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When it comes to holiday cooking baking I’m all about the classics that remind me of childhood Christmases spent baking loads of traditional cookies with my mom. Her cookie trays always included rolled rugelach cookies filled with jam and nuts, and they were always one of my favorites of the season.
Rugelach is made with a pastry dough that is soft and tender thanks to the addition of cream cheese. To create vegan rugelach, I swapped cream cheese with thick coconut yogurt, which has a texture similar to Greek-style yogurt to labneh. To save time I recommend a quality store-bought brand of naturally thick unsweetened plain coconut yogurt, such as Coyo. You can also strain a runnier non-dairy yogurt to thicken it. To do this, line a strainer with a coffee filter or nut-milk cloth and set the strainer over a bowl. Scoop the yogurt into the coffee filter/cloth and let it sit in the fridge for 1 hour or more so the liquid drains from it. Use twice as much yogurt as the recipe calls for, as the amount of yogurt is reduced once strained.
The pastry dough of this vegan rugelach is very similar to the Vegan Kolache cookie recipe I shared 2 Christmases ago. I was inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s rugelach recipe in their book Sweet and added baking powder to the dough, which makes it extra flaky.
I tried two different filling versions and found that using thick jam or fruit preserves is best to avoid the filling oozing all out during baking. The darker filling in the photos is made with thick fig preserves, which were excellent and super tasty. The lighter filling is made with apricot preserves which oozed out a bit more but were still very delicious. Plus the oozy bits make a sort of jam-toffee. Yum!
The jam layer is topped with a toasted nut (I used pecans but walnuts or hazelnuts are also good options) and cinnamon sugar mix. To make a nut-free version for my son, I omitted nuts and added dried currants. You can be creative with the filling combos and try different nuts and jams that you love.
I’m hoping to post 1 more of my all-time favorite holiday cookie recipes this week so stay tuned!
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