Some of my favorite Jewish treats—hamantaschen, matzoh brei—are only available at certain times of the year. This may add to their specialness, but it’s nice to know that others, like rugelach, are available year-round.
To find out which local bakery makes the best rugelach around, we asked you to name your favorites, then we hit the road. (Though we would have liked to taste all of the suggestions—especially the homemade versions—we didn’t have enough time or room in our stomachs.) See what we said about Boston’s best rugelach, then let us know your own tasting notes in the comments.
Cheryl Anns’ is known for its challah, and for good reason. But their other offerings are also worth a trip to one of their bakeries. The rugelach have a good crust that isn’t too dry. They’re firm and have rustic appeal, with each cookie displaying a slightly different degree of filling-to-cookie ratio, and filling leeching out of the edges. (I don’t know about you, but I love the super caramelized, almost-burnt edges on rugelach.) One of the favorites was apple, which one taster referred to as a “tiny apple pie.” Available flavors during my visit included cinnamon, blueberry, chocolate, raspberry, apple-raisin-cinnamon and apricot.
Rosie’s is a local favorite. Their rugelach aren’t perfect-looking, which I like because they remind me of the homemade versions I grew up eating. They taste buttery and are incredibly tender. Available flavors during my visit included chocolate and traditional, which had golden raisins, walnuts and cinnamon.
If these rugelach look a bit different, it’s because you have to buy them in long strips, by weight. (It’s great if you have a group to share with or if you want to convince yourself this is actually one serving.) The crust looks like flaky pie dough. It’s tender and slightly doughy, and it doesn’t fall apart after the first bite. Available flavors during my visit included apricot, chocolate and raspberry-and-cheese. The apricot filling has more raisins than apricot, so this is a good choice for raisin-lovers.
The Mamaleh’s menu features modern takes on deli classics, and if its rugelach is representative of the rest of the food, I’ll be back often. These adorable two-biters are salty and sweet, with a sprinkling of turbinado sugar over the top that lends them a great crunch. The bottoms are nicely caramelized, and the ratio of filling to dough is spot on. Available flavors during my visit included chocolate and raspberry.
Blacker’s covers all the bases as far as Jewish bakeries go—it’s shomer shabbos, pas yisroel and pareve, as well as nut- and dairy-free. (They also make challah that gives Cheryl Anns’ a run for its money.) Their rugelach is crisp, and on the drier side, with a hearty helping of cinnamon-sugar on top. Available flavors during my visit included chocolate, raspberry, apricot and apple.
Russo’s rugelach are flaky and tender, with visible layers of dough in every cookie. Tasters appreciated the crackly, sugary top, which contrasts nicely with the smooth interior. Available flavors during my visit included raspberry, cinnamon and apricot.
These beautiful, mail-order rugelach—each perfectly rolled, with flawless points—are a treat. They are soft and tender, and everyone agreed they were some of the prettiest in the lineup. Some testers said they tasted like a cinnamon bun, which is high praise among my friends! At the time of my order, available flavors included cinnamon and chocolate.
These rugelach have a well-balanced texture: sticky and crisp on the outside and tender and soft on the inside. Their fillings have bright, fruity flavor, and I think I detected some toasted coconut on top. Available flavors during my visit included chocolate, apricot and raspberry.