Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends out there! Some of you may or may not know that even though I am Catholic, I am really a Jewish girl at heart and love to incorporate all the wonderful traditions and holidays into my own family’s. In fact, I lived on a kibbutz in Israel for a few months when I was 18, and was fortunate enough to learn the inner workings of how a real Jewish holiday is celebrated in the Holy Land.¬†
All of my recipes are Kosher Parve and Vegan-friendly, so they’re perfect desserts to make during the holidays. Some favorite Hanukkah cakes include my Emerald Isle Coffee Cake,¬†Gingerbread Cake and my newest recipe, Banana Chocolate Chip Cake. But if you’re looking to make Hanukkah cookies with your children, my Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Rugelach and Hanukkah Sugar Cookies are¬†delicious choices.
Rugelach means “little twists” in Hebrew, and the cookie is said to be originated from Jewish people in Poland. Interestingly, the recipe I use for the dough in Rugelach is a Kolache, courtesy of my mother-in-law who is a fabulous baker. These cream cheese cookies¬†resemble little flaky¬†danishes and can¬†be filled with a¬†thick fruit filling or cinnamon sugar.¬† I personally love the cinnamon sugar version, and instead of apricot I used red raspberry filling, just because I love the color and taste. If you are going to use apricot or red raspberry as a filling I suggest using Solo brand pie filling instead of preserves.¬†It is much thicker and holds up better in between the little layers of pastry.¬† For the cinnamon sugar filling, lightly brush the round pastry with melted dairy free margarine and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. They’re all so easy and the end result is delicious.
In order to make Hannukah Sugar Cookies, simply make my Classic Sugar Cookie recipe (in the book and posted below) and use a variety of Hannukah-themed cookie cutters to make desired shapes. You could certainly use decorator’s icing as well, but I always favor the pretty look of sparkling colored sugar. One of my readers recently emailed and asked where I get all my sprinkles and colored sugar (so many of us are limited by what we can by because of cross contamination with nut and milk containing products, i.e. Wilton Brand). I actually make my own colored sugar often; it’s easy, fun and you can create a rainbow of colors by mixing different varieties of food coloring. The kids think it’s kind of fun to make their own colored sugar too!
DAIRY, EGG AND NUT FREE RUGELACH
1 8 oz. container of Tofutti Dairy Free Cream Cheese
1 c. (2 sticks) dairy free margarine
2 c. unbleached all purpose flour
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all ingredients and chill for 3 hours. Then, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough into four balls and roll out on a well floured board to 1/8 inch thickness. Spread the surface with desired filling, but don’t overdo it. Leave a 1/4 inch border filling free at the edges. Use a pizza cutter to divide each dough circle into eight triangles. Roll up from the edges to the center tip and place seam side down on baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes, rotate baking sheet, and bake another 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
CINNAMON SUGAR FILLING: 2-3 T. melted dairy free margarine, 1/2 c. c. sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, and lightly brush pastry with melted margarine before sprinkling sugar so the mixture adheres to the dough.
APRICOT OR RASPBERY FILLING: 1 can Solo pie filling and spread a light layer over the pastry round. Note: Dust with confectioners’ sugar after baking.
CLASSIC SUGAR COOKIES FOR HANNUKAH WITH HOMEMADE BLUE SUGAR
3/4 cup dairy-free shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 recipe Homemade Blue Sugar for sprinkling
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, thoroughly combine shortening, sugar, applesauce, and vanilla. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk. Add to shortening mixture, and mix on low until combined. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour or more.
¬†Preheat oven to 400¬ļF, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Roll dough to a 1/4-inch thickness on floured board. Dip cookie cutters in flour, cut out desired shapes, and place on baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until very light golden. Cool completely on baking sheets.
HOMEMADE BLUE SUGAR FOR SPRINKLING
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3-5 drops blue food coloring.
Put sugar in small zip lock bag and drop food coloring directly into¬†bag. Zip up bag and shake vigorously, until mixture is thorough combined and the sugar crystals have become desired color. Store in airtight container or clean salt shaker.