Even if you don’t celebrate Purim, this time of year is just a fabulous excuse to make these delicious fillable treats. I mean, any holiday whose representative food is a huge cookie is going to be a good one!
Turns out that hamantaschen is really easy to make dairy, egg, peanut and tree nut-free! Hamantaschen literally meaning “Haman’s Hat”, so called for the shape of the hat worn by the ultimately defeated villian of the Purim story. They are triangular-shaped cookies, filled with anything from chocolate to jam and anything else you can think of.
I’m excited to share this recipe and can’t wait to hear how you fill and adapt these delicious cookies!Adapted from the fabulous blog, A Shiska in the Kitchen:
- Substitute for 2 eggs: 1/4 cup applesauce and 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer combined with 2 Tablespoons water or soy milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 to 5 tsp water (if needed)
- Nonstick cooking oil spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
- Before you begin making the hamantaschen dough, choose and make your filling (see below) and have it on hand to work with. Hamantaschen dough dries out quickly if left to rest too long, so it’s best to have everything ready to assemble when you start.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, canola oil, orange zest and vanilla.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet, using a large wooden spoon until a crumbly dough begins to form.
- Knead until smooth and slightly tacky to the touch. Try not to overwork the dough, only knead till the dough is the right consistency. If the crumbles are too dry to form a smooth dough, add water slowly, 1 teaspoon at a time, using your hands to knead the liquid into the dough. Continue kneading and adding liquid until dough is smooth and slightly tacky to the touch (not sticky), with a consistency that is right for rolling out. It can easily go from the right consistency to too wet/sticky, so add water very slowly. If the dough seems too wet, knead in a little flour till it reaches the right texture.
- Lightly flour a smooth, clean surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Scrape the dough up with a pastry scraper, lightly reflour the surface, and flip the dough over. If you prefer a crisper, more delicate cookie: Continue rolling the dough out very thin (less than 1/8 of an inch thick) – just make sure that the dough is still thick enough to hold the filling and its shape! Lightly flour the rolling pin occasionally to prevent sticking, as needed.
- Use a 3-inch cookie cutter (not smaller) or the 3-inch rim of a glass to cut circles out of the dough, cutting as many as you can from the dough
- Gather the scraps and roll them out again. Cut circles. Repeat process again if needed until you’ve cut as many circles as you can from the dough. You should end up with around 35 circles.
- Place a teaspoon of filling (whichever filling you choose) into the center of each circle. Do not use more than a teaspoon of filling, or you run the risk of your hamantaschen opening and filling spilling out during baking. Cover unused circles with a lightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out while you are filling.
- Assemble the hamantaschen in three steps. First, grasp the left side of the circle and fold it towards the center to make a flap that covers the left third of the circle.
- Grasp the right side of the circle and fold it towards the center, overlapping the upper part of the left side flap to create a triangular tip at the top of the circle. A small triangle of filling should still be visible in the center.
- Grasp the bottom part of the circle and fold it upward to create a third flap and complete the triangle. When you fold this flap up, be sure to tuck the left side of this new flap underneath the left side of the triangle, while letting the right side of this new flap overlap the right side of the triangle. This way, each side of your triangle has a corner that folds over and a corner that folds under– it creates a “pinwheel” effect. This method if folding is not only pretty– it will help to keep the cookies from opening while they bake.
- Pinch each corner of the triangle gently but firmly to secure the shape.
- Repeat this process for the remaining circles.
- When all of your hamantaschen have been filled, place them on a lightly greased baking sheet, evenly spaced. You can fit about 20 on one sheet… they don’t need to be very spaced out because they shouldn’t expand much during baking.
- Place them in the oven and let them bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, till the cookies are cooked through and lightly golden.
- Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Store them in a tightly sealed plastic bag or Tupperware.
- Eat and enjoy!
For the Prune Filling:
- 1 cup pitted prunes
- ½ cup plum jam
- 2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- ¼ teaspoon orange extract or 1 teaspoon orange zest
For the Poppy Seed Filling:
- ¾ cup poppy seeds
- 3 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup dark raisins, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
For the Apricot Filling:
- ¾ cup dried apricots
- ½ cup mixed dried fruit (apples and pears, not prunes)
- ½ cup apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the Apple Filling:
- 2/3 cup peeled and cored McIntosh apples, diced into ¼-inch pieces
- 1/8 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
- ¼ cup finely chopped raisins
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
To Make the Prune Filling or Apricot Filling:
1. Purée all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
To Make the Poppy Seed Filling:
1. Pour boiling water over the poppy seeds and set aside for 15 minutes. Drain and grind (or put them in your food processor with the honey, brown sugar, raisins, and lemon rind).
To Make the Apple Filling:
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Put in a blender or food processor and pulse for a few seconds to make mixture a little moister and easier to use.
If your dried fruits (prunes, apricots, raisins) have become hard, soak them in warm water until soft but firm.