If you’re a fan of rugelach, the beloved Jewish pastry, you’ll definitely enjoy this recipe for kolachkes with tamarind-pear butter and candied walnuts from pastry chef Caroline Wilson. Originating from Central Europe, the cookies include a spoonful of fruit enveloped by pillowy, buttery dough. The candied walnuts give them a nice crunch — good stuff for texture nerds — and best of all, these can freeze for months.


  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
Tamarind-Pear Butter:
  • 1 cup water + 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 pound pears (peeled, cored, and chopped)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon egg whites


To make the dough:
  1. Beat together the cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat together just to combine.
  3. Wrap in plastic and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days in advance.
To make the tamarind-pear butter:
  1. First, heat the water and tamarind paste together and steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a clean pot.
  2. Add the pears, spices, salt and brown sugar.
  3. Cook together for 30 minutes or so until the pears are tender, and the mixture has thickened.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick and star anise.
  5. You can keep the pear butter slightly chunky, or puree in a Cuisinart or blender, depending on your preference.
To create walnut mixture:
  1. Mix the walnuts with the powdered sugar, sea salt, and egg whites in a bowl. Set aside.
To assemble the cookies:
  1. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inches in thickness.
  2. Cut the dough into roughly 2 inch squares.
  3. Put about a teaspoon of pear butter into the center of each square, and then bring together 2 opposite corners of dough to seal at the top.
  4. Place the shaped cookie onto a sheet pan lined with parchment.
  5. Liberally sprinkle the walnut mixture on top of the cookies.
  6. Repeat until all dough is converted into cookies on the pan. Freeze for baking later, or head straight to the oven. (Chef's note: if the dough seems to warm up a lot in your shaping process, it is helpful to chill the cookies for 15 minutes or so before baking.)
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden. Rotate the pan halfway through for even baking.

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