
I slightly adapted Pumpkin and Walnut Rugelach Cookies from the book’s recipe. The recipe I followed from the book gave me way too much filling, so I tried again with different portions and adding the walnut-sugar mixture.
I even went a little rogue when it came to cutting and shaping the cookies. The dough for these cookies is delicious, but it’s very soft and very sticky, and requires refrigeration before working with it. The recipe called for cutting the 9-inch disks into 16 wedges.
For my first batch, I followed the directions, but found the dough to be really hard to shape. Maybe it takes practice but I finally decided to slice fewer wedges, and that gave me small, medium, and even a few large cookies.
The small Pumpkin and Walnut Rugelach Cookies were adorable and button-like, but no matter the size, they were all delicious (yes, I sampled each size, just to be sure).
I hope you’ll consider trying your hand at making Pumpkin and Walnut Rugelach Cookies for any celebration. They’re a delight!
For more cookie recipes:
Spicy Caramel Corn Cookies
Cinnamon Pretzel Crunch Cookies
Linzer Cookies with Homemade Orange Marmalade
These special occasion cookies are rich and delightful. Perfect for a celebration!
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
- 8 ounces, plus 2 tablespoons cream cheese, cut into large pieces
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Parchment paper
- Add the flour, butter, cream cheese, and sour cream into a stand mixer (you could also use a food processor with a metal blade). Blend or pulse on medium until combined. Sprinkle the sugar over the mixture and blend or pulse again until combined.
- The dough with be soft and sticky. Divide it into four equal parts. Pat it flat into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Add the pumpkin, apple juice, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until combined.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- The mixture should be thick and spreadable when finished.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it stand for about 10 minutes.
- Combine the walnuts, remaining sugar, remaining cinnamon, and brown sugar.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with lightly floured parchment paper. Set aside.
- One at a time, place a portion of the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to form a 9-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the top piece of parchment paper. Spread 1/4 of the pumpkin mixture evenly across the circle, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edge of the dough.
- Sprinkle 1/4 of the walnut mixture over the top.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the circle into 12 wedges, or so.
- One at a time, remove the wedges and, starting with the widest portion, roll it toward the pointed portion.
- Tuck the tip underneath the cookie and place on the baking sheet, leaving 1-inch between each cookie.
- Continue with the remaining dough and filling.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Cool completely and sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar before serving.