Here’s an oldie but goodie from the Green Earth Girl archives… I’m willing to bet that the title of this blog looks like gibberish to about half of the people reading. That’s okay, because you’re about to learn something new and delicious. Hamantaschen are traditional Jewish cookies made to celebrate Purim (which is a lengthy holiday that I will let you google if you’re interested in it). They’re basically sugar cookies with filling, but in actuality they’re so much more than that. No worries for those who are nervous, this was my first time making them too!
In addition to making hamantaschen for the first time, I also decided to make homemade strawberry jam to fill them with. It was the overachiever in me coming out, but then again, the cookies have to chill for a couple hours, so the time is built in to make homemade filling. Traditionally, hamantaschen are made with poppy seed or dried fruit filling, because, traditionally, they didn’t have supermarkets. All they did have were leftovers from the winter. I am not a huge fan of dried fruit fillings, so I made my own. It wasn’t very hard, and there was plenty of leftover jam for my morning toast, so it’s a win-win.
Hamantaschen dough recipes vary from family to family. There are debates about orange juice and lemon zest in the dough, whether to pinch or press, how cakey it should be (I prefer it wafer-like and crunchy), and how much filling to use. Below is an amalgam of a few recipes that I found, but really any sugar cookie recipe, rolled out thin enough, should work. The strawberry jam recipe is from the Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook and can be found here.
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour + additional for rolling cookies
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup filling of choice
Preheat oven to 375° when you remove the dough from the refrigerator (step six)
1. Cream the butter and sugar in blender on low speed. Once smooth, add the egg and vanilla.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl, then add to egg mixture.
3. Mix on low speed until dough forms (this can also be done in a food processor).
4. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide the dough four ways. Roll out one section on a lightly floured board until it is 1/4 inch thick.
6. Using a cookie cutter or cup, cut out 3 inch circles.
7. Place the circles on a greased cookie sheet, the dot each in the center with 1 teaspoon of filling.
8. Pinch three corners into the circle, so that the filling is almost covered.
9. Bake at 375° for 10 – 12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies start to brown.
10. Remove from the oven and enjoy.