I’m not religious and haven’t paid much attention to Chanukah since I lived in Toronto with my family. When my grandmother moved into a seniors home last year, she sent me a few things she didn’t need anymore, including an old chanukiah. I felt guilty having it in my home and not using it. And with so many delicious (ahem, fried) Chanukah foods, I thought I’d get into the spirit this year.
We didn’t eat rugelach much growing up – it was a rare treat. Our Chanukah celebrations involved gingerbread menorah, chocolate gelt (money) and latkes.
I’ve always liked these sweet little pastries and was really excited to try this gluten-free version, which I adapted further to be dairy-free and vegan.
I found these rugelach difficult to roll – the dough was so sticky that it kept breaking. We enjoyed them, so it’s not like it was a huge disaster, but I felt like a disappointing failure. Am I the only one who takes it personally when things don’t go as well as you expected in the kitchen?
Look at Shauna Ahern’s version. Go ahead, I’ll wait. They look divine, don’t they? While mine look like they were constructed by a blindfolded five-year-old. Sigh. She makes it look so easy.
Gluten-free and Vegan Rugelach
From Gluten-free Girl and the Chef
Set the cream cheese and margarine out on the counter about 10 minutes before you start working with them. Cut the cream cheese and margarine into four equal pieces. They should be starting to soften when you work with them.
Put the brown rice flour, potato starch, cornstarch, salt, and xanthan gum into a food processor. Run the processor until the flours are well mixed.
Drop the cream cheese pieces and margarine pieces into the food processor. Pulse them five to 10 times, then turn on the processor full force. At first, the flours will spin round and round and you’ll think you need some liquid to make them stick. Be patient. After a few moments, you’ll see the forces start to gather. Watch carefully. Stop the processor when the dough looks like giant curds, before it has formed a solid ball.
Form the dough into two balls with your hands. Cover them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes, to allow them to rest and harden up just a touch.
Roll out the dough balls between two pieces of parchment paper. You want about a 10-inch circle at the end, as evenly round as you can. Peel off the top layer of parchment paper and spread your favorite fillings onto the dough and press it in with your fingers. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into eight triangles. Starting with the wide end, slowly roll up the triangle until you have a crescent roll.
Put the shaped dough back into the refrigerator for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the dough with the non-dairy milk. Bake in the oven until the crust is firm and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.