Shortbreads

Favorite Holiday Treats: Shortbread

by Sarah House in Featured Articles, Recipes

Growing-up, the winter holidays were a time for copious amounts of baking.  These treats were shared with our friends and neighbors (with none too few going right into our little bellies).  My mother taught my sister and me to make several traditional Finnish Christmas pastries along with her favorite shortbread recipe.  She’d cut the shortbread into bars (“fingers” to the Scots, who are the originators of and famous for their shortbreads), package the creamy white center cuts for gifts and let the family indulge in the browned and caramelized edges – my personal favorite.

There are numerous variations on shortbread but none stray too far from the classic mix of butter, sugar, flour and salt.  Creaming the large amount of butter and sugar then adding the flours makes for a tender and full flavored cookie.  Since butter plays a stand-out role in these recipes, treat yourself to using one of high quality.

I’ve been sworn to secrecy of my family recipes but I’m more than happy to provide these new recipes using some of our whole-grain flours.  I’ve also included a good stand-by traditional version, this one adapted courtesy of The Culinary Institute of America.

Gluten Free? No problem, try our Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix or this wonderful recipe from Elizabeth Barbone at Serious Eats.

Shortbreads

(L to R) Brown Sugar Spelt Shortbread, Traditional Shortbread (with unbleached pastry), Molasses Rye Shortbread

Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from The Culinary Institute of America

Yield approximately 20 servings

  • 1 ¾ cup Unbleached White Pastry Flour (210g)
  • ¼ cup White Rice Flour (40g)
  • ¾ tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 cup Butter, soft (227g)
  • ½ cup granulated Sugar (113g)
  • Granulated sugar or turbinado sugar, as desired
  1. Sift together flours and salt.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until just incorporated.  Do not overmix!
  3. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Mix on low until just incorporated.
  4. Roll the dough to ½-inch thick (if the dough is too soft to roll, shape into a 4×10-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic and chill until firm).  Cut into bars, circles or desired shape and dock in the center with a fork.  Wrap and chill until hard, 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  6. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.  For light coloring, do not separate bar cookies.  Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  7. Cool and store, wrapped, at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Whole Wheat Shortbread Cookies

Yield approximately 20 servings

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (240g)
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Butter, soft (227g)
  • ½ cup granulated Sugar (113g)
  • Granulated sugar or turbinado sugar, as desired
  1. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until just incorporated.  Do not overmix!
  3. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Mix on low until just incorporated.
  4. Roll the dough to ½-inch thick (if the dough is too soft to roll, shape into a 4×10-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic and chill until firm).  Cut into bars, circles or desired shape and dock in the center with a fork.  Wrap and chill until hard, 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  6. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.  For light coloring, do not separate bar cookies.  Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  7. Cool and store, wrapped, at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Brown Sugar Spelt Shortbread Cookies

Yield approximately 20 servings

  • 1 ½ cups Spelt Flour (180g)
  • ½ cup Unbleached White Pastry Flour (68g)
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Butter, soft (227g)
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar (113g)
  • Granulated sugar or turbinado sugar, as desired
  1. Sift together flours, salt and baking powder.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until just incorporated.  Do not overmix!
  3. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Mix on low until just incorporated.
  4. Roll the dough to ½-inch thick (if the dough is too soft to roll, shape into a 4×10-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic and chill until firm).  Cut into bars, circles or desired shape and dock in the center with a fork.  Wrap and chill until hard, 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  6. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.  For light coloring, do not separate bar cookies.  Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  7. Cool and store, wrapped, at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Rye Molasses Shortbread Cookies

Yield approximately 20 servings

  • 2 cups Light Rye Flour (208g)
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Butter, soft (227g)
  • ¼ cup granulated Sugar (57g)
  • 3 Tbsp Molasses (64g)
  • Granulated sugar or turbinado sugar, as desired
  1. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and molasses until just incorporated.  Do not overmix!
  3. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Mix on low until just incorporated.
  4. Roll the dough to ½-inch thick (if the dough is too soft to roll, shape into a 4×10-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic and chill until firm).  Cut into bars, circles or desired shape and dock in the center with a fork.  Wrap and chill until hard, 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  6. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.  For light coloring, do not separate bar cookies.  Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  7. Cool and store, wrapped, at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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torte3

Hey Kid Foodie: Apple Cheesecake Torte

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

Fifteen years ago this month, my husband and I were married. As the last in-law to join his family, I wanted to make a good impression at our first Christmas together with his side of the family. So I decided to bring a decadent dessert that I had never tried before. Bold move on my part, owing to the fact that I was not exactly seasoned in the kitchen. I chose to make an apple cheesecake torte and, to my surprise, it was an instant hit. So over the years, my apple cheesecake torte has come to be expected at our family holiday dinners. And I’m happy to oblige.torte

However, two years ago things changed. My son’s diagnosis of Celiac Disease put the brakes on the traditional shortbread crust that this recipe calls for. I remember the first few weeks of cooking and baking gluten free there was so much to learn and at times it felt overwhelming. The diagnosis came one week before Thanksgiving. That dinner was a blur as we were still learning what was safe to eat. But by the time Christmas dinner preparations began I was a bit more confident and ready to try to rework some of my past successes.  Imagine my delight when, on the shelves of my regular ol’ grocery store, I spied Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Shortbread Mix! It was exactly what I needed to easily bring back my torte.

torte2Notice I said easily. That was so important for me back then. I didn’t have to spend time experimenting with different flour mixes, operating in a world that still had so many unfamiliar terms. It was already done for me, wrapped up in a Bob’s Red Mill package and all I had to do was simply bake. I think it was then that Bob’s Red Mill gained my loyalty. As far as my torte was concerned that Christmas, no one detected anything different. My reputation remained intact within the family and my gluten free life was off to a great start.

Apple Cheesecake Tortetorte3

Crust:

Filling:

  • 8 ounce package Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • 5-6 small Apples, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the sides with cooking spray. Follow directions on Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix packaging. You will be instructed to divide the dough. Press one half of the dough into the springform pan and half way up the sides. For filling, in mixing bowl beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla and egg. Pour over crust. In a small mixing bowl, combine sliced apples with sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Mix well. Pour apple mixture over top of cheese mixture. Using a spoon, push the crust down on the sides, even with the apples. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400˚F, bake 20 – 25 minutes. Serve warm or refrigerate.

Heykidfoodie.com is a collaboration between Kid Foodie, a 10 year old food lover with Celiac Disease, and his mom. They started the blog to provide opportunities for Kid Foodie to enjoy fresh, delicious food and to inspire other kids and parents to expand their culinary horizons. Through videos, recipes and foodie field trips, they hope to show that kids can be excited about healthy foods even in spite of dietary restrictions.

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cakes

Presley’s Pantry: Banana Almond Poppy Seed Cakes

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a cake or something small to nibble on. I look forward to desserts during this time of year. Something to eat with my morning coffee or a small treat to keep me going while I decorate the house. These Mini Bundt Banana Almond Poppy Seed Cakes are the perfect solution.

Mini Bundt Banana Almond Poppy Seed Cakes

Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup Powered Sugar (sifted)
  • 2 Tbsp of Coconut Milk
  • garnish with Chopped Almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F

In a large bowl add flour, powdered sugar, almond meal, baking powder, and poppy seeds.

In a small bowl add bananas (smashed), vegetable oil, eggs, buttermilk and almond extract. Mix well.

Then add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer until well combined.

Spray a mini bundt pan with a non-stick baking spray. Then pour a heaping 1/3 cup of batter into each 2 1/2 -inch bundt mold. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes in pan then invert onto a cooling rack, and cool completely.

Now for the glaze…. whisk powered sugar and coconut milk together until creamy smooth. Drizzle over top of cakes then garnish with chopped almonds.

ENJOY!

By: Nicole Presley of Presley’s Pantry

www.presleyspantry.com

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Volcanoes

Going Free: Gluten and Dairy Free Volcanoes

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

As a kid I have very fond memories of my grandma’s house being full of Christmas cookies. I think she would start baking around Thanksgiving to ensure she had tons of cookies to feed all of us. My favorite cookies that she made were volcanoes and I have never found another recipe like them. They are almost like mini pecan pies but with walnuts and cherries in the middle for the “lava.” When my family first went dairy free and then gluten free, these cookies were put on the back burner. When Bob’s Red Mill asked me to work on holiday cookies for their blog I knew I wanted to work on my cherished cookies.  The result is great and I am thrilled to be able to share my favorite cookie with my kids!

Volcanoes

What you need:

Directions:

Cut the butter substitute and dairy free cream cheese into the flour until it is evenly combined. (Think pie dough not cookie dough, for the texture.) Form into a ball, cover and chill for at least one hour. While the dough is chilling place the dried cherries in either hot cherry juice or hot water to soak. To make the filling combine the finely chopped walnuts, egg, brown sugar and vanilla together in a bowl. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and roll into 24 balls. Place each ball into a mini muffin tin and press into a bowl shape to the top of the muffin tin. You do not want the “crust” to be thin or they will break when you take them out of the pan. Place a small amount of the filling into each mini muffin tin. You want just enough filling to reach the top of the mini muffin tin because if the filling over flows the tin it will be hard to get the cookie out. Place one soaked cherry in the middle of each cookie for the “lava” and place into the oven. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Let cool in muffin tin before removing using a butter knife to run around the edge. Store in an air tight container or freeze for longer storage.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Rebecca is the single mother to two wonderful boys and author of Going Free: Helping you move to a gluten and dairy free life! She and her two boys live a gluten, dairy and food coloring free life. Rebecca is always looking for easier ways to do things. When she first learned that we had to eliminate these foods, she did some research and cleaned out the cabinets and we hasn’t looked back. Sure there are days that she misses the convince of eating foods full of gluten but knows that in the long run they are all healthier for it. Find more articles and recipes from her at Going Free.

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gingerbread cake3

Betsy Life: Gluten Free Gingerbread Layer Cake

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

This decadent, gluten free dessert comes from Betsy of Betsy Life. Betsylife is a sunny place that focuses on cooking, healthy living, and creating the life you crave. Betsy is all about making time for the things you love in life, expanding horizons, and enjoying the small things.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Layer Cake

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease 2, 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream molasses, sugar, and butter until fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add in the ginger.

In a separate bowl, sift together gluten free flour, xanthan gum, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. ½ a cup at a time beat the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until well combined. Meanwhile, whisk the baking soda into the boiling water. Mix water mixture into the rest of the batter (be careful of splattering!)

Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack and cool entirely

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1- 8oz package Cream Cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) Butter at room temperature
  • Zest from one Orange
  • 1/2 tsp Orange Extract
  • 2-½ cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add orange zest and extract. Slowly beat in powdered sugar until well combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whip heavy cream into stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into frosting.

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Mini Choco Coco Donuts_sm

Blondie’s Cakes & Things: Mini Gluten Free Choco-Coco Donuts

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

These delightful little donuts come from Anna of Blondie’s Cakes and Things. We love them because they’re cute and delicious, of course, but also because they use coconut flour- a high fiber, gluten free flour. Don’t be scared of all of the eggs, coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid and eggs allow the baked good to come out fluffy and delicate. Of herself and her blog, Anna writes, “I started my blog, Blondie’s Cakes, a few years ago just so I’d have a place to catalog all my kitchen exploits. By then it’s been years since I started hovering over the shoulders of my friend’s aunts and grandmas, taking notes and watching them taste taste taste, sneaking in my spoon or sticking my finger in the sauce when I could. All along I’ve been hoarding up the recipes for some distant day in the future when I could pull them out and share them with someone, and through my blog that “someone” has turned into my readers. Along the way I’ve started writing and taking pictures and I like that my blog is pushing me to keep trying new things. I hope I never stop learning.” Enjoy!

Mini Gluten Free Choco-Coco Donuts

makes ~3 dozen mini donuts
recipe adapted from Comfy Belly @ comfybelly.com

  • 1/2 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Carob Powder
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil, slightly warmed
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Cherry Juice, Milk or Amaretto

Special equipment: Baking pan with mini donut shapes, though you can also bake these into cupcakes if you like.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine all ingredients (except for powdered sugar and juice) in a bowl and whisk either by hand or a mixer until completely blended. Scoop into a plastic zippy bag.

3. If your donut pan is non-stick you are good to go, otherwise lightly grease it with a bit of vegetable oil.

4. Snip the corner off of your plastic bag and pipe the batter into your donut mold, about 1/2 full if you want true donut shapes and 3/4 full if you don’t care so much and just want thicker donuts (I chose the latter route).

5. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you have a regular donut size pan or if you’re making cupcakes, your baking time will double, so keep that in mind.

6. While the cupcakes are cooling, mix together the powdered sugar and your liquid of choice to make the icing. Once the cupcakes are cool, dunk them in and decorate as you like.

Note: These keep really well in a tightly sealed container in the fridge and get even more tender/moist by the 2nd day….if they last that long.

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macarons1

Joy’s Misadventures: Nut Free Macarons

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

Greetings from the West Coast

I would like to introduce myself.  My name is Joy and my blog is Joy’s Misadventures.  I take life one adventure at a time but in my case, Misadventures is more appropriate description.  I enjoy sharing my successes, frustration, mistakes, and failures. 

A little background on me, I have/had allergies since childhood.  Between myself and my brother there was always an awareness of our surroundings and restrictions on what we were able to eat.  I vividly remember one occasion when my little brother ate a strawberry at a local restaurant.  Then all a sudden we had to leave and get medication into him because his throat started to close.   Since then, he never ate another strawberry.

Unfortunately, my daughter inherited similar allergic reactions from my side of the family.  I have always been aware of other people’s allergies but my daughter made me very cautious when choosing foods she is able to eat. 

At an early age, we found that she was allergic to seafood and nuts.  We walked into a pizza parlor that had peanut shells on the floor and within 5 minutes after order, she turned bright read and started to itch uncontrollably.  From that point on, I tried to find alternatives to foods I would think she would enjoy.

When I first started to experiment in making macarons, I felt bad telling her she couldn’t have any.  I would always feel bad when I would have to deny her of anything, especially food.  I started to experiment in making alternatives ingredients for the little cookies. 

My first attempt to a nut free macarons, it came out quite stiff and chalky.  I substitute coconut flour for the almond flour without altering the amount.  I had a feeling the coconut flour would work I needed to adjust the amount used.

According to the package 20% of the original amount in the recipe would be appropriate when using coconut flour.  For example, if it required 100 grams of almond flour then 20g of coconut flour could be substituted.  This is due to the dryness of the coconut flour.  After quite a bit of experimenting, I came up with this recipe.

Coconut-banana Macaron with a Key Lime-White chocolate Ganache

Makes 20 Macarons

Coconut-Banana  Macaron

Meringue

  • 175 Grams (3/4 + 1/8 Cup) of Sugar
  • 67 Grams (2 Large Egg Whites) of Egg Whites

Flour Mixture

  • 68 Grams (1/2 Cup) of Ground Banana Chips
  • 20 Grams (1/4 Cup) of Coconut Flour
  • 150 Grams (1 ¾ Cup) of Powder Sugar
  • 67 Grams (2 Large Egg Whites) of Egg Whites

Directions

  1. Take the 1st set of egg whites into a large metal bowl and add the sugar.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until the sugar is absorbed by the egg whites.
  2. In the meantime mix the coconut flour, powder sugar, and grounded banana chips.  I used a food processor.
  3. Place the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Whip the egg whites until it becomes medium peaks.  Slightly stiff but still glossy.  Set this aside.
  5. Take the flour/powder sugar mixture then stir in the other set of egg whites.
  6. Fold in the whipped egg whites into the flour mixture until it is well incorporated.  The consistency resemble marshmallow but a little bit runnier.  You should be able to make an indent in the mixture and it may hold the shape for a couple of seconds before it starts smoothing out.
  7. Place the mixture into a piping bag and pipe out 1 inch discs on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Separate the cookies an inch apart.  You will notice the cookies will keep the shape while starting to spread slightly.
  8. Let the cookies rest for an hour or two until a film is formed over the cookies.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 300F.  Place another cookie pan inside of the oven while it pre-heats (this helps when creating feet).
  10. Place the cookies on the first cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely before removing from the pan.
  12. Match up the cookie according to size.
  13. Make the Filling

Key Lime and White Chocolate Ganache

  • 11 Ounces of White Chocolate
  • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 3 Tbs of Key Lime Juice

Directions

  1. Place the white chocolate and key lime juice in a medium bowl.
  2. Pour the cream into a medium sauce pan and heat over a medium heat.
  3. Once it starts to bubble, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.
  4. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.
  5. Stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth.
  6. Let it cool to room temp.  This may take an hour.
  7. Once it is cooled, whip the chocolate at a low then a medium speed until it because fluffy.

Assemble

  1. Spread the filling on one of the cookies.
  2. Place the matching side on the other side to form a sandwich cookie.
  3. Serve
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Hannukah

Adventures with Nancy Rose: Pakoras

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

Hannukah Pakoras

My blog, Adventures with Nancy Rose, is about easy, plant-based recipes and about my culinary and creative adventures.  Pakoras, one of the most popular of Indian finger foods, are a favorite of mine when dining out, and I decided they were definitely worth learning how to make at home.  Turned out they’re really easy, delicious, and perfect for holiday entertaining.

I did a twist on potato latkes for the Hanukkah version (notice how pakora rhymes with menorah and hora?).  For Christmas, a bit of green kale with white cauliflower for texture and contrast are perfect when served with tamarind (red) and mint (green) chutneys.

These recipes can be modified to serve a small group or a crowd.  Better plan on making more than you think because they are fantastic!

Holiday Pakoras

Hanukkah version

Batter:

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Flour
  • 1½ Tbsp dried Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • ½ tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Cold Water

Christmas Pakoras

Filling:

  • ½ large White Onion, diced
  • 2½ cups Baby Purple Potatoes, diced
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 cup Low-Fat Plain Yogurt
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • ½ tsp White Pepper
  • 1 Scallion, minced

 

Christmas version

Batter:

  • Same as above but add ½ cup chopped Cilantro

Filling:

  • 3 cups Kale leaves, chopped into 1” x 1” pieces
  • 2 cups Cauliflower, chopped into ¾” x ½” pieces

Dipping Sauces:

  • Mint Chutney
  • Tamarind Chutney

Make each pakora batter by sifting the listed ingredients (except the water) together.  Gradually add cold water and blend until it’s the consistency of pancake batter.

For Hanukkah, add the onions and potatoes to the batter and stir to coat.

For Christmas, add the kale and cauliflower to the batter and stir to coat.

Pour vegetable oil into a heavy, medium sized stock pot, and heat the oil until a drop of batter into the oil sizzles, about 5-7 minutes.

Fill a tablespoon or so with the battered veggies and carefully place it in the hot oil.  You should be able to fit at least 4 separate pakaros into the pot at the same time.  Fry them about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown  and then remove them to a paper towel lined plate or pan.  Continue frying the remaining batter.

For Hanukkah, mix the dipping sauce ingredients together and serve with the hot Hanukkah pakoras.

For Christmas, if you’re ambitious you can make your own chutneys, or do like I do and get them from your favorite, local Indian restaurant, and serve with the hot Christmas pakoras.

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roulads2

Wicked Good Kitchen: Honey-Nut Rugelach (GF)

by Guest in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Recipes

When the holiday baking season starts, I immediately think of rich, buttery, chewy-flaky rugelach and they are promptly placed at the very top of my baking list. I have been baking rugelach since 1988 and introduced them to my future in-laws who promptly adopted them as a Christmas favorite that same year. In the coming months, I made several improvements to the recipe before honing it for good in 1990 as a young bride. Rugelach are my husband’s favorite cookie in the universe, so I had placed a high priority on perfecting this scrumptious holiday classic. In fact, I think he married me for my rugelach recipe! My hubby, Stefan, is Polish and it seems rather fitting that rugelach is his favorite cookie—it’s in his genes.

Rugelach (sometimes spelled “Rugalach”) are more than a holiday cookie. In fact, rugelach are pastry-cookies (cookie-pastries?) and should be considered an everyday treat—not reserved solely for special occasions. However, special occasions always seem to be the time of year when we devote our efforts to baking homemade rugelach due to albeit simple but somewhat time-consuming steps involved. Rugelach are Eastern European pastry-cookies comprised of delicate tangy cream cheese dough filled with a variety of slightly sweet but lip-smacking fillings and have become a traditional Jewish favorite. In fact, the name has origins from the Polish word “rogal” for croissant pastries which resemble horns. The Yiddish word “ruglach” carries the same meaning. Since the Polish language influenced Yiddish, the term probably originated in Polish, first, and was later translated into Yiddish. No one really knows which came first, so the debate continues. Still others, like Certified Master Pastry Chef and instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, as well as author of several books including The Professional Pastry Chef and The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef, Chef Bo Friberg, contend that the word rugelach is derived from the Yiddish word “rugel” which translates to “royal”. Interestingly, the “ach” ending of the word “rugelach” specifies plural while the “el” in the center signifies petite. When put together, one Yiddish translation is “little twists” which is so appropriate for this scrumptious pastry-cookie of twisty goodness! In the end, however, the word “rugelach” stuck and the term is most definitely Yiddish.

Traditionally, rugelach are filled with a fruit jam, marmalade or preserves, sugar or brown sugar (or a blend of both), spices and chopped nuts—even perhaps almond paste or marzipan—and dried fruit such as raisins, sultanas (golden raisins), dried cherries or cranberries and currants as well as other chopped dried fruits such as apricots, dates and figs. Sometimes, poppy seed paste or prune butter (lekvar) are used as a filling in rugelach making them similar to Hamantashen. More recently, chocolate has found its way into rugelach filling such as with chocolate paste (made with melted chocolate, an egg or two and powdered sugar for binding and sweetness) or simply chopped chocolate or mini chocolate morsels sprinkled over the filling. Chocolate paired with raspberry jam has been a favorite for the classic tart-berry and sweet-chocolate flavor combination heralded by chocolate lovers the world over—to include Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in her James Beard award-winning cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours. However, the most popular preparation over the years has been to fill rugelach with apricot preserves, sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped nuts and, sometimes, golden raisins. This is probably due to the heritage and traditional prevalence of Polish cookies such as buttery Apricot Tea Cookies (thumbprints) and especially Polish Apricot-Filled Cookies (known as “kolaczki” or “kolacky”) which are pastry-cookies made with a cream cheese pastry. In the case of Kolacky, the cookies are fashioned into a bowtie or envelope shape from a square piece of cut pastry dough with the opposite corners overlapping in the center which are pinched to seal in the apricot filling. Since the advent of rugelach, innovative bakers have been playing around in the kitchen to create their own rugelach twist to meet their dreams and expectations of the perfect rugelach pastry-cookie. Bakers use either a cream cheese or sour cream pastry dough (sometimes using yeast for leavening as was the case with “butter horns” in earlier days) and then concoct different flavor combinations with filling ingredients. However, as Chef Bo says, “Good rugelach should be more chewy than flaky, so it is important not to make the dough too short”. I couldn’t agree more.

Crescent-shaped Rugelach

When I first found a recipe for rugelach, with a buttery cinnamon-sugar-nut filling with currants, in its classic horn shape for “walnut horns”, I knew I had to bake them immediately! And, I did. Since I had baked Pecan Tassies (miniature pecan tarts) in my teen years as part of my holiday baking, and was familiar with the magic (read: buttery, tender flaky goodness) that happens when baking with cream cheese pastry, I thought to myself that rugelach must be some sort of a fancy rolled cookie version of the tasty pecan tarts. Well, I wasn’t far off! The recipe I found was by none other than the veritable “First Lady of Desserts”, Maida Heatter, from her James Beard award-winning cookbook, Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies, published in 1977. Let me tell you, Maida’s recipe rocked my baking world! Her cream cheese pastry recipe performed flawlessly. (At the time, the only changes I made were to add sugar and use kosher salt.) And, her filling was truly extraordinary. Maida did not call for any classic fruit preserves. Instead, she called for 3 tablespoons of melted butter to be spread over the chilled and rolled dough in a manner similar to cinnamon rolls before sprinkling on the remaining filling ingredients. After doing some research on this new-to-me rugelach cookie, I learned about the classic filling using fruit preserves along with sugar, spices, dried fruit and nuts. Surely, I thought, the sticky-fruity-tartness yet mild sweetness of fruit preserves in the filling would create outstanding rugelach! And, so it went. I kept testing and retesting over the next year and that’s when it occurred to me to add honey versus butter or fruit preserves to the filling. Suddenly, a new version of rugelach was born.

Roulade-shaped rugelach (see notes and step-by-step photos below)

Then, in 1990, just before my October wedding, I happened to be shopping at Hudson’s department store in my home state of Michigan. On my way out, on the upper level, as I breezed by the book department, there on a table, propped up in a display, I saw the most glorious book cover ever conceptualized by man. I was so drawn to it! The cover featured the traditional Christmas colors of red and green, a small photo of a woman in similar style to the iconic Betty Crocker in an oval frame and the image on the cover was a beautiful mosaic of tempting holiday cookies of all sorts imaginable—even an ethereal snowflake seemingly falling down from above. There it was. The cover read: “Rose’s Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Cake Bible.” As I flipped through the pages on the way to checkout, I was transported to Christmases past baking German-Hungarian family heirloom recipes with my Grandma Gigi. Having grown up admiring my mother’s copy of Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, baking from it during my pre-teen years (and dreaming of baking every single cookie recipe sandwiched between the covers!) and, later, after devouring Rose Levy Beranbaum’s award-winning cookbook, The Cake Bible, from 1988, I swear…I felt as if Rose had written this comprehensive and stunningly beautiful holiday cookie cookbook especially for me—and, just in time for my upcoming nuptials! In short, it was Rose’s recipe for rugelach in Rose’s Christmas Cookies, using Lora Brody’s recipe for cream cheese pastry, which had me adding vanilla extract to my rugelach dough. Pure genius! And, from Lora’s recipe, which calls for ¼ cup sugar, it confirmed that I was on track when I had added 2 tablespoons of sugar to my recipe for rugelach dough to achieve a tender and slightly sweet pastry. Later, when I saw that the esteemed Nancy Baggett had used honey in her filling recipe for rugelach, in her exceptional cookbook, The International Cookie Cookbook, published in 1988 (but, not added to my cookbook library until early 1991), I knew I was onto something wonderful—a new timeless classic.

Through Christmas 1996, I had always fashioned my rugelach into crescent shapes. It wasn’t until the fall of 1997 when I learned how to shape rugelach into roulades. Ever since, we have enjoyed them this way. Our thanks go out to the very talented Lisa Yockelson (if you do not know who she is, shame on you!) for her recipe for rugelach and contribution to Cook’s Illustrated magazine (the October 1997 issue to be precise) which included instructions along with helpful illustrations for shaping rugelach into roulades as well as crescents. Roulade-shaped rugelach are our absolute favorite. Why? With the roulade shape, you roll up in cinnamon roll fashion and then slice with a sharp knife and bake. Voila! Not only are the roulades simple to assemble, but they are like holding a heavenly, tiny rolled “finger pie” in your hand to savor alone. Most importantly, the several layers of delicate pastry in its rolled glory allow your teeth to crunch through each blissful tender-flaky layer upon first bite. Soon, the contrasting moist and tangy-sweet yet chewy filling flavors dance on your tongue. No matter your preference in shape, experiencing homemade rugelach is a gastronomic cookie-tasting sensation like no other!

Step 1 for shaping into roulades (see notes below), roll into 10″ x 8″ rectangle, fill with 1/4 of the filling and liberally flour

In closing, when Bob’s Red Mill asked me to guest blog and provide a holiday recipe for December, I was honored. Knowing that I had an opportunity to share my recipe for rugelach, a gluten-free variation of the original, to satisfy the cravings of the gluten-free community for some tasty holiday rugelach, I jumped at the chance. I hope my Honey-Nut Rugelach recipe, with filling variations for Baklava, Cranberry Orange Pecan and Chocolate Chip Cookie Rugelach, will become a holiday family favorite and perhaps new tradition. Yes, I believe for the first time ever, Baklava meets Rugelach in a published recipe. For me, it was a natural progression and an extension of my deep affection for yet another buttery, flaky, gooey-honey-sweet and nutty dessert, Baklava. From there, it was effortless to create the irresistible Cranberry Orange Pecan variety with a spicy flavor combination especially suitable for the winter holidays. And, since I simply adore chocolate chip cookies, I couldn’t resist creating a filling variation for Chocolate Chip Cookie Rugelach. From my kitchen to yours…Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas! ~Stacy

Step two for shaping rugelach into roulades- roll filled rectangles into 10″ long cylinders, seam side down.

Gluten-Free Honey-Nut Rugelach

The gluten-free flour blend for this recipe incorporates less rice flour than ordinary blends and more protein flour with adequate starches to achieve ideal rugelach which should be more chewy than flaky.

Ingredients:

For the Cream Cheese Pastry:

For the Honey-Nut Filling:

  • 1¼ cups finely chopped Walnuts (or pecans)
  • ¾ cup firmly packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp Honey

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp Light Cream (half and half) or Whole Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tsp ground Cinnamon

Step 2 for shaping rugelach into roulades, cut into 1-inch slices

Directions:

Prepare the Pastry:  In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum and baking powder; set aside. Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese. Beat in sugar, vanilla and salt; mix until well combined. Add flour mixture in two batches beating just until incorporated. Scrape dough onto sheet of plastic wrap using rubber spatula; divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion of dough by patting out into either small 5-inch disks (for crescents) or small 4- by 6-inch rectangles (for roulades). Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Prepare the Filling & Topping:  In a medium bowl, combine walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add honey and stir to incorporate using a fork and finishing with your fingers; set aside. Pour cream or milk into a small prep bowl or cup; set aside. In a small prep bowl or cup, combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

Arrange rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350° F. Line insulated baking sheets with parchment; set aside. Alternatively, place a half baking sheet atop another and line with parchment. Using insulated baking sheets will prevent these delicate pastry-cookies from overbrowning on the bottom.

Shaping rugelach into roulades: Using a sharp paring knife, slice ends of cylinder to create neat, flush ends and discard scraps. With paring knife, slice each cylinder into eight 1-inch thick roulades. This step is made easier by first scoring (marking lightly with paring knife) the cylinder’s midpoint

To Shape Rugelach into Crescents:  Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to soften slightly on countertop for 12 to 15 minutes so it becomes pliable for rolling. On lightly floured surface, and working with 1 disk of dough at a time, with a floured rolling pin roll each disk into a circle measuring 10 inches in diameter and about ⅛-inch thick. Rotate dough often while rolling and add extra flour to surface as necessary to prevent sticking. With a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut each circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges. Sprinkle ¼ of filling evenly onto wedges; press down gently on filling. Starting with rounded edge, roll each wedge of dough jelly-roll fashion toward the point, tucking point under, and form into crescent shape by bending. Use a pastry brush to whisk away excess flour from dough as you roll. Place crescents 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

To Shape Rugelach into Roulades:  Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to soften slightly on countertop for 12 to 15 minutes so it becomes pliable for rolling. On lightly floured surface, and working with 1 rectangle of dough at a time, with a floured rolling pin roll each piece of dough into a rectangle measuring about 10- by 8-inches and ⅛-inch thick. Lift dough often while rolling and add extra flour to surface as necessary to prevent sticking. Sprinkle ¼ of filling evenly onto rectangle to within ¼-inch of edges; press down gently on filling. Starting from long side, roll dough tightly into a cylinder and place seam side down. Use a pastry brush to whisk away excess flour from dough as you roll.

Shaping rugelach into roulades: Score evenly into eight equal pieces.

Using a sharp paring knife, slice ends of cylinder to create neat, flush ends and discard scraps. With paring knife, slice each cylinder into eight 1-inch thick roulades. This step is made easier by first scoring (marking lightly with paring knife) the cylinder’s midpoint, again and again between each section, until 8 sections are scored; slice through markings for 8 even roulades. Place roulades 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets seam side down.

Bake the Rugelach:  For both crescent- and roulade-shaped rugelach, brush tops of unbaked pastry-cookies with cream or milk and generously sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 22 minutes or until golden brown and filling bubbles. Cool on wire racks. Carefully remove cookies using a small metal cookie spatula and trim any overflowed filling using a paring knife. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely and store in airtight containers. Rugelach can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Yield:  Makes 32 pastry-cookies.

Shaping rugelach into roulades: Score evenly into eight equal pieces.

Variations:

Traditional Rugelach:  For the dough, replace all gluten-free flours with 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour using dip and sweep method for measuring; omit xanthan gum and baking powder.

Baklava Rugelach:  For the filling, replace finely chopped walnuts (or pecans) with mixture of finely chopped almonds, pistachios and walnuts to equal 1¼ cups. (Use all walnuts if preferred.) Add 2 teaspoons very finely grated lemon zest, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves and ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.

Cranberry Orange Pecan Rugelach:  For the filling, use pecans in place of walnuts and add 2 teaspoons very finely grated orange zest and ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. If desired, for spicier filling, also add ⅛ teaspoon each ground ginger and cloves. Sprinkle ¼ cup dried cranberries which have been finely chopped over filling on each piece of rolled out dough before shaping rugelach. You will need a total of 1 cup dried cranberries for entire recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Rugelach:  For the filling, omit cinnamon (cinnamon will be in the topping) and add 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Sprinkle ¼ cup mini chocolate morsels over filling on each piece of rolled out dough before shaping rugelach. You will need a total of 1 cup mini chocolate morsels for entire recipe.

Shaping rugelach into roulades: slice through markings for 8 even roulades. Place roulades 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets seam side down.

Tips:

Gluten-Free Flour Blend for Rolling Dough:  When rolling out gluten-free cookie dough, such as for this recipe, I like to use a blend of equal parts by volume sorghum, sweet white rice and tapioca flours. Prepare 1 cup using ⅓ cup each to keep on hand as needed.

How to Measure Gluten-Free Flours for this Recipe:  This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. When measuring Bob’s Red Mill® gluten-free flours for this recipe, I used the method of spooning the flour into the dry measuring cup and leveling off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.

To Make Rugelach Successfully:  Be sure to brush away excess flour from dough when rolling to ensure tender rugelach and prevent dry, tough rugelach. Always start with a clean surface each time rolling more dough by brushing away excess flour and filling between batches. Use a metal dough cutter to help start the rolling process to form the cylinder for roulade-shaped rugelach. Use insulated baking sheets to prevent rugelach from overbrowning. And, if using raisins, dried cranberries or similar, plump them first if they are too dry.

To Prepare Rugelach Dough in Advance:  Rugelach dough can be prepared in advance much to the delight of busy holiday bakers. Wrap well in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Also, the dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. To freeze dough, enclose plastic-wrapped dough in heavy duty zip-top freezer bags. Simply thaw in the refrigerator while still wrapped in plastic.

To Freeze Baked Rugelach:  These pastry-cookies freeze extremely well in heavy duty zip-top freezer bags for up to 2 months. Be sure to expel as much air as possible. For layering cookies inside freezer bags, divide with sheets of wax paper as the wax paper will protect appearance of cookies as well as absorb excess moisture.

Baked roulades

Article, recipes, headnotes and photographs Copyright © 2012 Stacy Bryce. All rights reserved.

Stacy Bryce is a recipe developer and member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). Her latest passion is developing gluten-free recipes after sending a friend who is Italian, and a recently diagnosed celiac, four varieties of gluten-free biscotti as a Christmas gift last year. Her friend’s response touched her deeply and she vowed to share gluten-free versions of her original recipes whenever possible via her new blog. You can visit Stacy’s blog at WickedGoodKitchen.com and follow her on Twitter.

These recipes were developed and shared with Bob’s Red Mill to support the food pantry of Saint Vincent De Paul Center, Hamilton County, Indiana, for those in need and on a special diet. Bob’s Red Mill has agreed to send a few cases of certified gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats to the pantry on behalf of Stacy, Wicked Good Kitchen and Bob’s Red Mill.

Article, recipes, headnotes and photographs Copyright © 2012 Stacy Bryce. All rights reserved.

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scones

Created By Diane: Chocolate Cherry Coconut Buttermilk Scones

by Guest in Featured Articles, Recipes

These delightful cherry, coconut and chocolate scones comes from Diane of Created by Diane. These would be perfect to serve for breakfast on a special day or have with tea and coffee for an afternoon get together with friends. Of her blog, Diane says, “on Created by Diane you will find sweet and savory recipes. I enjoy cooking and baking and sharing what is going on in my kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home, follow me along my tasty journey.”

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Buttermilk Scones

Mix together, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk, emulsion along with eggs. Add in coconut, cherries and chocolate chips. Mix until blended, then knead on a floured surface and cut into desired shape with cookie cutter or knife.

Bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes until golden.

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