Purim is a fun, almost carnival-like holiday, celebrating the Jews narrow escape from extermination in long ago Persia. (What can I say? It’s been thousands of years of persecution; at least we make a holiday of it.) Jews celebrate with costumes, food, parties and, yes, spirits.
One of the traditions involves baking tri-cornered tasty little cookies called hamentashen. You may see them in the supermarket or bakery, although those are usually kind of dry and yeasty, suitable for a commercial bakery.
Mine, however, are based on a cookie dough recipe and are the best (according to my family and friends – I’m not boasting. Uh-uh.)
The fillings can vary — prune butter is traditional, as is poppy seed. From there, you can use anything. I buy pastry filling at the supermarket in as many flavors as I can find — apricot, raspberry, cherry.
Here’s my recipe, along with photos of the process. Enjoy!
Makes approximately 20 cookies
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup sugar
½ cup melted margarine or butter (1 stick)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour, plus 1 cup more for adjusting the dough and rolling out
2 -3 tbsp. milk
3 jars pastry fruit filling (your choice)
- Mix salt, baking powder, and sugar, then mix in melted margarine and vanilla.
- Mix in egg, flour and milk. Test consistency of dough. If it isn’t dry enough to roll, add a little more flour but be careful to not make it too dry.
- Roll out a piece of dough on a well-floured surface to approximately ¼ inch thickness [photo #1 below]. Use a round cookie cutter or wide glass mouth approximately 3 inches wide to “cut” cookies [photos #2].
- Put approximately 1 tsp. filling in each circle [photo #3].
- Pick up carefully, using a metal spatula, getting ready for the “fold” which is a little tricky [photo#4].
- Pinch each edge and partly cover the filling [photos #5, 6]. Put hamentashen on cookie sheets greased with shortening spray [photo #7], making last adjustments to shape of cookie.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 14 – 15 minutes. Cool on wax paper.
- Recipe makes 20 cookies per batch. You can easily double the ingredients to make two batches at once.