How to make the best hamantaschen, plus tips and tricks for you!
Check out more unique hamantaschen recipes here!
Out of the literally dozens of Jewish holidays, Purim has always been my favorite. Okay besides Passover. But top two! Why? There’s costumes, there’s drinking, there’s carnivals, there’s cookies! I LOVE costumes, so will take any excuse to dress up. 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. And don’t forget my bagel and lox costume! Below is definitely a top 5 Purim costume (and Bubbe’s favorite wine) plus everything I love about Purim!
What is the singular of hamantaschen?
Fun fact: one hamantaschen is a hamantasch! You can also spell them hamantashen.
What is Purim?
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.
Around 400 BCE, Persian Queen Esther saves all the Jews from King Ahasuerus’ evil adviser Haman’s devious plans of extermination by sharing her hidden Jewish identity under the guide of her cousin Mordechai.
So we celebrate her bravery with all these fun traditions: costumes are encouraged, alcoholic beverages are even more encouraged, we attend carnivals, eat cookies, celebrate female empowerment, Jewish pride and hidden miracles. Sign me up!
What do we eat hamantaschen?
To celebrate, we make tasty triangular cookies called hamantaschen filled with goodness to represent the fashionable three-cornered hat Haman was known to sport. (Some say they resemble his ears). 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. Below I list more of my crazy hamantaschen varieties! Please check them out and go meshugenah.
How do you make hamantaschen?
This recipe is a softer, moist, cakey hamantaschen. Because there is nothing worse than dry hamantaschen! I love that the dough is so simple, you can use your hands (fun to make with kids) and is super easy to roll.
To pinch or fold.. your choice! I like pinching, but I know others think folding is more secure. After you add the filling of your choice, and pinch in three corners to make a triangle and make sure they stick together. You can overlap the sides to make a triangle too.
How do you prevent hamantaschen from opening up?
And now, the tips to success.
- Don’t roll the dough too thin- about 1/4 inch works great!
- Don’t overfill your hamantaschen. Just 1 tsp filling is good!
- Freeze the hamantaschen for 20-30 minutes as you pre-heat your oven. The freezing also helps prevent them from spreading or opening!
- Use an egg wash for color and to help hold it together. You can also use egg wash on the base of the cookie circle before adding the filling!
Unique hamantaschen flavors
Can you get crafty with hamantaschen? I’m glad you asked! Here are some of the best hamantaschen – both sweet and savory (!) Check out all my Purim recipes here.
- Strawberries and Cream Hamantaschen
- Ginger Lime Hamantaschen
- Papaya Coconut Hamantaschen
- Bananas Foster Hamantaschen
- Lemon Lavender Hamantaschen
- Strawberry Champagne Rainbow Hamantaschen
- Chocolate Bourbon Hamantaschen with Bailey’s Glaze
- Manischewitz Hamantaschen
- Millionaire’s Shortbread Hamantaschen
- Halva Hamantaschen
- Mint Chocolate Hamantaschen
- Red Velvet Hamantaschen
- Neapolitan Hamantaschen
Ta da! They taste fantastic! Especially when dipped in melted chocolate. Yum! (Here are some original photos from this post from 2011 for your viewing pleasure!)
- 1 stick butter (1/2 cup aka 4 oz), room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg plus 1 for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
- ½ teaspoon baking powder (use 1 teaspoon for pouffier softer cookies)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 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 2 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. You can use your hands for this part!
- 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 about 1/4 – 1/8 inch thick. Use a 3 or 3 1/2-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 ugly yet still delicious 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!
hmm… i think i recognize this recipe! love your twist on it with the chocolate-dippage. will def give that a try when i make my annual batch of hamentaschen next weekend.
You caught me! Chocolate always makes everything better. Words of wisdom.
oh yeah, i forgot to tell you – i also put an eggwash on them before baking, to make them all nice and shiny!
Oh yeah I remembered that as soon as I put them in the oven. Oh well!
Haman would “eat his hat” if he saw these delectable treats! Another great twist on a traditional Purim food. Oy oy what will you do to Matzah?
Bubbe you read my mind! Passover treats are next!
Gloria Lee says
These look so delicious. Never thought to dip in chocolate, but they sure are pretty. Chocolate goes so well with fruit and dough!! I like to use salted butter and salt just like you do because it brings out the flavors in the dough. You don’t by any chance do mail order?? 🙂
Thanks so much, Gloria! The chocolate really adds something special. And I love the contrast in colors! I would gladly do mail order!! I actually hope to send my Bubbe some cookies up in Connecticut so I will see how they travel.
I just ate one, and Amy’s no liar – delish!
I adore you, your recipes and your hysterical “haman eating his his hat” Bubbe! 🙂 When are we mahjing?
Haha thanks so much! I have visitors the next two weeks for SXSW, but will definitely be Mahjing after that!
Love the chocolate idea. I always sprinkle powdered sugar on top of mine. I really love honey and trying to think of a good way too add honey in my recipe.
Amy Kritzer says
Thanks! Powdered sugar sounds tasty too. Maybe you could make some sort of honey filling?
Love to try this. My bubbie was a wonderful cook, but I disliked her Hamantaschen. She used prunes and poppy seeds. I love to bake and will try your twist. Happy Purim!
Amy Kritzer says
This dough is cakier than most drier doughs which I don’t like either. Let me know how you like it!
Yael Fraenkel says
Amy, What happens if you don’t chill the recipe overnight or for a few hours? I’m looking for a recipe that doesn’t need chilling.
Amy Kritzer says
Hi Yael, this recipe is best with chilling since the dough is sticky. You could try freezing it for less time but I haven’t tried that.