The Jewish holiday of Purim was this past weekend and we “took part” in the celebration by making these delicious homemade Hamantaschen cookies. Even if you are not Jewish, you should totally make these because they are THAT good! You could even make these into thumbprint cookies instead of forming them into triangles. They are traditionally filled with poppyseed, fruit preserves, or chocolate. I used strawberry preserves that I had on hand and put some semisweet chocolate chips in others (yummm!).
If you have never heard of Purim, don’t worry – I hadn’t really either until I started attending basic Judaism classes. The holiday is unlike the other Jewish holidays because it is very carnival-like; there are costumes, drinking, noisemakers and booing at specific parts during the reading of the Megillah (the Book of Esther) at synagogue, and giving gifts to the poor. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this website.
Here’s how to make these awesome cookies:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Filling of your choice, canned or homemade (I realized afterward I totally could have used lemon curd that I had in my fridge…guess I’ll just have to make more!)
- Line unrimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
- Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract, and beat until lighter in color and fluffy.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix just until the mixture starts to hold together.
- Very gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface about 10 strokes or until the dough is smooth and holds together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes (preferably for 30 minutes or more).
- Roll the dough out on a board that is lightly covered with flour or confectioners’ sugar. Note: The sugar will slightly glaze the baked cookie and make it a little sweeter. (I used the confectioners’ sugar and in my opinion it did not make them taste too sweet, which I was nervous about!)
- Preheat the oven now to 350 degrees
- Cut the dough into 2 1/2-inch circles, and place 1 scant teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle. Don’t roll the dough too thin or they are hard to shape. My second round came out better when I rolled the dough a bit thicker. (between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick)
- Shape into triangles by using your thumbs to push up from the bottom of the circle and your forefingers to pull down from the top sides. Pinch the top seams of the dough well to securely enclose almost all of the filling. A little should peek through the top of the opening.
- Pinch the dough together so that the filling is exposed only at the top of the cookie.
- Bake the hamantaschen in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden.(mine took about 12 – 13 minutes. Store in a plastic bag or container when cool, or freeze for later use.
- Enjoy your cookies! They’re really good with a cup of your morning coffee!
love & cupcakes,