Hamantaschen

Soft shortbread folded in a triangle over a sweet filling, these cookies are traditionally made for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s “Almost-Like-a-Bakery Traditional Hamantaschen,” Washington Post, 1996. I believe the recipe is also in Goldman’s book, A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.

Dough ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter, softened at room temperature, or shortening/margarine for pareve
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup orange juice or milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • About 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus more for rolling dough

Filling

  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
  • 20 oz (2 1/2 cups) filling of your choice: traditional options include poppy (available canned, eg Solo brand) and prune; also common are apricot (Bonne Maman and Hero preserves both work well) and raspberry; you can also try Nutella or other high-quality preserves

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well.
  2. Stir in orange juice or milk and vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix salt, baking powder and flour. Add in batches to wet ingredients, mixing well after each addition. If dough becomes too hard to mix, use hands and knead gently to work in flour until dough holds together in a firm mass that is smooth and not sticky. Add additional flour if necessary, but in small amounts as too much flour will make the dough tough.
  4. Divide dough roughly into thirds. Flatten each third into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 10 minutes to an hour to facilitate easier rolling.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, placing a rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to catch leaky jam during baking.
  6. On a well-floured surface, roll out one disk of dough at a time to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut into 3-inch rounds (using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or wide-mouthed glass jar) and brush with egg wash. Scraps can be rerolled once, and leftover dough can be hand formed into plain shortbread cookies.
  7. Place a generous teaspoonful of desired filling in the center of each round. Thinking of the round as a clock, pinch corners at 12, 4 and 8 on the clock face, pulling the dough up to form a triangle. Pinch the edges together to form a slanting wall/roof of dough over the filling, but leave some filling exposed in the center.
  8. Bake until golden brown, about 18 to 25 minutes.

Makes approximately 48 cookies (depending on how thick or thin you roll the dough).

Notes

  • To make a pareve version, try pareve margarine or half margarine and half shortening.
  • Hamantashen do not spread much during cooking, so you can pack them fairly tightly on the cookie sheet.
  • The egg wash is key for keeping the edges of the cookie from separating during baking. You can also use egg wash on the folded cookie (add two teaspoons of milk to give it a less shiny effect), as Goldman does in her recipe, but the hamantaschen I remember from New York were unglazed.
  • Add a teaspoon of orange or lemon zest if you like citrus in your hamantaschen.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.

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