Growing up with both Christmas and Hanukkah in your home can inspire some wonderful crossovers, especially when it comes to the treats. We’ve partnered with Michelle Lopez, founder of Hummingbird High, who is turning the recipes she grew up with into some delicious holiday fusions.
I’ve always associated the fall and winter holidays as a time for pie. Thanksgiving has pumpkin and apple pies, while Christmas has mince pies. As a little kid, I was always sad that Hanukkah didn’t have its own dedicated pie. That is, until I eventually realized that rugelach cookies are the Jewish equivalent. Because let’s face it — rugelach cookies are basically pie…but in cookie form!
What exactly do I mean by “pie in cookie form”? Rugelach dough is pretty similar to pie dough, but made with cream cheese instead of butter. Similar to pie dough, you use a pastry blender to cut the cream cheese into the flour to make a light and flaky crust. And like any good pie, rugelach and is filled with a delicious (and usually fruit-based) filling.
The main difference between pie and rugelach really comes in execution — instead of rolling the rugelach dough out and molding it into a pan like you would a pie, you roll the dough into crescents to make little croissant-shaped cookies. The filling gets spiraled into these crescents, ensuring that you have alternating layers of flaky, delicate crust and tasty filling with each bite.
So to pay homage to both the holidays that my family celebrated, I’ve created a fusion cookie that’s halfway between Hanukkah and Christmas. I spiked my family’s traditional rugelach recipe with spices like ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves to create a “gingerbread” rugelach dough.
And the filling? Cookie butter studded with mini chocolate chips. When combined with the light and flaky gingerbread rugelach dough, it’s absolutely and utterly addicting. Fresh from the oven and warm, the rugelach cookies are better than any slice of pie. I promise.
Want more recipes perfect for your Hanukkah celebration? Get the recipe for Sufganiyot, three ways.