Out of the literally dozens of Jewish holidays, Purim has always been my favorite. Why? Two words: Jewish Halloween. I am a HUGE fan of secular Halloween, so why celebrate only once a year? What’s my best costume you ask? Good question. It would have to be a three-way tie between Leonardo of Ninja Turtle fame, Blaze of the original American Gladiators and She-Ra (please tell me you know who She-Ra is so I don’t feel so old). And no I will not post photos- I keep those puppies safe on secure websites. Like Facebook.
Anyhoo, if I had to sum up the majority of Jew holidays, it would go something like this. Someone tries to wipe us out, by some ridiculous miracle we triumph, despite lack in numbers and stature, so we rejoice by eating and drinking. And repeat. Purim is no different. Esther, a sassy young Jew living in Persia, saves all the Jews from the King’s evil adviser Haman’s devious plans of extermination. So we rejoice with tons of rowdy parties, costumes and hedonism. Hence why Purim is known as the Jewish Mardi Gras or Halloween. Sign me up! To celebrate, we make tasty triangular cookies called hamantaschen filled with goodness to represent the fashionable three-cornered hat Haman was known to sport. Poppy seeds and prunes are the most common fillings, but I got a little feisty and went with the priciest jam I could find at Whole Foods. And then I dipped them in chocolate. Just because I can.
Here is all you need for your very own hamataschen. I used a fancy schmancy Stonewall Kitchen jam as my filling, but feel free to go wild with anything from peanut butter chips to coconut to nutella!
First, combine all the dry ingredients.
Next, add in your liquids and mix up with your (clean) hands!
Then, roll out your dough and cut into rounds with a cookie cutter. A wine glass works just as well!
Add filling of your choice, and pinch in three corners to make a triangle.
Ta da! My cookies spread a little, as the filling as a little thin. Either way, they taste fantastic! Especially when dipped in melted chocolate. Yum!
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg plus 1 for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- Jam or filling of your choice.
- In a large bowl with a stand or hand mixer, blend butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Then add vanilla, 1 egg and orange juice and combine. Then add flour, baking powder and salt and mix just until combined. Dough should be slightly sticky.
- Form dough into a large ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight or at least 2 hours.
- When you are ready to make your hamantaschen, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is ⅛ inch thick. Use a 3-inch circle cookie cutter to cut circles in the dough. The top of a wine glass works too! Roll out the scraps and recut into circles.
- Then take a teaspoon of the jam and put it in the center of each circle. Don’t add any more- the filling will spread to fill the cookie, and any more would just run over the top making for an ugly hamantaschen.
- Fold two sides together overlapping at the bottom, and then fold the top down to make a triangle.
- Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze for 30 minutes to prevent spreading.
- Wash with egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottoms of cookies. Cool and enjoy!