These dairy free rogaliki are delicious cookies filled with jelly. Traditionally, the dough is made with cream cheese, but you’ll be hard pressed to tell the difference.
Rogaliki are an Eastern European sweet treat. They are traditionally served after a meal along with tea or coffee for dessert.
Rogaliki are a popular Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish cookie and mean “little horns” in Polish.
These yeast cookies are very similar to rugelach, the main difference being that while rugelach have the filling spread throughout, rogaliki are filled with jelly or chocolate.
You may be wondering how I came across these cookies. After all, they aren’t very popular outside of Eastern Europe.
I actually know of them because of a friend who was born and raised in Moscow.
One day, he was talking to me about his grandmother he had lost who he was very close to. Suddenly he remembered these little cookies filled with marmalade his grandmother used to make.
He wasn’t sure if they were Russian and suggested it may be Jewish, because despite losing her religion to the communists, his grandmother would make Jewish foods such as gefilte fish from scratch.
I saw the way his face light up while speaking about them I decided to find them and make them for him.
It took a little searching because they aren’t Jewish, but Eastern European. But a few weeks later, I set a plate of these rogaliki in front of him.
At first, he just stared at them and when he bit into one he started to get choked up and gave me a hug. He said they were just like his grandmother’s rogaliki. That, my friends, is the power of food.
While most rogaliki recipes call for cream cheese, I found this Russian recipe for dairy free rogaliki and my friend couldn’t tell the difference in taste.
CAKE FLOUR VS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
Cake flour is finer, lighter, and softer than all-purpose flour, as well as bleached, so the color is paler.
Most importantly, it has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, so cake flour produces less gluten.
I use all-purpose flour in all my recipes because it’s cheaper and most people have it on hand.
HOW TO SUBSTITUTE ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR FOR CAKE FLOUR
First, you can ignore any place that calls for cake flour and use all-purpose flour at a 1:1 conversion rate. I do this all the time.
The results will be a little less than perfect, but not very noticeable.
How to make your own cake flour
You can do this by removing two tablespoons for every cup of flour. Then, replace the same two tablespoons with corn or potato starch.
Doing this will remove enough protein to create a lighter cake.
WHY SIFT FLOUR
There are a number of benefits to sifting dry ingredients: It removes any unwanted debris and helps the flour combine with other dry ingredients like salt and baking powder.
Also, you can get a more accurate measurement than flour packed tightly in a bag. No less importantly, it removes any lumps that can get into the batter and can be hard to break up later, or be missed altogether before baking.
HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR AND OTHER DRY INGREDIENTS
Using a dry measuring cup, scoop ingredients from the bag or spoon them into the cup.
Next, level off the ingredient by removing the excess with an upside-down butter knife.
The one exception to this is brown sugar. Brown sugar should be packed down, and then any excess should be scraped off as well.
DRY VS LIQUID MEASURING CUP
Ever wonder why measuring spoons often come with a set of measuring cups? I used to. I didn’t see why we need a set when we could have one large measuring cup.
After a quick search, I had my answer. I discovered that the large measuring cup is used for liquids, whereas the set is used for dry ingredients.
As it turns out, if you try to measure dry ingredients with a liquid cup, the measurements get messed up.
First, you pour the flour or cocoa in, next you shake it around to get it level, and then you add more.
By shaking it, you are causing the powder to settle, and when you add more, you end up using more than called for.
WHY SIFT FLOUR and Other Powder Ingredients
There are a number of benefits to sifting flour and other ingredients like cocoa:
It removes any unwanted debris and you can get a more accurate measurement than when packed tightly in a bag.
It also removes any lumps that can get into the batter and be hard to break up later, or be missed altogether before baking.
If you sift the powdered ingredients together, it helps combine them and mix more evenly with other dry ingredients like sugar.
WHICH TYPE OF OIL TO USE
I use neutral oils like canola oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil. However, if preferred, oils with stronger flavors like olive oil or coconut oil they can be used.
If using olive oil, I recommend using pure olive oil for its milder flavor and higher smoking point.
TYPES OF SUGAR
There are many different types of sugar, including white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, powdered sugar, and demerara sugar.
When a recipe (any recipe, not just mine) says “sugar” without specifying anything else, it is regular white sugar.
White sugar (sometimes called granulated sugar, table sugar, or white granulated sugar) is made of either beet sugar or cane sugar, which has undergone a refining process. It is the easiest to find and most commonly used.
Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added to it. It is commonly used in chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s rare for a recipe that calls for brown sugar not to also call for white sugar as well.
When a recipe calls for “brown sugar” but doesn’t specify what type (light or dark), it is referring to light brown sugar.
In my recipes, you can use whatever type of brown sugar you have on hand whether it is dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, or demerara sugar – which is very common in Israel. Just keep in mind that the flavor and color will be slightly different depending on what you choose to use.
Vanilla sugar is not very common in the States. However, it is common in Israel and parts of Europe. This is sugar that sat for an extended period of time with vanilla beans, giving it a vanilla flavor.
Powdered sugar, sometimes known as confectioners’ sugar, is a sugar with a powdered texture. This sugar is rarely, if ever, used for baking. Instead, it is used for dusting desserts and making frosting and icings.
In some countries, you can also find powdered vanilla sugar. It is made the exact same way regular vanilla sugar is made. However, the sugar used is powdered instead of granulated.
VANILLA EXTRACT VS VANILLA SUGAR
In my recipes, I don’t specify what kind of vanilla to use. The reason for this is that in the States, vanilla extract is exclusively used while in Israel along with many European countries, vanilla sugar is common.
DO EGGS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?
The short answer is no. While a side-by-side comparison shows that baking with eggs at room temperature makes a better crumb, it’s not noticeable unless you’re comparing side-by-side.
EGG FREE OPTION
Eggs can be substituted with 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce per egg. This means for recipes calling for 2 eggs, you’d need 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce.
ARE EGGS DAIRY?
No, eggs are not dairy. Dairy is milk and any food products made from milk, including cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt. So, while eggs are an animal product, they are not dairy and in fact fall into the protein food group.
Types of YEAST
There are seven different types of yeast used for baking. However, only five are relevant to home bakers:
Wild yeast is found naturally in the air. This type of yeast is used for sourdough breads, and in order to use it, you need to make a sourdough starter.
Fresh yeast (a.k.a. cake yeast), block yeast, wet yeast, or compressed yeast is found in small, foil-wrapped cubes.
It is far less popular with home bakers because it’s highly perishable. However, it is still widely available for commercial use and is still used by home bakers in some countries.
The benefits of using it is that it’s easier to measure and has the most leavening power.
If you want to use fresh yeast in this recipe: for every 1 teaspoon of instant dry yeast, you’d need 17 grams (or 0.6 ounces) of fresh yeast.
Make sure to bloom it before using it in this recipe.
ACTIVE DRY YEAST
Active dry yeast looks like large grained powder, mainly used by home bakers in the States.
It has a much longer lifespan than compressed yeast, lasting up to a year at room temperature and more than a decade if frozen.
Unlike other types of yeast, it needs to proof first. This means it is rehydrated in warm liquid such as water or milk to activate it.
The main downside of using this is that a lot of the yeast is already dead, so you need more of it than other yeasts. This can cause an undesired yeast flavor.
If you want to use active dry yeast in this recipe, for 1 teaspoon of instant dry yeast you need 1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast.
Make sure to bloom it first before using it in this recipe.
Instant yeast looks the same as active dry yeast. However, it does not need to be proofed before using.
Instead of having to be activated in warm liquid first, it can be added as is when making the dough.
It is more perishable than active dry yeast, lasting only 2 to 4 months at room temperature and for years in the freezer.
This is my favorite type of yeast to use because it lasts longer than fresh yeast, and you need less of it than active dry yeast.
Rapid-rise yeast is often specifically marketed toward users of bread machines. It’s essentially instant yeast with a smaller grain. The smaller granules allow it to dissolve faster in the dough and therefore rise faster.
While most baking experts believe that the bread flavors aren’t as developed by using this yeast, others feel it makes little difference.
WHY BLOOM INSTANT YEAST?
As mentioned above, active dry yeast needs to be bloomed (aka proofed) before use to activate it, but I also proof instant yeast. The reason for this is because it helps troubleshoot if any problems come up.
By blooming the yeast first, you know it is active. So, if the dough has trouble rising, you know it’s not the yeast.
This is particularly useful when you don’t have a “warm” place to let it rise.
How to Bloom Yeast
To bloom, place the yeast, warm water, and sugar together in the bowl. Stir and wait for it to activate.
You know the yeast is activated when foam appears on the surface. This can take up to 10 minutes.
Please note that hot water will kill the yeast and cool water won’t activate it. Lukewarm water is ideal.
If you are using fresh yeast, make sure to break it up with a fork once it is in the water.
Baking with Humidity
Humidity can have a big impact on how your baked goods come out.
This is because when humidity is extremely high (think 70 percent or more), baking ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda soak up moisture from the air.
This can negatively impact the outcome of your cakes, cookies, yeast breads, and quick breads.
There are some things you can do to try to save your baking.
Try to counterbalance the additional moisture
To help counterbalance the additional moisture your dry ingredients soak up from the air, try reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe by about one-quarter.
If the batter or dough looks too dry once all the ingredients are mixed together, add an additional liquid tablespoon at a time until you have the desired consistency.
This is not usually possible to do for cookies, but it does work for cakes and breads.
Store Ingredients in the Fridge
If flour and sugar are stored in the refrigerator or freezer rather than in a cupboard or pantry, they are better protected from humidity.
As an added benefit, keeping these ingredients cool also helps keep them fresher longer, in addition to helping them stay bug-free.
For the best results, let them warm to room temperature before using.
Bake for Longer
If you bake your goodies for a few extra minutes, it can help the liquid to cook off.
To avoid overbaking, continue testing for doneness every couple of minutes for breads, quick breads, cakes, cupcakes, and muffins. Cookies, on the other hand, need to be checked every minute.
Use Air Conditioning
To help lower humidity levels on humid summer days, air condition the room for at least an hour before you start baking.
Cooler air isn’t able to hold as much moisture as warm air.
Store your baked goods in an airtight container
Humidity can also ruin your fresh-baked goods because when they are left out, they can absorb moisture.
To avoid this, store them in an airtight container or resealable bag.
WHY IS IT TAKING LONGER THAN DESCRIBED TO BAKE?
Over time, the thermostat on ovens gets a little off, causing some ovens to run hot and others to run cool. This is why recipes tend to say things like “10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.” So, if it takes you longer than expected, that’s fine, don’t worry about it. Just keep baking until ready.
WHY DID MY RECIPE COME OUT TOO DRY?
Just like some ovens run cool, others run hot. If your oven runs hot bake these at a lower temperature. Ideally, you should get an oven thermometer to know what temperature you’re really baking at.
HOW TO STORE
Let cookies cool completely. Place in a resealable bag or an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to a week.
HOW TO FREEZE
Let cookies cool completely. It is best to freeze cookies on a tray (so that they freeze as individuals,) and then move to a resealable freezer bag.
If this is not practical for you, place cooled cookies in a resealable freezer bag and freeze that way. Cookies will keep for up to 3 months. After that, the quality begins to degrade.
It’s preferable to freeze the cookies prior to dusting with powdered sugar and to add the sugar after defrosting and reheating.
When thawing baked cookies, remove from the bag and let sit at room temperature. If desired, you can gently reheat thawed cookies to mimic that fresh-baked taste and texture by placing them in a 275°F or 140°C oven until soft.
Dairy-Free Rogaliki SNAFU:
One of the last times I made these, I forgot to let them rise. They were great fresh out of the oven, but as soon as they cooled, they were very hard.