Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hamantashen

The Jewish holiday of Purim is less than a week away!  On Sunday I had the pleasure of baking some Hamantashen in the shul kitchen with some of my Kadima kids and a brave parent volunteer.  I LOVE this recipe for the dough; my mom used it each year when I was growing up.  I am modifying it a bit from the original though, to reduce the amount of sugar.  If you like your dough really really sweet, stick to the original amount, my modification is in red.

HAMANTASHEN- My mom's recipe

This makes about 3 dozen average size cookies with each side being about 2.5 inches in length


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 and 1/3 sticks of butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 c and think it can be further reduced to 2/3 or even 1/2 but I have not experimented with less than 3/4c)
  • 1 egg
  • splash of Vanilla
  • 3 tbsp of water
  • 2.5 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Fillings of your choice- we did chocolate, apricot, poppy and prune.- see notes

DIRECTIONS:
Cream together softened butter with sugar until fluffy.  Add egg, vanilla, water, and baking powder and mix on medium speed.  Slowly add the flour, about 3/4-1 cup at a time to incorporate.  Once the flour is mostly incorporated, the mixture will look like little balls of dough.   With clean hands, kneed the dough together in bowl or on clean counter, you may need to add additional water (maybe 1 tsp) but prior to doing that, make sure you really work the dough for about 1 minute and try to put in ball form. Only if it does not come together should you add more water.  A tiny bit goes a long way with this dough.  Roll out dough on counter or seran wrap to approximately 1/8 inch thickness (it should be thinner than the cookie of a regular oreo!)  Using a cookie cutter (I used a water glass) cut circles from the dough.  Now, you can either fill some and go back to working with the rest of the dough, or as I like to do, I make all the circles first and then start filling.  Use about 1 tbsp of filling for each cookie. Using 2 teaspoons, one to scoop and one to push from spoon onto circle, fill each circle of dough with desired filling. Pinch the corners, folding the pieces of dough in to form triangle. Make sure your corners are well pinches and you fold over so that there is a small whole in the center but most of the filling should be covered by the dough folded over.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

For best results and to keep your cookies from bulging while baking, you want your pre-baked cookie to be closed off like  THIS:

Rather than really open THIS (as you can see, these cookies do not have crisp sides and are a bit bulgy:

NOTES: I prefer using SOLO brand filling. It can be found in your baking ingredient section of the grocery store, usually near the pie fillings and graham cracker crusts.  It is not cheap, running about $3.50-$4 a can but do NOT cheap out and purchase jams instead. Jam has a tendency to run and get soggy when baked in Hamantashen.  Each small can has 9 servings and will fill about 25 cookies, so plan accordingly!  These cookies can be baked and frozen.  I froze leftover poppyseed filling and will probably use it in a few weeks to make a poppyseed cake/bread. I will report on defrosting and using the frozen filling then.

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