Purim is a holiday where the Jewish people celebrate their triumph over Haman and all of their enemies. What better way is there to celebrate the holiday than by eating a cookie that symbolizes the victory over their rivals?
Hamantaschen are an intriguing dessert to enjoy on Purim mostly for their unusual shape. It’s a cookie that tastes good and that bears historical significance to the story of Purim. But what exactly is the history behind these triangular cookies
The simplest and most widely heard explanation is that Hamantaschen symbolize Haman’s triangular hat. This signifies the Jewish people’s victory over Haman. Israelis refer to Hamantaschen as Oznei Haman, the ears of Haman, which demonstrates the same symbolism.
There is also another interpretation that the word Hamantaschen derived from the word mohn, which means poppy seed. It is customary to eat poppy seeds on Purim and they are available in poppy seed Hamantaschen as well.
Hamantaschen are delicious little triangular cookies that are eaten on Purim. They are the most popular Purim snack. They are most often filled with raspberry, apricot, chocolate, or poppy seed fillings. There are many other variations available as well.
The fruit filled Hamantaschen are the most widely seen Hamantaschen around. They are made with apricot and raspberry preserves or jam for filling. The Hamantaschen’s crispy cookie balances nicely with the soft and chewy center from the filling.
The chocolate filled Hamantaschen are usually the most requested flavor. Everyone loves to enjoy these Hamantaschen especially when they are warm. The gooey chocolate with the crunchy cookie are a delicious combo. These tend to be the most decadent flavor available, so these may be eaten up the fastest!
Other common Hamantaschen available are the prune Hamantaschen and poppy seed Hamantaschen kinds. They may not be the most obvious flavors for a dessert but they definitely succeed in providing a tasty treat. It is even a great excuse to enjoy a dessert for a nutritional supplement.
No matter which flavor Hamantaschen you choose to enjoy on Purim, you really can’t go wrong. You can bake them up and give them out as part of your Mishloach Manot or simply buy them wherever they are sold.
Hamantaschen are fairly easy to make. It’s like making cookies but in a different shape and with slightly different steps. You may prefer to use your own cookie dough recipe instead of following a brand new recipe. You may also opt to buy pre-made cookie dough and make your Hamantaschen after rolling out the prepared dough. Whichever you choose, you are bound to end up with delicious Hamantaschen cookies.
There are pretty easy Hamantaschen recipes and there are more complicated ones. The level of complexity can be measured by the ingredients that may be tedious to prepare or by ingredients that wouldn’t necessarily be in your own pantry (for example: lemon zest or agave nectar).
An easy fruit Hamantaschen recipe can take about 30 minutes to make including baking time.
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange juice
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup fruit preserves, any flavor
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
2.In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until lightly and fluffy. Stir in the oil, vanilla and orange juice. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter to form a stiff dough. If dough is not stiff enough to roll out, stir in more flour. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter or the rim or a drinking glass. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of preserves into the center of each one. Pinch the edges to form three corners.
3.Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
A more complicated recipe can take up to an hour with the preparation of the filling.
20 ounces pitted prunes (2 packages)
12 ounces dried apricots (2 packages)
6 ounces dried peaches (1 package)
10 ounces raisins (1 package)
1 orange (thin skinned or peeled)
6 ounces apricot jam (1/2 a small jar or to taste)
1 dash lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1/2 lemon, juice and zest of
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-5 cups flour (sifted)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch baking soda
1 For the filling, simply chop all the ingredients fine in your food processor and mix well.
2 For the dough, cream sugar and eggs.
3 Add oil and mix until it turns pale yellow and is no longer shiny.
4 Mix in lemon and vanilla.
5 In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
6 Slowly add dry ingredients to wet. When it becomes difficult to mix, add more flour and knead.
7 Preheat oven to 375°F.
8 To assemble cookies, roll out dough (in batches) to desired thickness (maybe a little thinner than 1/4") and cut into circles of desired size (can use cookie cutter, inverted glass, etc). Put a dollop of filling in the center of each cookie and fold up into a triangular shape, pinching the corners and leaving the center open so that the filling peeks out.
9 Bake cookies for about 15 minutes until they are beginning to brown. I've always greased the cookie sheet very lightly with non-stick spray, but I don't know that you need to.
It may be worth it to try a more hands on recipe if you are trying to impress company or to get an even more delicious version of your favorite Purim snack!
Chocolate Hamantaschen http://www.jewishfood-list.com/recipes/cookie/hamant/hamantaschchoc01.html are special for the successfulness of their rich filling. Any ordinary cookie dough will work well with any luscious chocolate center.
Caramel Pecan Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups toasted chopped pecans
7 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk or nondairy creamer
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk or whipping cream or coffee
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
3 cups flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
3 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg white
Make Caramel Pecan Filling:
Bring sugar and water to boil in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring with wooden spoon until sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat and add pecans, butter and milk. Return to heat, stirring constantly, and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in honey. Transfer to oven-proof glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
Make Chocolate Filling:
Combine cocoa, sugar, milk and walnuts in bowl and blend thoroughly.
Combine flour, almonds, baking powder, salt and sugar. Blend in butter with electric mixer until mixture resembles very fine crumbs.
Blend water and cocoa in small bowl and beat in egg. Add to flour mixture and beat until mixture begins to form dough. Do not over-mix. Transfer to floured board and knead into ball. Chill 30 minutes for easier handling.
Divide into 6-7 portions. Flatten each with palm of hands and roll out 1/4" thick. Cut into 3-1/2" rounds with scalloped cookie cutter.
Place 1 teaspoon Caramel Pecan Filling or Chocolate Filling in center of each round. Fold edges of dough toward center to form triangle, leaving bit of filling visible in center. Pinch edges to seal. Place on lightly greased, foil-lined baking sheet and brush with egg white.
Bake at 350°F until firm, about 20 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.
When making your very own Hamantaschen from scratch, you need to remember to prepare the dough thick enough so that it will hold the glob of filling on top without breaking. Also when you are pinching the ends of the circle of cookie dough to form a triangle, remember to press down firmly and securely to ensure that none of the corners will loosen while baking.
There are different types of Hamantaschen you can make. Instead of using natural preserves, try icing to create the look and feel of a Hamantaschen cookie. Whichever way you choose to make your Hamantaschen, it is sure to be a hit! With all the recipes available to select from you are bound to finish with a wide variety of delicious Hamantaschen cookies.