Gluten-Free Rugelach

Shauna James Ahern
  • Yield: 20 pieces

The traditional filling for these cookies seems to be apricot jam and walnuts, with a hint of cinnamon sugar. But once you start thinking of these cookies as a template, you can fill them with anything. Raisins. Raspberry jam. Cocoa powder. Kumquat chutney. Whatever the heck you want. —Shauna James Ahern


4ounces cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3cup super-fine brown rice flour
1/4cup potato starch
2/3cup cornstarch
1/2teaspoon fine sea salt
2teaspoons xanthan gum
1large egg
1tablespoon water


Note: If you are not using a scale or measuring by weight, be sure to use only the flours specified in the above ingredients list. Subbing other flours by cup will not produce good results.

  1. Let the cream cheese and butter out on the counter about 10 minutes before you start working with them. Cut the cream cheese and the butter into 4 equal pieces. They should be starting to soften when you work with them.
  2. Put the brown rice flour, potato starch, cornstarch, salt, and xanthan gum into a food processor. Run the processor until the flours are well mixed.
  3. Drop the 4 cream cheese pieces and 4 butter pieces into the food processor. Pulse them 5 to 10 times, then turn on the processor full force. At first, the flours will spin round and round and you’ll think you need some liquid to make them stick. Be patient. After a few moments, you’ll see the forces start to gather. Watch carefully. Stop the processor when the dough looks like giant curds, before it has formed a solid ball.
  4. Form the dough into two balls with your hands. Cover them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes, to allow them to rest and harden up just a touch.
  5. Roll out the dough balls between two pieces of parchment paper. You want about a 10-inch circle at the end, as evenly round as you can. Peel off the top layer of parchment paper and spread your favorite fillings onto the dough, leaving at least 1 inch space around the edges. Using the bottom piece of parchment paper, nudge the edge of the dough forward until it begins to curl inward. Roll the dough, stopping after each turn to press down lightly. Keep the log of dough as tight as you can.
  6. Or, if you want little crescents instead, spread the filling on the rolled-out dough and press it in with your fingers. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into 8 triangles. Starting with the wide end, slowly roll up the triangle until you have a cresent roll. Voila!
  7. Put the shaped dough back into the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  8. Whip the egg and water together to form an egg wash. Brush the log or triangles of dough with an egg wash.
  9. Bake in the oven until the crust is firm and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Allow them to cool to room temperature before cutting them up.

—Recipe adapted from Lisa Laudato’s Nonny Edith and Dorie Greenspan by Shauna James Ahern, author of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.