Non-Dairy Rugelach

Rugelach is one of the classic Jewish treats—but the cream cheese and butter in the dough makes it incompatible with a kosher meat meal.  I wanted to see if I could make a non-dairy rugelach that would 1) actually work, and 2) taste good.  I used the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe (she’s Jewish!), and substituted tofu cream for regular and margarine for butter.  Her recipe calls for apricot preserves.  I decided to use raspberry jam instead because I thought the stronger flavor would counteract the soy better.  Did it work?  Definitely.  Maybe a little bit less flaky than the original, but no fatal chemistry flaws from the substitution.  And the taste?  Not only did they pass muster for me to serve at my family’s break fast, they  were among the first desserts to go.  So while they’re not identical to the original, but I’d say that’s a sign that they’re pretty close.

Total time: 2 hours

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Level: Moderate

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces tofu cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup margarine, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash 

 Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream the cheese and butter with an electric mixer.  Mix until light.
  2. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla and mix until blended.
  3. Add the flour and mix and mix on low speed until just combined.
  4. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board  or surface covered with parchment paper and roll it into a ball.  Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. While the dough is chilling, in a small bowl, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and the walnuts.
  6. On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle.  Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons jam and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling, using more filling on the outside of the circle.  Press the filling lightly into the dough.
  7. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide edge, tightly roll up each wedge.  Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Chill for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.
© Courtney Weiner.  All Rights Reserved.