Kiffles are a local favorite here in eastern PA when it comes to cookies, particularly Christmas cookies. The Kiffle Kitchen on 512 north of Bath, PA made their reputation on their outstanding kiffles, available online! I used to enjoy them but never took the time to make them in the past. Now that I can’t eat gluten anymore, I thought, why not bake some gf kiffles? They are a sort of local Ukrainian specialty (Their origin is Austria-Hungary in eastern Europe) so finding them in a cookbook and also gf was a challenge. A few years ago, I purchased “Gluten-Free Baking Classics – The Heirloom Collection” by Annalise G. Roberts. It was published in 2014 and I bought it brand spanking new – not one miss in anything I have baked from it so far. Page 170 had the answer to my search; Rugelach, Kifles, and Kolaki.
I got my courage up and made a batch of kiffles (the preferred local spelling) on that Christmas Eve afternoon. I did jam filled, apricot and raspberry. The cream cheese dough in formed into two discs and chilled before rolling out between wax paper sheets into an 8-inch square. I did find myself chilling the rolled-out dough a bit to keep it from getting too soft as I filled and formed the kiffles. Not too cold but chilly. After rolling and a slight chill, cut each big square into 16 two-inch squares and put a tsp. of best quality jam on each; fold together so the filling peeps out both ends and chill some more on the baking sheet. I brushed them with heavy cream and sprinkled a touch of granulated sugar on before they hit the 350-degree oven. The cute packets of dough and jam bake up lightly browned and delicate in about 15-20 minutes. Success was felt when my mom ate a few that evening. Her smile told me how yummy they were. I wish she was still around to share them with. This is my first Christmas without her….
A couple of years ago I made them with the nut and cinnamon filling that is very traditional around the Lehigh Valley. Delish! I also hear that some stores sell special kiffle filling meant just for these cookies. Gonna look for it; hopefully gluten free and therefore safe for me to enjoy.
So if you are gluten free and crave kiffles; this cookbook by Annalise Roberts is the place to find a workable recipe. She has never failed me yet with her desserts and I thank my lucky stars her cookbooks are on my shelf to guide me through holiday, parties and everyday meals. I don’t mean to sound like a salesperson for her but I can’t say enough great things about this new cookbook and her prior best seller Baking Classics – my copy of that is well worn and I couldn’t exist without it. This kiffle recipe is way too involved to type out for you and I think that if you are serious about baking gf you need to check it out and get your own copy, real soon! Here are the ingredients for the dough and a brief directionns paragraph but this is a three page recipe in her book and if you want the entire directions you should support the author by buying her awesome cookbook called “The Heirloom Collection.
1 cup King Arthur basic gf flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 Tsp. bakig powder
1/4 Tsp salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temp.
4 ounces full fat cream cheese
1 -3 Tsp rice flour for rolling it out.
1/2 cup apricot, raspberry and or cherry jam
Mix sugar and butter in stand mixer. Mix dry ingred. Add slowly. Form into 2 patties, wrap in plastic and chill 30-60 minutes. Roll out on lightly floured surface to 8 inch square; cut into 16 squares. Put rounded half teaspoon jam on center; fold up two sides and pinch. Place on parchment covered cookie sheet. Chill 15-20 minutes. Brush with optional egg wash or heavy cream and then bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. For a longer recipe buy the book! I will say that you should avoid jams with corn syrup in them; they boil out of the cookies; use jam made with cane sugar.
Note: I did a search on line for a gluten free kiffle recipe and didn’t really find one; lots of other cookies but these are quite a specialty and not made by most home cooks except in areas where they are popular and what you can buy is definitely not gluten free. I am very happy with these utterly delicious cookies and can heartily recommend them to you for your gf holiday baking. Enjoy
Originally published in 2016; just added ingredient list and minor text changes done 12/2020, and revised slightly today!