Gluten Free Vegan Allergy Friendly Ruggelach
Over the years I have made literally thousands of ruggelach. If you are unfamiliar with ruggelach, they are a rolled cookie type mini pastry with different fillings and a tender dough. I worked at a privately owned hotel for many years and the owners absolutely loved their ruggelach. My executive pastry chef at the hotel taught me the proper way to make ruggelach and I have been making them ever since. I asked around to fellow FA families what is something they would like to see done Top 8 free for Hanukkah, and ruggelach (and jelly doughnuts) won by an overwhelming landslide so here they are!
This was a bit of a challenge because traditionally the dough is made with cream cheese, butter, or a combo of both. If this is safe for you then it’s fine to use, but I tested the recipe many times to make sure it could be made perfectly using dairy free. The recipe can also be done with gluten free or regular flour.
The fillings are the fun part!! I stuck with two traditional fillings, jelly (or preserves) and a chocolate variation, but feel free to branch out. If Nutella is safe for you, go for it! I’ll outline the fillings in the method below.
The ruggelach assembly steps may seem a bit overwhelming but it is honestly very easy and once you do one, the rest will fly! I like to give VERY detailed instructions to make it as easy as possible! This dough is forgiving if you have it at the right temperature, it will patch back together easily. An as always if you have questions, drop me a line and I’m happy to help troubleshoot!
I hope these ruggelach can make your Top 8+ Hanukkah even more sweet, or even add them to your Christmas/holiday cookie list! Be well, enjoy and remember life is short so eat dessert first…safely! 👩🏻🍳💙🕎
**As always, please check which brands are safe for your needs**
Ingredients and Substitutions
Vegan or Regular Butter/Cream Cheese Options – There are a few options you can go with for the ruggelach. I formulated this with vegan butter, but I DO NOT recommend using coconut oil. It does not hold well to the dough and melts out quickly. A combination of vegan cream cheese and butter works well but again I DO NOT recommend using coconut oil-based cream cheese. Soy cream cheese works best of the non-dairy cream cheese alternatives. If dairy is safe for you then I recommend using a combination of butter and cream cheese. It helps to keep the dough flaky.
Gluten Free or Regular Flour – This pastry can be made with either regular all purpose flour or gluten free flour. If using a gluten free flour blend, stick to the 140 g. per cup and use a blend that has xanthan gum. Add ¼ tsp. per cup of flour if it does not have it. Remember all gluten free blends are different with different densities there will have to be minor adjustments depending on the one you use, but they are minimal. I use King Arthur Flour Measure for Measure gluten free flour blend.
Preserves/Jelly – My choice is always seedless raspberry or apricot, but it’s up to you. Whatever your choice is though, make sure it is seedless and there are no large pieces of fruit or berries. The dough will not roll and seal properly. I’m a big fan of Crofter’s brand. They are delicious and not overly sweet.
Chocolate – As always, dairy free Pascha chocolate is my go-to. The mini chips are especially great because they make the dough easy to roll.
Gluten Free Vegan Allergy Friendly Ruggelach
Author: Katie Martino Lopez
Prep Time: with dough prep and rolling, about 30 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours minimum
Cook Time: about 20 minutes
Total Time: about 2-3 hours
Yield: about 4 dozen
- 1 ½ c. (12 oz/2 ½ sticks) vegan butter, margarine or butter OR a combination of both, room temperature but NOT WARM. See notes above about options.
- ½ c. sugar
- 1 Tbls. vanilla extract
- 1 c. safe milk (may need 1-2 Tbls. more), room temperature
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 4 c. all-purpose gluten free flour blends with xanthan gum or regular flour (a handful more may be necessary)
- ½ tsp. baking powder ONLY for gluten free version
- ½ stick (4 oz.) vegan or safe butter, melted
- ½-1 c. seedless preserves or jelly
- ½ c. safe mini chocolate chips
- Cinnamon sugar for liberally sprinkling
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- With a mixer, beat safe butter or safe butter/cream cheese blend, sugar, and vanilla until well combined but not too soft. Slowly add safe milk. The mixture will not combine but that’s ok. It is too much for liquid for the fat to absorb. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour mixture one cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky and comes together. The dough should not be dry or the ruggelach will be bready. Add an extra tablespoon or two of milk if needed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and blend to thoroughly combine.
- Divide the dough into 4 flattened discs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours to let the fat chill and flour absorb and gluten relax if using regular wheat flour. Dough can be chilled up to overnight or wrapped well and frozen up to 2 months at this point.
- While the dough chills, melt your butter and prepare the fillings (see notes above). Make sure this is done before you roll your dough.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator ONE AT A TIME (or thaw in the refrigerator if coming from the freezer) and let sit at room temperature to soften the dough a bit. If the dough is too cold when you begin to roll it will crack and break.
- PRO TIP: Using a rolling pin, whack the dough a dough a few times then turn ¼ around and repeat. It softens the dough without warming the fat and turning ensures it stays in a circle.
- On a very lightly floured surface or between two pieces of parchment, roll each dough round into a 12-inch circle. If the dough tears gently patch it together. Trim the edges.
- For preserves/jelly filling: Spread about ¼ c. preserves onto the dough round, making sure there are no lumps, and it is not too thick a layer.
- For chocolate filling: Brush the circle with melted (not hot!) safe butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Add chocolate chips. GENTLY rill over the chips with your rolling pin to secure the chips in the dough.
- Cut the dough into 16 wedges by cutting in ¼’s, then each ¼ in 4th’s.
- Roll up each wedge starting from the wide edge up top into the center with the point going under the finished ruggelach. Place on parchment lined sheet pan with about 1-2” space in between. Brush ruggelach with melted butter and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.
- Bake immediately for approximately 20 minutes. The bottom will be lightly browned.Don’t overbake as the ruggelach dry a bit while cooling.
- Repeat with all the dough.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or wrap baked ruggelach well and freeze for up to one month.
- The dough rounds can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before rolling.
- Give the dough time to temper before rolling or it will break. It should not be warm, but it will help if the chill is off.
- Have all your fillings and toppings prepared before you start rolling, the dough will warm quickly and be difficult to work with.
As we all know, reading labels and preparing food when managing allergies is a job within itself with much responsibility. All the brands I use are ones that I have contacted, and Casey has eaten safely. That being said, I must remind…
Please do your own research when deciding which products and foods are safe for the allergies you manage. These are the ones that are safe for our needs but may not be for you. Everyone has different comfort levels with manufacturing and production procedures.
And, as a friendly reminder, always have 2 epinephrine auto injectors on hand!