These cookies are also a wonderful addition to those gifts of food we give to friends and family to celebrate Purim. If you want to make a batch of your own, they are not really as difficult as they may look, but there are a few things to consider that will make your cookies come together easier.
- Some recipes are hard to work with. In order to be able to shape the cookies the dough can’t be too dry or they will crack and can’t be too wet of the dough will stick to the rolling pin and the counter and everything in sight. So start with a well tested dough that is known to be easy to work. My personal favorites are those from Tori Avey. She has a dairy-free recipe (https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/dairy-free-hamantaschen/) which is the easiest dough to handle I have ever made. If you don’t want to be using shortening, she does have a butter recipe one (https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/buttery-hamantaschen/) which is in fact my favorite recipe, though it is slightly harder to deal with as all butter-only recipes are.
- Make sure that you don’t skip the “chill the dough” step. It makes a huge difference. Ask me how I know!
- The consistency of the filling makes a big difference. A lot of folks use jam as fillings and that is yummy but you ought to be aware that jam is a bit runny and the high sugar content means that it melts and spreads in the oven. This often leads to your lovely triangles opening up as you bake. So using jam is fine; it tastes great. You just need to be ready for some of them to not look so much like the lovely ones in pictures on the web. So what to use to avoid this? I like to use fruit pastes made from dried fruits. They are lower in sugar and have a thicker consistency than the jam and I have never had the spreading problem with those. It is a bit of extra work though. This is a favorite recipe and I have varied the dried fruit used with no trouble. (https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/hamantaschen-prune-filling/)
- NEVER NEVER overfill. If your hamantashen circles are 3 inch in diameter any more than a teaspoon of filling will cause you problems with spreading and leaking while baking.
- Fold the hamantashen “pinwheel” style. Just pinching the corners to shape them into triangles is not as likely to stay. Let me show you what I mean!
Here is my dough circle with a teaspoon of yummy lekvar filling.
Fold the right edge over to make the side of the triangle to the right on this photo. Then fold the left side in OVERLAPPING the other side at the top point.
Now fold up the third flap at the bottom making certain that you tuck it under on the right side and then over on the left side.
What results is a pinwheel effect where each side has one side under and one end over. Pinch them down to seal the points and this construction will resist the urge to open up while you bake the cookies.
The flavors of hamantashen are really up to your imagination. Go traditional with poppy seed or lekvar. Nutella is a popular new flavor. If you look online, you can find almost any combination of flavors have been made into hamantashen. And in case you are wondering about previous winners of the Purim Party contest… we remember the Caramel macchiato and the Strawberry cheesecake very fondly!