Gert’s Yeast Cookies (Rugelach)

These are my mother’s favorite cookie.

This is, by far, the finest pastry in my mother’s recipe book—my Great Aunt Gert’s yeast cookie, which is a traditional rugelach. Some rugelach recipes use cream cheese while others use sour cream and yeast; this one uses them all. They are exquisitely delicate with a meringue filling that melts in your mouth.



For the dough

  • ½ lb. butter (2 sticks)
  • 2/3 of an 8 oz package
    of cream cheese
  • 3 packages of yeast (6¾ tsp.)
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • 4 c. of flour (or a bit less)
  • confectioners sugar

For the meringue filling

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 c. sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • for the filling topping
  • chopped walnuts (or pecans), about 1 c.
  • raisins, about 1 c.


  1. Blend together butter, cream cheese and yeast.
  2. Mix in egg yolks and sour cream, then flour, a little at a time, until the dough is quite stiff and not too sticky. Shape into a ball and set aside.
  3. To make the filling: beat the egg whites until stiff, then slowly mix in the sugar and cinnamon.
  4. To assemble (see photos): cut the dough into 10 equal portions. Make a ball out of each and, on a board dusted with confectioners sugar, roll out into a 9˝ circle. Spread a portion (one-tenth) of the filling over the circle of dough. Sprinkle with nuts. Using a pizza slicer, or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8–10 wedges. Place 3 or 4 raisins on each wedge. Roll up, starting from the outside of the circle. Cover and let rise for 30 mins.
  5. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375° until golden brown (about 20–25 mins).

The temple bakers stocking the freezer with rugalah for upcoming onegs. (Kirsten, Jennie, Rae and Vicki)

Roll them from the outside of the circle into the center.

2 thoughts on “Gert’s Yeast Cookies (Rugelach)

  1. These cookies with yeast sound delicious! When you make the dough, do you activate the packages of yeast in any liquid before incorporating into the other dough ingredients, or do you just open the yeast package and mix it, dry, into the dough ingredients? I have never worked with yeast before, but my grandmother did, and it seems that you have to do something with the yeast before you use it. I have made a cream cheese dough cookie from a Hungarian friend’s grandmother’s recipe, but never have used yeast. Please advise and thank you for your time. kim

    • Hi! Sorry it took me an embarrassingly 6 years to see your comment! For this recipe, you just pour in the dry yeast, which is very unusual. Hope you made them, or will make them. They are lovely.

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