I am a vanilla person: one of the few food lovers completely unseduced by chocolate’s charms. Perhaps that explains why I made the match: buttery caramels with tender rugelach. It was bashert, or meant to be; two delicious nonchocolate sweets just waiting to be introduced.
And using purchased caramels makes these rugelach as easy to prepare as, well, the chocolate chip kind. But the sweet molten filling does tend to seep out somewhat during baking. I find that adding chopped pecans and shaping the rugelach in rectangles rather than crescents helps cut down on leakage. And when needed, I just trim away the caramel that has found its way out of the baked cookies.
Cook’s Note: Rugelach may be frozen, unbaked. You need not defrost before baking, but increase baking time by 5 to 7 minutes.
If your caramels are soft enough, press the pieces with your fingertips to flatten them. You’ll get a smoother, tighter roll.
My good friend, Dr. Mary McLarnon, who helped me perfect these little treats, prefers them warm. She recommends gently heating them in a microwave or toaster oven. But never eat them hot: caramels, like all sugar when heated, can badly burn your mouth. She also suggests these would be delicious made with English toffee or homemade caramels.
This dish was featured as part of our Hanukkah Recipes photo gallery.