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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Exciting Hamantaschen Recipes for Purim

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By:  Miriam Szokovski

Wondering why hamantaschen are traditional Purim fare? The reasons and symbolism are abundant.

Today I’ve got a great roundup of sweet hamantaschen, traditional and nontraditional. Choose some to make, or come up with your own combinations. But if you’re sharing your hamantaschen with others, be sure to let them know if they’re dairy so they don’t accidentally serve them at a meat meal.

 

  1. Traditional Poppy Seed Mohn Hamantaschen

While it’s fun to experiment, there’s nothing like tradition. And does it get more traditional than poppyseed hamantaschen?!

When I shared my chocolate-dipped cream cheese hamantaschen recipe two years ago, I mentioned that I had never actually tasted the traditional poppy seed filled ones. Scandalous, I know! But I’m happy to report that I’ve mended my ways and hereby present you with the ultimate traditional hamantasch recipe.

If you need pareve hamantaschen, you can use non-dairy cream cheese, such as Toffutti.

You’ll need to make the filling and let it cool before using it in the hamantaschen. The filling recipe may seem intimidating when you first read it, but read it carefully a second time and you’ll find it’s not as difficult as it sounds. While it’s cooling, you can make the dough.

This dough is quick to make and easy to work with. If you don’t like poppy seed filling, or if you’d like some variety, you can use other fillings as well. Strawberry and apricot jam have become very traditional. Prune lekvar is also traditional. Some people also like to fill them with chocolate or peanut butter. Get creative and have fun—there’s a whole world of Hamantaschen out there!

One of the most common questions I get asked this time of year, is how to make sure the hamantaschen don’t open up while baking. So, some tips:

Keep the dough on the thinner side.

Do not overfill the hamantaschen.

Work patiently and consistently. Don’t rush through. Take the extra 15 seconds to make sure the edges are tightly pinched.

Close the hamantaschen up more than you think you need to. See mine—I left a pretty small opening.

Be careful not to add too much flour to the dough, because that will make the dough drier and harder to seal.

Gluten free, triple chocolate hamantaschen

Dough Ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

 

Dough Directions

Mix the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.

Add 1 cup of flour and the baking powder. Mix.

Add the remaining flour until the dough forms a soft, but not sticky ball.

Roll out the dough and cut out circles.

Put a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle.

Gently fold the sides and pinch shut tightly.

Bake for 10-12 minutes on 350°F.

Yields: 20 Hamantaschen

Crunchy, granola hamantaschen

Filling Ingredients

Note: Very closely based on Tori Avey’s recipe

  • ¾ cup poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil or margarine (butter for dairy – but make sure to tell people they are dairy!)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 egg
Salted, Caramel Hamantaschen

Filling Directions

Beat the egg in a bowl and set aside.

Melt the coconut oil/butter/margarine in a small saucepan. Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar, and honey, and simmer over a low flame until the sugar is melted.

Pour half the mixture into a cup or small bowl.

Very slowly drizzle the hot mixture from the cup/bowl into the beaten egg, whisking constantly.

Now slowly pour the egg mixture back into remaining hot mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly.

Apple Pie Hamantaschen

Simmer the mixture for 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Remove from fire.

Whisk in the poppy seeds and refrigerate until fully cooled before using.

Wondering why Hamantaschen are traditional Purim fare? You may have heard that Haman, the evil villain from the Purim story, was said to wear a triangular hat or to have had triangular ears. As you can read in our Purim Myths and Facts, there is no evidence for either of these theories. The pastry’s symbolism is more about the filling than the shape. While living in the palace, Esther subsisted on seeds to keep from eating anything non-kosher. Hence, the seed-filled pastries (although nowadays other fillings are common too).

For a deeper look at the message behind the Hamantasch, read The Secret of the Hamantasch, Holy Hamantaschen, and Mystic Purim Pastries.

Chocolate Filled Funfetti Hamantaschen
  1. Chocolate-Dipped Cream Cheese Hamantaschen

First, gather your ingredients. My recipe is dairy, but if you need pareve hamantaschen, you can use non-dairy cream cheese, such as Toffutti. It will still be delicious—I can vouch for it.

This recipe yields about 20 hamantaschen (unless, like me, you drop one entire tray on the floor while taking it out of the oven . . . then you’ll be left with only 10). If you need more, it can easily be doubled or tripled.

Mix the wet ingredients, then add the flour a little at a time until you form a smooth, soft, but not sticky ball of dough.

Divide the dough in half. Use a rolling pin to roll half the dough out to about ⅛ inch thick. An easy way to roll dough without worrying about it sticking to the rolling pin is to roll it between two sheets of parchment paper. When I first heard this trick, I thought it sounded ridiculously complicated. But since the first time I tried it, I haven’t gone back to “regular” rolling.

Drunken Cherry-Chocolate Hamantaschen

Tear a sheet of parchment paper. Place the dough in the center. Push down gently. Tear another sheet of parchment paper the same size, and place it on top of the dough. Put your rolling pin on top of the pile, and gently roll out the dough.

Using a circle-shaped cookie cutter, or the mouth of a glass, cut as many circles into the dough as you can fit. (Although my cookie cutter looks ridged, it is actually two-sided. One side is smooth, which is what I used—the ridged side is facing up, don’t let it confuse you.)

Pull away the extra scraps of dough, and set them aside to be re-rolled and cut into more circles.

Now it’s time to prepare the filling. Decide what you want to use. The most common hamantash fillings are strawberry and apricot preserves, and poppyseed filling, traditionally called mohn. Confession: I’ve never actually tried the poppyseed filling—the way it looks gives me the heebie-jeebies.

S’mores Hamantachen

Other possible fillings include chocolate, cheesecake, date spread, or even finely chopped apples mixed with cinnamon and brown sugar.

I used strawberry and apricot preserves, and they came out sticky and delicious. (Well, the ones that fell on the floor were a little too sticky.)

Spoon some filling into the center of each circle. It’s important not to go overboard with the filling—it makes the hamantaschen hard to seal when there’s too much inside.

Now it’s time for the tricky part—The Folding. I know some expert bakers who tremble in fear of The Folding, but really, it’s not that scary. It’s all in the dough and the pinching. If you use good dough, and you pinch your corners tightly, the hamantaschen will keep their shape and not open up hideously while baking.

Fold your cookies like this: Once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze. Repeat until all your circles have been sealed.

Place the hamantaschen carefully on a greased pan. Leave some space between them, but mine didn’t spread all that much. (Other recipes may spread more.) Slip them into the oven and bake for 15–20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your hamantaschen. The edges should be very slightly golden when they’re ready.

The preserves will be extremely hot, so I don’t advise biting into them right away, unless you particularly enjoy burning yourself . . .

And there you have it—fancied-up hamantaschen. Perfect for giving as gifts, serving at your Purim meal, sharing with friends, or just plain eating. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. apple or orange juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1½ cup flour
  • Pinch of salt

Note: For non-dairy hamantaschen, use non-dairy cream cheese, such as Toffutti.

 

Filling:

  • Strawberry preserves
  • Apricot preserves

Optional:

  • A few squares of chocolate
  • Colorful sprinkles
  • Nut crunch

 

Directions:

Cream sugar, oil, juice, egg and vanilla.

Add cream cheese, and mix until combined.

Add baking powder, salt and flour. Mix until the dough forms a ball which is not sticky.

Roll the dough out, about ⅛″ thick. Using a circle cookie cutter, or the mouth of a glass, cut as many circles as possible.

Remove remaining dough, roll and repeat.

Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle, and fold according to instructions above.

Bake at 350° F for 15–20 minutes.

Allow to cool before eating or decorating.

(Chabad.org)

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