Food Friday – Hamantashen

Hamantashen are a traditional Purim dessert; a triangular shaped  cookie usually filled with fruit. I thought I’d make these in a timely fashion, searching for a recipe and being kind of prepared before Purim, but I didn’t buy the ingredients until after the holiday.

This was an interesting adventure. There were a lot of recipe variations online. I finally settled on one that didn’t require chilling the dough and claimed to make a crispy cookie rather than a cakey cookie. Stef got the recipe from her mother who had found in a cookbook, and I found it on her web site, cupcakeproject.com.

Many of the recipes online did not include recipes for the filling but usually stated “use your favorite filling”. This one did also, but gave a quick recipe for a prune filling. Traditional fillings are poppy seed, apricot, and apparently prune. When I bought my ingredients, my grocery store was in heavy construction mode. I was almost scared to go to the isle for the butter, so I didn’t want to search for poppy seeds. I picked up some apricot preserves, strawberry preserves, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips.

Crummy dough needed to be kneaded before rolling.

While making these, I realized that I have no experience baking cookies from scratch, at least not in my adulthood. The batter was very crummy and difficult to mix. I had to break out the electric mixer to feel like I’d mixed it. It was still crummy, but I pressed on.

Moving to the cutting board to roll it out, after kneading for a moment to make it doughy, it was very sticky. I used a glass to cut out the circles and it was the perfect size. My first round were rolled too thick to fold, so I pinched. Several comments on the blog said you could pinch the corners if you chilled the dough, pinched really hard, or used egg whites to hold them together. I guess I didn’t pinch hard enough.

Pinched. These looked perfect before baking.

Continuing after looking up the rolling pin sticky dough trick online — rolling between sheets of wax paper — I rolled the rest out a bit thinner and was able to fold them. I did end up pinching the third side often, and that was the one that sometimes came apart.

Unlike what the blog said, these were kind of cakey instead of  crispy, but I think the later batches may have been a bit crispier. They needed to bake for a little longer. After all, I was doing small batches in my toaster oven. The chips didn’t even bake enough to melt down much.

Filling and folding.

I sampled as I was going and ended up making more apricot than any other flavor. The strawberry preserves were much thinner and leaked easily and I wasn’t so fond of the chocolate or chocolate and peanut butter flavors. Imagine that, preferring apricot to chocolate.

Plate full of hamantashen.

The last batch had a small dough ball of the leftover, in case you’re wondering what that is in the picture. The hamantashen that fell apart were at the bottom, so most of what can be seen in my final picture are nice triangular cookies. The one at the very top is strawberry, so you can see how liquidy those preserves were compared to the apricot.

They smell great. They taste good. Next time I’ll bake them a little longer or bake them all at once in the regular oven.

After chilling in the fridge overnight, the chocolate ones tasted better than when they were still warm.

Recipe for Hamantashen

3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups butter, room temperature
3 eggs
filling (jam, jelly, preserves, chocolate chips, nuts)

  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  2. Mix in butter and eggs.
  3. Roll out dough and form hamantashen: Use cookie cutter or glass to make about 3 1/2″ diameter circles. Spoon in bit of filling. Fold sides; pinching tends to fall apart while baking.
  4. Bake on a well-greased cookie sheet or parchment paper for 12-15 minutes at 400 F.

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