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Cranberry Pecan Bourbon Rugelach (Vegan, Gluten-free!)

In Crowd Pleasers, Sweet Things on November 24, 2013 at 10:13 am

Whaaaaaat? Yeah, that’s right. And they are so, so so SO good! I’d never made or even tasted rugelach before I whipped these up, so even though I was obsessed with them from the first bite I had nothing to compare them to and I had to call on a panel of rugelach experts to tell me whether or not these tasted legit. The responses were an overwhelming “Yes!”, and the proof was in the empty plate at the end of Thanksgivukkah. I’m a proud food-mama!

Rugelach

Last-minute iPhone photo before I was out the door. They may not be the prettiest, but they sure are delicious!

From start to finish these will take you about 2 hrs 45 mins to make, but some of that time is going to be spend twiddling your thumbs (or washing dishes) while you wait for the dough to chill.

You will get about 3 dozen out of this recipe.

Ok, ready? Here we go. We’re going to do this in a few steps, so read through the whole recipe first before you shop for ingredients or start in.

Step 1: Make the Dough

Dough Ingredients:
2 ½ cups Bob’s gluten-free all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup (8 oz) Earth Balance (at room temp)
1 cup (8 oz) Tofutti cream cheeze (also at room temp)

Dough Instructions:
Cream together butter and cream cheese in a large-ish bowl. With an electric mixer on medium or your monstrously strong arms, gradually add in flour and salt and mix til smooth. Separate into three balls and flatten each ball into a disk about 1 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter, then wrap each one separately in waxed paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (You could make the dough the night before and cool it overnight, but I like to do all my baking in one fell swoop so this recipe assumes that you will do the same.)

Step 2: Make the Bourbon Vanilla Cranberry Sauce

This recipe makes about 2 cups of sauce and you only need 1 cup for the rugelach, so save the rest for your holiday meal. Or halve the recipe. I advise against doing that, though, as you will discover that this sauce is amazing and you’re going to want it for more than just the rugelach.

Sauce Ingredients:
16 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup beet sugar or cane sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbs bourbon (I used Burnside Bourbon from Eastside Distilling right here in beautiful Portland, OR)
1 Tbs vanilla extract

Sauce Instructions:
Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and begin to break down, which will take about 10-15 minutes. Stir well and remove from heat. Using a sieve or small-gauge strainer, strain the sauce until you have a cup of cranberries, conserving the juice and adding it back to the stuff in the pot. Refrigerate the strained cranberries separately from the rest of the sauce, as this is what you will use for the rugelach filling.

If you want a jellied cranberry sauce, now would be the time to add in your agar, while the sauce is still hot. I didn’t do that, so I can’t lay those instructions on you. But if you know what agar even is, I’m going to assume you’ve worked with it before and can probably figure out what needs to be done to make the cranberry jelly happen.

~Interlude~
Time to wash dishes while the dough and sauce cool.
Once almost 2 hours have passed since you put the dough in the fridge, you can start to make the filling.
~End Interlude~

Step 3: Make the Filling

Filling Ingredients:
1 cup cranberry sauce
1 ½ cups lightly toasted, finely chopped pecans
1 cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
½ cup Earth Balance
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the Earth Balance, making sure to constantly stir and swirl so as not to burn it. As soon as it gets bubbly ant is 100% liquid, take it off the heat and add it to the chopped pecans. Add vanilla extract, cinnamon, palm sugar, and cranberry sauce, and mix until combined.

Step 4: All Together Now

Take one disk from the fridge and unwrap it onto a lightly floured surface. Add more flour to the top, and roll with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle that is as symmetrical as you can get it. Use as much flour as you need here to make it work because with all that cream cheeze and Earth Balance in there, if your kitchen is warm (as kitchens are wont to get when the oven is on and stuff) your dough will get soft and unruly pretty fast. Flour helps a lot. Still, if the dough gets unmanageable at this stage, lay it on one of the three nonstick baking sheets you will need for this recipe (unless you want to cook in stages, which is fine too) and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes, until it’s chilled again.

Once the dough is rolled out, spread a third of the filling mixture on top of the dough, all the way to the edges of the circle. Since the filling is going to be all gooey, it’s best to spoon four or five blobs onto different spots on the dough, and then use your fingers to distribute the mixture evenly, making sure to get it all the way to the edges. With a pizza cutter or a knife (pizza cutter works way better), cut the dough into 16 equal wedges. Roll each slice from the outside in (start at the wide end and roll towards the point), and then place the roll onto a cookie sheet (remember, you should have 3 cookie sheets for this, or you can use your one cookie sheet and do three baking sessions, one after the other). Repeat this process with the other disks of dough.

Bake the rugelach for 17 minutes, turning the cookie sheet halfway through baking, until set. If you’re new-ish to gluten free baking, you should not try to use a lightly golden top as your guide to whether or not these babies are done. Gluten free flour doesn’t really do that. Just pay attention to whether or not the cookies have set and you will be fine.

Cool completely before serving, and please ignore whatever stupid ad you see below this text because I had nothing to do with it.

Smoked Nut Spread (aka vegan cheese)

In Crowd Pleasers on January 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm

When you call something “cheese” people expect it to taste like cheese.  Nothing that is not cheese tastes like cheese, really.  It can be cheesy, maybe, but it will never be cheese.  However, it can still be delicious, and I promise you that whatever you choose to call it, this spread is truly f’in delicious.

This recipe will make two balls of the stuff. Well, you can try to roll it into balls and that will probably work, but I actually just put huge dollops into two bowls, round off the tops, sprinkle them with paprika, and chill them overnight.

1 block extra firm tofu
1 cup each unsalted pine nuts, pecans, and cashews
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp Earth Balance
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
3 tsp yellow mustard
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbs paprika or smoked paprika if you like it extra smoky
2 Tbs salt or seasoned salt
3 Tbs red wine vinegar
4 Tbs lemon juice
4 Tbs onion
6 drops liquid smoke (you can get this at Fred Meyer or anywhere really. It’s in the condiment section, usually by the hot sauce and stuff)

Put all of this into a food processor and whir until it’s smooth. Adjust as needed; sometimes it will still taste too much like nutritional yeast, which means add more mustard. Sometimes you will need to add more salt. Sometimes it will be too smoky and that means add more red wine vinegar. Just play with it a little until you get it just where you want it. Then roll it into balls or whatever you decide to do, and chill it overnight.

Holiday Cereal Snack

In Crowd Pleasers on November 12, 2009 at 9:06 am

6 Tbs melted Earth Balance, or olive or canola oil, in a large baking pan
6 cups cereals such as rice chex, cheerios, whatever you like (nothing sweet, ew)
A cup or two of whatever nuts you like – I always use 2 parts cashews to 1 part peanuts
4 cups pretzels
4 Tbs worcestershire sauce – the regular stuff has anchovies in it, but Annie’s Organics makes a vegan one
4 Tbs stone ground mustard
1 Tbs tamari
4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp each onion & garlic powders

Mix seasonings into margarine/oil. Add cereals, nuts, and pretzels and carefully keep stirring and folding until well coated with the oil. Bake at 250 for 45 minutes, stirring well every 15 minutes. Or you can do the first stint at 300 and then turn it down to 250. Also, it doesn’t hurt to leave it in a few minutes longer than 45; it really just depends on how browned you like it. Drain & cool on black & white newspaper.