Du Jour Bakery Nutealla
Park Slope's Du Jour Bakery created an extremely moist and buttery dough for their fantastic Nutella rugelach. The tiny pieces are soft and quite light (considering they're filled with chocolate hazelnut spread). Small batches and multiple bakings throughout the day are another plus. Another travel worthy rugelach.
Tasting notes: Exceptionally buttery and flavorful crust, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar is a nice touch. $1.25 each
Breads Bakery Chocolate
This rugelach probably delivers the most satisfying eating experience of all the favorites. Chocolate lovers should look no further—you have found your prize. These are made from yeasted, laminated (croissant) dough and filled with cocoa powder and dark chocolate, then individually rolled like tiny croissants. Multiple bakings throughout the day makes it easy to get one that's still warm from the oven
Tasting notes: No nuts, impossibly buttery, very dark chocolate flavor, only available in chocolate. $1.50 each
Erica's Raspberry (via any Joe The Art of Coffee shop)
The raspberry flavor from Erica's is the standard that all other raspberry rugelach should be judged. It features the perfect balance of fruit filling and nuts with a concentrated raspberry flavor and a perfectly browned shortbread style crust.
Tasting notes: Very fresh overall flavor and texture, especially compared to other raspberry rugelach that can often be dry. These are very similar to Russ & Daughters but much larger. $2 each
Russ & Daughters Raspberry
Very similar to Erica's Rugelach and therefore also one of my top recommendations. The recipe features a chewy and soft crust and a very flavorful fruit filling. The busy shop ensures that there is high turnover in their baked goods. Pick up a few pieces when you visit for a bagel and lox
Tasting notes: Perfect balance of berry, dates and nuts. Not overly sweet. Fresh tasting. $14.50/lb $4.35 for 6 small pieces
Lee Lee's Chocolate
I've praised Lee Lee's rugelach before with its perfectly buttery shortbread style crust. Along with Zabar's, it's one of only two examples in this feature with a crust that snaps when you bite into it. Like Breads Bakery, this is a chocolate lovers rugelach but instead of a soft and croissant-like dough, it's crisp and well-baked. A rugelach worth traveling uptown for.
Tasting notes: The chocolate is slightly salty. The apricot is also very good. A fantastic value for such large pieces at $1.00 each or 6 pieces for $5
Zabar's Chocolate and Raisin
Zabar's was one of only two shops that sell rugelach with a crust that snaps when you bite into it. (The other was Lee Lee's of Harlem). Both the chocolate and traditional (with raisins and dates) flavors are superb.
Tasting notes: Very buttery crust, and a caramelized, almost burnt sugar flavor is present. Very tight, individually-rolled style. The traditional raisin date is much more moist than the chocolate, and the raisins really stand out. 4 pieces minimum for $3.18
Zucker Bakery has so many great products to choose from, including one of the best babkas you'll find anywhere, but their cinnamon rugelach is both beautiful and simple. The soft, neatly rolled dough is filled only with a light cinnamon paste. Zucker gets the award for the most aesthetically pleasing rugelach in this feature.
Tasting notes: No nuts, no whole raisins or dates—just cinnamon. Slightly dough-heavy but very satisfying. Highly recommended. $1.50 each
Orwasher's Chocolate Dipped Raspberry
We've featured Orwasher's fantastic breads numerous times on SENY so it shouldn't come to a surprise to anyone that they have excellent rugelach. They use a nicely browned shortbread-style crust with an excellent tasting raspberry filling that blends nuts and seeds into the mix. The chocolate dipped raspberry was my favorite of the three flavors I tried (raspberry, apricot, raspberry with chocolate). Destination worthy
Tasting notes: A very nice concentrated raspberry flavor, the filling has the perfect amount of chewiness. Good ratio of filling to nuts and seeds $4.40 for 3 or $1.50 each
Here's a piece of Orwasher's raspberry rugelach.
Cobble Hill's Roogla was new to me and definitely one of the finds of this feature. They sell nine unique flavors of rugelach that are baked continuously throughout the day. It was very hard to pick a favorite among the four flavors I tasted but you can't go wrong with chocolate or raspberry. The chocolate is very rich and dark. I thought the raspberry was a bit thin on filling until I got to the middle of the pastry, when I was hit with a burst of sweet raspberry filling.
All the flavors at Roogla feature very soft (and in most cases still warm) dough. I wanted to stay until the afternoon when they start bringing out the savory flavors like Greek (feta and olives)
Tasting notes: Very fresh, chocolate is dark but sweet. Cinnamon is also very good. None of the flavors I tried contained nuts. The flavors lean a little to the sweet side. A compelling value at $0.80 for a small and $1.40 for a large piece with a specialty flavor. Definitely a destination worthy rugelach.
Roogla's fantastic raspberry rugelach. Note the perfect buttery layers of laminated dough.
Roogla's cinnamon rugelach was a little sweet but had excellent flavor and texture overall.
Roogla's unique vanilla flavored rugelach. Sweet and delicious with a great vanilla aroma.
Margaret Palca Bakes Raspberry
The pieces of rugelach from this Waterfront District bakery don't look like they're going to taste good. They're tiny, oddly shaped and uneven. But looks can be deceiving and in this case they were dead wrong. Both the chocolate and the raspberry rugelach are equally superb. The crust is very buttery and flaky with a nice, well-baked finish. The raspberry filling is slightly chewy and flavorful. The chocolate is equally delicious. The chocolate paired very well with the buttery crust. Highly recommended.
Tasting notes: Light on nuts, very well done crust while still remaining chewy. It tastes like they use brown butter in crust. Raspberry flavor is prominent but there is less filling than most of the other fruit filled rugelach in this review. $18/lb or $1.40 for two small pieces
Margaret Palca Bakes Chocolate
The chocolate rugelach from Margaret Palca Bakes doesn't look like much but trust me, it's tasty!
William Greenberg Cinnamon
William Greenberg Desserts is an Upper East Side institution with many excellent products (their best product is their hamantaschen IMHO). They also sell a lot of rugelach. Their recipe uses a puff pastry-style crust and contains very little or no nuts. The chocolate is their strongest flavor, however I enjoyed the raisins in the cinnamon flavor.
Since these rugelach are a little on the dry side to begin with I am going to recommend that you purchase these pastries when the store opens in the morning because they have a very short shelf life. This advice holds true for all baked goods but especially here.
Tasting notes: Puff pastry style crust has many layers, very little or no nuts, only a small amount of filling, dough is slightly dry. $4.25 for 3 pieces
William Greenberg Raspberry
William Greenberg's raspberry rugelach
Birthdbath Bakery features so many excellent products that I felt like it was only fair to include their rugelach in this review.
This monster, fist-sized rugelach features a huge amount of densely packed walnuts with only honey for additional flavor. The crust is well baked and very thick (probably by design to hold everything in place). If you like walnuts or nuts in general, you will be in rugelach heaven. If not, you might be disappointed by the lack of additional flavors. A qualified recommendation
Tasting notes: The crust is excellent with a light, baked on sugar coating that's very satisfying. Did I mention this thing has inches upon inches of walnuts? $4 each
Dishes sells many excellent baked goods so I included them to try and find an option for the Midtown lunch crowd. This Metrocard-sized piece of rugelach falls just a bit short of being excellent.
The crust has a nicely baked exterior but the raspberry filling, though flavorful, is not plentiful enough to balance out the heavy load of nuts inside. Qualified recommendation, but might be the best in Midtown East
Tasting notes: Very dough and walnut heavy and light on the raspberry filling. Delicious golden raisins nearly balance everything out and save the day. Slightly dry dough. $3 each
Fairway Chocolate and Raspberry
What can I say about Fairway that most New Yorker's don't already know? Not much. Fairway's house-made rugelach is more like a sweet, supermarket croissant than a true piece of rugelach. They use a butter-laden, laminated croissant dough for their crust. Unfortunately, the end product is a bit too sweet and a bit too bogged down with butter. However, those with a fondness for really sweet desserts will enjoy this. After factoring in the price—about $0.85 for a huge, heavy piece—it makes the cut if you're in a pinch. Qualiified Recommendation.
Tasting notes: Very dense and doughy crust, highly sweet, not crumbly at all. $7.99/lb or about $0.85 each