Recipe for Hamantaschen 101

recipe for hamantaschen

Listen, I know I’m two days too late. I’ve never been a punctual person. I am mainly posting this here so I remember this recipe for hamantaschen and exactly what I did for next year.

I don’t know what it is about Hamantaschen cookies (Hamentashen??) but I have a really hard time making them work. They either open in the oven, stuff is oozing out of them, I either over-flour or overbake and cookie ends up being dry af and/or completely lacking flavor. It’s such a bummer.

If you’re unfamiliar – Hamentashen cookies are triangular cookies filled with fun things jam, Nutella, chocolate, all kinds of things. They’re traditionally eaten in conjunction with the Jewish holiday Purim – think: Jewish Marci Gras/Halloween. The villain of the Purim story is named Haman and one interpretation of these cookies is that they are supposed to represent the 3 pointed hat that he allegedly wore, and now we eat them out of spite. Sick burn! There are a zillion other very interesting interpretations (some more interesting than others) I personally don’t need a lot of rationale. I’m into traditional and festive and when it comes to reasons for cookies, I can be very detail-light.

After years of lackluster hamantaschen, I think I’ve got it. Disclaimer: I have found hamantaschen execution to be weirdly polarizing. People have some strong feelings around their ‘tashies, evidently. Feelings about which filling is best, feelings about assembly technique (the great “pinch or pinwheel” debate. It is a WHOLE THING)

Recipe for Hamantaschen 

 

 

It seems most people are team pinch (including both pastry chefs who weighed in) but team pinwheel was much more passionate about it.

Finally, the last option up for debate is whether a doughy, more cake-like hamantaschen or a thinner, more delicate shortbread-like hamantaschen is the way to go.

I prefer the latter. I also like a more flavorful dough, and some extra salt and orange zest really do it for me. So when I say, I think I made the perfect hamentashen – what I mean is, I made the perfect hamentashen for my personal preferences.

IN RELATED NEWS: I think I finally understand recipe bloggers. I’ve just written a novel on hamentashen without taking a breath or getting to the recipe. If you’ve made it this far… I appreciate you.

A Few Quick Dough Tips

A quick note on dough: I find it easier to roll out my dough just after I’ve made it smooshed between two pieces of parchment paper then wrap in these slabs in Saran Wrap before chilling in the fridge or freezer. This is so much easier than fighting with some huge rock of hard dough, and you don’t risk overworking your dough and accidentally making it tough.

hamantaschen recipe

just some chilly slabs of dough

Another important dough note (donut?): unevenly rolled dough = unevenly baked cookies. For years I’ve been rolling my cookies with paint stirrers under my pin, but I just got these amazing silicone rounds for my rolling pin and I LOVE THEM.

rolling hamantaschen cookies

They come in a pack of all different sizes and I’m so mad I never used them before.  You can buy them and use on your existing rolling pin, or get the rolling pin that comes with them.

Recipe for Hamantaschen

Hamentashen

Print Recipe
Delicate and buttery Hamentashen with a hint of orange

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Cup Butter room temperature
  • 1 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Large eggs room temperature
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Tsp orange zest
  • 1 Big huge pinch salt don’t be shy
  • 4 1/2 Cup AP Flour
  • filling(s) of your choice

Instructions

  • in a large bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar for a full 3+ minutes
  • add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating before adding the next or any other ingredient
  • add vanilla, orange zest and salt
  • add flour in, slowly, it will be pebbly but will eventually come together. knead dough briefly until it forms into a large ball
  • divide dough into 4-ish parts, roll to 1/8” thick slabs, cover with Saran Wrap and chill for 3 hours or more (preferably overnight)
  • cut into 3” rounds, re-rolling dough as necessary
  • place 1 tsp filling in the center of each round
  • fold in the sides to form a triangle around the filling, pinching each corner very securely (or pinwheel, if you prefer. Don’t @me.)
  • optional! Chill again for 30-ish minutes or however long you want. I think this step helps it keep its shape
  • arrange cookies on parchment paper or a slip at on your baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. These have never taken me longer than 11 minutes, but everybody’s oven is different
  • NOT OPTIONAL: transfer to a wire rack if you have one, but at the very least, wait for them to cool completely so you don’t burn the daylights out of your tongue and mouth.

Notes

I have so many notes.  I have screwed these things up for so many years - here are my thoughts.  
For the love.  Use room temp butter.  Cream it with the sugar super well.  It should be fluffy
Don’t screw up this good work by adding cold eggs - room temp eggs will emulsify so much better and easier 
You can add tablespoons of flour or water to make the dough stickier or less sticky as you prefer - but if you add too much flour, it’ll be super chalky.  I like to roll my slabs between parchment paper before wrapping in Saran Wrap to cut down on the dough-on-the-rolling-pin situation
My silicone mats have started to taste like dish soap.  Anybody got a cure for that? Just ordered new ones JIC.  
Regarding the dough - I know some people use orange juice. I tried it.  For me, I prefer the zest situation.  Alternatively, you could skip the zest and replace with almond extract or whatever you want! 
I think Hamentashen dough with a little cream cheese in the dough is for sure more delicious - but in my experience, they don’t hold their shape.  These are tricky little cookies. 

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