Hamantaschen (Jewish Shortbread Cookies)


UPDATE 2016: with new pictures, a video, and new filling idea!

Purim may be over, but I think Hamantaschen are a delicious year-round treat. What are Hamantaschen, you may be wondering? They are a delicious fruit (or chocolate or poppyseed) filled cookie that you eat on the Jewish holiday, Purim. They are folded into triangles to represent the triangular hat that the story's villain (Haman) wore. Like many of my Jewish recipes, I use Joan Nathan's version (unless I have a traditional family recipe for it).

Hamantaschen
adapted from the Jewish Holiday Kitchen

Makes about 36

Ingredients
2/3 cup pareve margarine or butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2-3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt


Instructions
  1. Cream the shortening with sugar (we do this in the mixer) until the sugar is totally incorporated into the butter. You will know it's ready because the mixture won't be grainy. Add egg and continue creaming until smooth.
  2. Add the vanilla. Stir in the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt until a ball of dough is formed
  3. Chill for 2-3 hours, or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Taking 1/4 of the dough, roll out on a lightly floured board to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut circles of dough with a drinking glass or round cookie-cutter.
  6. Prepare your fillings by mixing poppy seeds with honey, sesame seeds with honey, or chipping chocolate. I also like to make jam filled cookies. It helps if you microwave the honey for about 15 seconds before mixing with the poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
  7. Fill with 1 teaspoon filling and fold into three-cornered cookies. (Press two sides together, and then fold the third side over and press the ends together.)
  8. Bake on a well-greased cookie sheet 10-16 minutes, until the tops are golden.
Creamed butter and sugar

Stop when it looks like this, don't overmix the dough!

Sesame and honey is my new favorite filling
Raspberry jam and chocolate chip fillings are good too
Best enjoyed with Manischewitz wine.

The Chef de Plunge on Foodista

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