Rugelach are one of my all-time favorite cookies. An ideal version has a tender, flakey dough with the slightest tang belying the cream cheese inside. The filling should have a bit of a gooey texture (I choose jam-filled rugelach over chocolate any day) and a sprinkling of nuts to add a touch of crunch. I find a perfect tiny rugelach manages to be more rich, more satisfying, more indulgent than a regular cookie, despite often not having any sugar in the dough.
So it was with great pleasure that I took on the self-appointed task of making a rugelach for Thanksgivingukkah. Nothing says Thanksgiving to me like pumpkin pie (probably because I, sadly, tend to eat it only one day a year), and luckily pumpkin pie spices have a pretty specific flavor profile that are easy to transfer to a cookie.
I updated the traditional rugelach dough by adding in a mix of pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, and allspice) and sweetening it with some sugar. I found regular canned pumpkin created a filling that was too dense and overwhelmed the tender dough, so I tried pumpkin butter, and, topped with some chopped walnuts, it worked out beautifully.
These cookies have the distinct taste of pumpkin pie in a classic rugelach shell. The walnuts give them just enough texture and, despite the sugar, they're not overly sweet. In fact I'm such a fan that I'll be making these every year, at least until Thanksgivingukkah comes around again.
About the author: Carrie Vasios Mullins is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios