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While no doubt the photos of this gluten free Rugelach look enticing, you might be wondering what on earth is a “Rugelach”?
This favorite Jewish sweet actually has its origins in a yeast dough, laminated, kneaded and taking hours to prepare. It may come as no surprise to find that short cuts were apparently taken in its transition to America decades ago, and away from the painstaking process historically used to make this famous pastry.
What we find called “Rugelach” most often in the U.S. now is something very different, but equally delicious. Rather than croissant-like, the modern version is more dense, filled with sweet fillings and often a cream cheese, yeast-less dough. You may know it as a nut roll. Easier to pronounce, but no less insanely good.
One can still choose to make Rugelach dough into crescents or mini croissants, or the gorgeous strudel shape I’ve used in my gluten free Rugelach cookie recipe, which also happens to takes less time to prepare (another American short-cut, I’m sure).
Traditional fillings range from apricot to date to fig, chocolate, marzipan, Nutella, crushed toasted nuts or even poppy seeds. Choose what suits you – anything soft and tasty that can be rolled up inside these dough will work beautifully.
I’ve used raisins, pecans and preserves in this recipe, just match the proportions if you use alternative fillings.
This gluten free Rugelach will dress up any table this holiday season. And while it looks quite impressive, don’t let that daunt you. There are several steps, but the techniques are happily quite simple, and the results are so worth the effort!
The steps are really simple – a lot like making homemade gluten free cinnamon rolls. Just divide the dough into 4 balls and roll out, spread toppings and roll up into a log:
Then with each log on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut into cookies before baking:
And there you have it! A gorgeous, flavor-filled cookie that looks like it was a lot of work to create, but it really isn’t. The log shapes actually make it easy to make a bunch of these “cookies” all at the same time!
I can’t wait to hear how much you love this traditional recipe with a gluten-free spin!
Beat together butter, cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk flour and salt, then stir into the cream cheese mixture until dough is formed.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Chilling the dough will help it be less sticky and easier to work with.
Line a large jelly roll or shallow- sided baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon.
Prepare a clean counter or pastry mat by liberally dusting with more gfJules™ flour. Have a rolling pin, bench scraper or spatula and all toppings ready.
Divide the chilled dough into 4 pieces, removing one to your work surface and returning the others, wrapped, to the refrigerator.
Rolling in each direction, gently roll one dough into a rectangle, approximately 10 x 8 inches. Spread enough preserves across the entire top of the dough to cover it with a thin layer. Evenly distribute ¼ cup raisins, then ¼ cup chopped pecans across the top of the preserves, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Using a bench scraper or spatula, begin rolling up the dough into a log, starting with one of the short sides, rolling until the entire dough is rolled onto itself. Gently transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet, seam side down, then tuck the ends underneath.
Repeat the process with the other three sections of dough. Line the logs up on the baking sheet no more than 1-2 inches apart.
Brush each log with milk, then using a large, sharp knife, make 3/4-inch-deep cuts across each log every one inch. Do not cut all the way through the logs at this time. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and return to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Once preheated, remove the plastic wrap and bake the rugelach logs on the baking sheet for 45 minutes; they will be light golden brown when done. Sprinkle with demerara sugar, if desired, then allow to fully cool on the pan.
Once cooled, mix icing in a small bowl, then drip using a spoon over the logs in a crosswise pattern. Use a large knife or bench scraper to cut the logs all the way through at each one inch cut, then serve.
Yield: approximately 28 rugelach cookies.
What will you use for the filling?
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