Recipe: Hamentashen Cookies

I went home this past weekend to bake Hamantashen cookies with my mother. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a filled shortbread cookie folded into the shape of a triangle. We make them for the Jewish holiday of Purim in order to celebrate Jewish liberation from one of our many oppressors, Haman, who (according to legend) wore a three-pointed hat.

Haman

Over the years it’s become a tradition for my mother and I to bake off a ton of these, then distribute them to all of our neighbors and relatives for the holiday. So this year I figured I would share this “ancient” family recipe with the Internet, too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 & ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Flavored fillings*

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs and lemon extract until combined. Mix the baking powder into the flour, then add both to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.

Divide the dough into two equal sized balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to make the dough more workable.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough (one packet at a time) to 1/3 inch thickness. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter (or a good sized drinking glass if you don’t have one), cut circles in the dough. Then place a dollop of filing in the center and pinch the sides of the cookie together in three places to form a triangle-like pouch.

Return folded cookies to the fridge for at least ten minutes before baking. This will help prevent spreading. Once cooled, then bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes depending on the efficiency of your oven. The edges will be browned when cooked through.

*Baker’s Notes: there is a difference between filing and jam; in this instance they may not be substituted since the texture of jam is wrong for this particular cookie. As far as flavors go, you can use anything you like. My family’s favorites are: raspberry, apricot, and almond, though the traditional flavor of prune butter is also popular.

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