Hamantachen were created to celebrate Purim, the Jewish holiday commemorating the heroism of the Biblical Queen Esther.
Purim is great as it inadvertently combines the best parts of Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. During Purim festivities people are invited to not only dress in costume but also drink so much they can’t distinguish between good and evil.
Those not too tipsy to eat can enjoy these wonderful cookies.
Hamantachen were designed to mimic the shape of the hat of the evil royal advisor in the Bible, Haman, and are the lazy man’s sandwich cookie. This is because instead of baking a bunch of individual cookies and laboriously smearing a filling on them to create a sandwich, you’re putting the filling in the middle BEFORE baking and engaging in some clever “cookie origami” to keep it all together before sticking them in the oven.
Hamantachen filling is traditionally made from prunes, poppyseeds, or apricots, but I wanted to do something different to introduce you to the joys of Jewish baked goods…
…Well, that and I don’t know many people who willingly eat prunes. As PB & J is a familiar flavor for many I went with this combo but you can put just about any sweet filling in hamantaschen.
Here’s How You Do It
Difficulty Level: Medium
Prep time: 15 minutes + resting time for dough
Baking time: 15 - 20 Minutes
2 ¼ Cups All Purpose Flour + More for dusting
½ Cup Margarine OR Softened Butter
1 Large Egg
3 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
¼ Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon of Lemon OR Lime Juice
Pinch of Salt
About ½ Cup of Milk
¼ Cup Peanut Butter – Smooth or Crunchy – Avoid natural peanut butter for this as it tends to be very oily and spread out too much while baking
¼ Cup of your favorite Jam
IF YA WANNA GET FANCY…
1 Egg White
Sprinkles or Crushed Peanuts
1 Mixing Bowl
Measuring Cups and Spoons
2 Regular Bowls
1 Cookie Sheet
1 Rolling Pin – If you don’t have one, a wine bottle wrapped in plastic wrap will work fine.
1 Drinking Glass or Round Cookie or Biscuit Cutter
1 Wooden Spoon
In your mixing bowl using a wooden spoon, combine the flour, butter or margarine, egg, lemon or lime juice, sugar, and salt until the mix looks a bit like wet sand.
Add some milk a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing with your fingers until it forms a dough. You don’t need to add the whole ½ cup of milk; you just need to put in enough so that the dough forms.
Pat the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Press it into a thick disc and wrap it in another layer of plastic.
Put the disc in the fridge, set a timer for 45 minutes and walk away.
When the time is up, preheat your oven to 375 oF.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Clean and dry your kitchen counter and sprinkle some flour over it.
Take a handful of flour and rub it on your rolling pin. This will keep the dough from sticking to it.
Put the peanut in one bowl and the jam in another and take the dough out of the fridge.
Unwrap the dough and put it on top of the floured counter.
Roll it into a thin sheet – the dough doesn’t have to be paper thin, just thin enough to be able to fold it without breaking.
Using your trusty drinking class or cutter, cut the dough into circles. The leftover bits of dough can be smushed together and shaped to make more circles.
Put a ¼ Teaspoon of Peanut Butter and ¼ Teaspoon of Jam in the middle of each circle of dough and fold the edges inward, pinching the corners together to form a triangle that shows some of the filling. See the image below.
Put each cookie on your baking sheet.
If ya wanna get fancy, beat some egg white with a fork, spread it on the cookies and then sprinkle on some sprinkles or chopped nuts. This step is pretty, but it’s optional.
Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. If some of the filling seeps out during baking DON’T PANIC! It’s a hamantachen hazard and they’ll be tasty just the same J.
Cool for 10 minutes and serve!
-Samantha R. Gold
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