Yeasted Rugelach


Photography by Michael Persico

For their first major book since the trailblazing Zahav, Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook go straight to the food of the people—the great dishes that are the soul of Israeli cuisine. Usually served from tiny eateries, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, or market stalls, these specialties have passed from father to son or mother to daughter for generations. To find the best versions, the authors scoured bustling cities like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa, and sleepy towns on mountaintops. They visited bakeries, juice carts, beaches, even weddings.

Their finds include meals in the hand like falafel and pita; juicy, grilled and roasted spice-rubbed meats; stuffed vegetables; a wealth of chopped vegetable salads; a five-minute fluffy hummus with more than two dozen toppings; pastries, ice creams, and shakes. Solomonov has perfected and adapted every recipe for the home kitchen.

Each chapter weaves history with contemporary portrayals of the food. Striking photographs capture all its flavour and vitality, while step-by-step how-tos and close-ups of finished dishes make everything simple and accessible.

Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious is available at and

Yeasted Rugelach

Makes 32 cookies

Rugelach are a classic Ashkenazi Jewish cookie consisting of a triangle of dough rolled into a crescent shape around a sweet filling. They reached their pinnacle of fame in America, where cream cheese-enriched dough became the standard-bearer. But yeasted versions of rugelach are at least as old as their unleavened cousins and tend to be more common in Israel today. What is fascinating about this recipe is how it combines the Middle Eastern tradition of saturating pastries with sugar syrup with an Ashkenazi dough, producing a result that can truly only be called Israeli.


⅔ cup sugar

¾ cup warm water

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

¼ cup canola oil

5 tablespoons labneh

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups all-purpose flour


¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

⅓ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons labneh

4 tablespoons almond butter

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


1 cup sugar

½ cup water

  1. MAKE THE DOUGH: Whisk the sugar with the water until the sugar is completely dissolved, then pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, or use a large bowl and a hand mixer. Stir in the yeast by hand and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the oil, labneh, salt, and vanilla. Mix to combine, then add the flour. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together and is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.
  2. MAKE THE FILLING: Mix together the chocolate chips, cocoa, sugar, salt, cream, labneh, almond butter, and butter in a large bowl.
  3. ASSEMBLE THE RUGELACH: Preheat the oven to 375°F and position racks in the top and bottom thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll both pieces into large rectangles about ⅛ inch thick. Spread both rectangles with the filling.
  4. For both log- and crescent-shaped rolls, carefully lift one rectangle of dough and place it on top of the other so you have two layers of dough and two layers of filling.
  5. For log-shaped rolls, beginning at one long end, tightly roll up the dough into a skinny log and cut it into 16 slices, about 1 inch thick.
  6. For crescent-shaped rolls, use a sharp knife to cut the layered dough into 16 triangles. Starting with the widest edge, roll each triangle into a coil.
  7. Arrange the rolls on the prepared baking sheets and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Bake until light brown, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating at the halfway point from top to bottom and back to front.
  8. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SYRUP: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir every few minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.
  9. Pour the syrup over the rugelach when they come out of the oven.
  10. Let the rugelach cool on a wire rack before serving. They will keep for 2 days at room temperature.

YEASTED RUGELACH is excerpted from ISRAELI SOUL © 2018 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2018 by Michael Persico. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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