Vegan Rugelach (Cinnamon and Chocolate Stuffed Cookies)

Vegan Rugelach 

(Cinnamon and Chocolate Stuffed Cookies)

Vegan Rugelach (Cinnamon and Chocolate Stuffed Cookies)

Every Christmas, my Great-Aunt sends my Grandmother a package of rugelach and babka from Zabar's in New York City.  It's one of the many small traditions I miss when I'm away from home, and two of my favourite Christmas treats.

This year, I decided to try veganizing Rugelach for our Edinburgh Christmas, and I was really surprised how easy they were!  Rugelach are a Jewish cookie, which is rich and flaky thanks to large quantities of butter and cream cheese.

The folding and chilling of this dough is essential - It's a very sticky dough, so its crucial that it's cold in order to be able to roll it out.  I recommend taking each disk out of the fridge as you are ready to roll it.

That said, don't be afraid to use a lot of flour when rolling out.  I used nearly an additional third of a cup, and the texture was still fantastic; crunchy on the outside, flaky and soft in the center.

If you haven't ever made rugelach/croissant/puff pastry before (all of which use a similar folding technique to get layering) I recommend watching this video which shows each step in detail.  I watched about 6 videos and read several blogs, but Jane Portroy's recipe is the one I adapted because it was most reminiscent of those Zabar's rugelach, so the steps match up perfectly.  

In terms of time chilling in the fridge, I rolled out two of my disks after 3 hours, and they were great.  The third disk was rolled out two days later, and the taste and texture were exactly the same, though the dough was a bit easier to work with.  So, you can make this dough a couple of days in advance, or just a few hours in advance - either will work fine.

I've included ingredients for both cinnamon and chocolate versions of these cookies - around here, cinnamon won out, but I'll leave that up to you!

Vegan Rugelach (Cinnamon and Chocolate Stuffed Cookies)

Vegan Rugelach

Adapted from Jewish Festive Foods

Total time: 5 hours (dough needs to chill for at least 4 hours total)
Serves: makes 36 tiny cookies
For the cookie:
  • 150g (1 cup) pre sifted flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 113g (1 stick) vegan butter (room temperature)
  • 113g (4 oz) vegan cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 flax egg yolk ( 1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp water)
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

For the filling:
  • 75g (scant half cup) ground nuts (I used pecans, but walnuts are more traditional)
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon  OR 1/2 cup (90g) chocolate chips
  • 115g (1/2 cup) sugar - if using chocolate chips, only need 1/4 cup (57g) sugar

For the topping:
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 60g (1/4 cup) sugar

For assembly:
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or other sweet syrup

First, make the dough.  Cut the margarine and cream cheese into the flour until the pieces are pea-sized.  Then add the salt and mix the flax egg and vanilla in with a fork - when incorporated, knead into a dough for two or three minutes.  Shape this into a log, and cut into three pieces.  Flatten each piece into a disk, wrap in cling film/a plastic bag, and freeze for one hour.  Then, roll each piece out into a rough rectangle about 1/2 inch thick, and fold into thirds.  Refrigerate for at least three hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling, topping, and milk/syrup mixture by mixing each one in a separate bowl.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Roll out the chilled dough into rough circles on a well floured surface.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the filling mixture over each circle, with the bulk of the mixture around the edges.  Cut into 12 triangles, and roll up from the base to the point.  Don't worry if these are slightly different sizes - they will still work!

Place the rugelach on a baking tray, and gently brush the tops with the almond milk/syrup 'egg' wash. Sprinkle the sugar topping over the rugelach, and bake for 18 minutes, or until golden brown.   

Vegan Rugelach (Cinnamon and Chocolate Stuffed Cookies)

Vegan Rugelach (Cinnamon and Chocolate Stuffed Cookies)