Hamantaschen

Spring countdown in 2 days my friends!  I happily lost an hour of sleep last weekend to gain an hour of daylight> I was looking at the calender of all the spring activities that will soon be upon us and we are getting ready for Purim.

Ah, Purim. One of the most fun Jewish Holidays to celebrate during the year. It is taken from the Book of Esther. I won’t take up the space with the story of Purim. You can read that here.  But basically every Jewish Holiday is based on the same principal. The Jews are persecuted, the Jews find a way, and they celebrate their freedom.

Jewish people get together on 13th day of the Jewish month, Adar to read the story of Purim in the Megillah. Children dress in costume, adults are encouraged to get intoxicated and shake noisemakers and boo loudly when the name “Hamen” is read.

The villain of the Purim story is a character named Hamen. He was a prime minister of sorts to the Persian King who punished Jews for not bowing down to him. Basically the villain of Purim. Haman wore an triangular shaped hat , and that is the story of how the hamantaschen cookie came to be.

I have tried many types of dough over the years.  Some successful and some not so.  Some people like a soft cookie, I prefer mine with substance, resembling a shortbread cookie. I came across a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine a few years ago and this is the one that stuck.  I made an adaption with a little vanilla in the dough.

While this recipe comes together pretty quick, you need to have time to have your butter and eggs come to room temperature and time for the dough to chill  (at least 2 hours)  and then come back to room temp.

Once the dough is together, divide it in half, pat down in a circle and wrap in plastic wrap.  Put in your fridge for at least 30 minutes.  You can make it up to 2 days beforehand.  I made mine the night before.  Once you are ready to work with it, take it out and let it soften a bit (about 30 minutes).  Flour your surface and roll your dough out 1/4 inch thick. img_1706

Tradition calls for cutting circles with a drinking glass.  I went with a 3 1/2 inch circular cookie cutter.  img_1715

Brush the perimeter of your circles with egg wash.  Make sure you do this step or you will end up with some pretty terrible looking cookies. Think of the egg as the glue that holds your cookie together. img_1723

Poppyseed, prune, cherry and apple are traditional flavors.  I went with raspberry and apricot preserves and nutella.

 

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Folding the cookies into triangles can be a little tricky.  Bring 2 sides of the circle together and then fold up the bottom to make 3 corners.  Make sure you pinch all the way around so that the filling stays inside the cookies.  I won’t share with you the photos of the cookies that did not survive.  Pretty ugly, but they were tasty. Didn’t go to waste.  No worries.

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Bake them off at 350 degrees and let cool on a cooling rack.

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Hamantaschen

(adapted from Bon Appetit)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

 

Whisk baking powder, salt, and 4 cups flour in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add 2 eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. Add in the vanilla.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients; mix until dough comes together. Divide dough in half and form into two ¾”-thick disks. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350°. Let 1 disk of dough sit at room temperature until softened slightly, about 30 minutes.

Roll out dough on a very lightly floured surface to about ¼” thick, dusting with flour as needed (use as little flour as possible). Cut out 3 1/2″ rounds with cutter and, using an offset spatula or bench scraper, transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Gather up scraps, reroll, and cut out additional rounds.

Lightly beat remaining egg in a small bowl to blend. Working a few at a time, brush edge of rounds with egg, then place 1 1/2 tsp. filling in center. Fold sides up to make a triangle, pinching points gently to seal and leaving about 1″ surface of filling exposed.

Brush sides of folded dough with egg. Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until bottoms are golden brown, 18–22 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets.

Do ahead: Dough can be made 2 days ahead; keep chilled. Cookies can be made 2 days ahead; let cool and store airtight at room temperature.

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