Saturday, February 27, 2010

Never too late for Hamantaschen

...and as a matter of fact, I could just about eat them all year long.
This is the recipe I have been using for the last few years and it never failed me. It's easy to make, easy to work with and best of all, you can accidentally over stuff your hamantaschen and it won't open up. They stay exactly the way you make them. Picture perfect! 

Are they any good? You'll have to try for yourself, but I can assure you, they are the most tender, melt in the mouth hamantaschen you'll ever had. 

But! There are rules to get it right. 

1. Don't use fillings that you've never tried before, like jams, which will boil out of the cookie and make a mess.

2. Don't make short cuts if you don't have all the ingredients. 
3. Double check your oven's temperature.

To make hamantaschen, you need to make the dough and the filling. You can find many recipes for fillings, but I recommend giving this one a try, specially if you aren't a big fan of poppy seeds, like me.
Let's start with the dough:

Hamantaschen Dough
300 g of flour
100 g of powdered sugar
1/2 coffee spoon of baking soda
pinch of salt
200 g of butter
2 egg yolks
1/2  organic orange zest
1/2 orange juice

Take the zest from your half lemon and squeeze out the juice into a glass. Add an equal amount of cold water to it (it will make about 1/4 of a cup). 
Cut your butter into small pieces.
Put the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into the mixer, add the butter and mix at medium speed until it looks like coarse sand. 
Now, lower the speed to the minimum and add the 2 egg yolks, the orange zest and half the orange juice. Speed up the mixer just until the dough forms a ball and stop immediately. It's very important not to over work the dough. 
If you feel that the dough is still crumbly, add just a few more drops of orange juice and speed up your mixer for just a few seconds.
Remove from the mixer unto a working surface and make a neat ball. Put it in a plastic bag and let it rest while making the filling.

Spiced Almond Nut Filling
My favorite filling is by far medjool dates. I usually eye ball the recipe, but I'll post it as soon as I have it on paper. If you like almonds, you'll love this one!

100 ml of milk
100 g of sugar
50 g of butter
60 g of honey  
1/2 orange zest
cinnamon (to your taste)
large pinch of salt
pinch of ground clover (opt)
20 ml of arak (or any other liquor that you like)
100 g of almond meal (or ground poppy seeds)
30 of cranberries (raisins or chopped dates)
30 g of coarsely ground nuts (I like walnuts, but you can use pecans or even macadamia)
6 to 8 tablespoons of breadcrumbs (highly variable)

My favorite filling is by far medjool dates. I usually eye ball the recipe, but I'll post it as soon as I have it on paper. 

Start by gathering everything on the list. It will be much easier.
Warm up the milk in a small pan, add the butter, sugar, honey, zest, cinnamon, salt, clover and arak. Let it nearly boil, just so the flavors blend. Remove from the heat and add the almond meal, the cranberries and the nuts. Finally, add the breadcrumbs. Start with 3 to 4 tablespoons and give it a good stir. It should have approximately the same texture as the hamantaschen dough, so keep adding and stirring until you get the right consistency. Ideally, you should even be able to shape small balls with this filling. It should not be too stiff though!

Now is a good time to turn on your oven (turbo is fine) and heat it up to 190 degrees celcius.

Now, take your dough and gently flatten with the rolling pin, sprinkling flour both under and over. 
Sometimes, the dough will still stick to your counter top. Don't worry. Just scrap it off and shape it back into a ball. Work it a little bit and try again. When you dough is about 5mm thick, start cutting circles with a cookie cutter (no smaller than 8cm). Take all the scraps, shape a ball and repeat.
Put all your circles of dough on your floured working surface and have a little bowl with water nearby.  
Dip your fingers in the water and just moisten 3 or 4 circles. Drop about a coffee spoon of filling in the middle and gently close the dough around it, so you'll get 3 corners, leaving the filling visible in the center. Seal the seams well. Moisten another 3 or 4 circles and repeat.
Put your hamantaschen on a lined cooking tray (no need to leave much space between them, since they don't really rise). Cook for about 15 minutes or just until they start to be slightly golden.



This recipe usually makes two trays of cookies (25 to 30 cookies total)

If you have any trouble making this recipe, please let me know, I'll work with you until you get it right!


  1. I would love those as I am wild about almonds. They look like a lot of work, but from the last picture, I see it pays off in the end. Kudos to you. I only wish you could share across the miles.

  2. Actually, if you can find a jewish bakery anywhere in your area, they will definitely have hamantaschen, since now is the time of the year when they are traditionally made. You can always try the recipe, it's pretty much fail proof! :)

  3. I usually don't like these, but yours really look good. plus almond&nuts filling sounds way better than chocolate or poppy seeds. only decent ones I've ever had were filled with dates, I think.

    PS how did the costumes turn out?

    happy purim!