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In search of the perfect hamantaschen

All you need to know to make leak-free, perfectly shaped hamantaschen every single time

By Shannon Sarna (TheNosher.com)

 

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For such a simple cookie, the  hamantaschen gives a lot of headaches. The most frequently asked hamantaschen question I get is: Why do my hamantaschen keep exploding? How can I get my hamantaschen to keep their shape? Here’s how.

 

Pinch It. Pinch It Good

Don’t get lazy when pinching your hamantaschen corners. Make sure you pinch those corners nice and tight, each and every time – as if the fate of the Jewish people depends on it.

 

Keep it Jammin’

If you use a jam or other filling that is too watery or not thick enough, it may contribute to what we experts call…leaky hamantaschen syndrome. Fillings like Nutella, a thick jam, peanut butter (or other nut butter), and cream cheese sweetened with sugar (just to name a few) will keep their shape better than, say, dulce de leche or a runny jelly. One pastry chef in NYC told me that jams with high fructose corn syrup will hold their shape better than those without. 

 

Chill Out

The most crucial step for ensuring your cookies keep their shape is to CHILL THEM. That’s right – after you roll, fill, and shape your cookies, pop those suckers back into the fridge for 10 minutes or the freezer for five minutes to ensure a good bake.

Now get baking! Here are a couple of our favorite recipes to try:

The Best Classic Hamantaschen 

 

Say ‘buh-bye’ to dry hamantaschen forever with this classic recipe

Ingredients:

½ cup butter (or margarine)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk (or almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Directions:

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk, vanilla and lemon zest until mixed thoroughly. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.

Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by ½ cupfuls until firm.

Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Dust surface with powdered sugar to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick.

Using a round cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in powdered sugar before each cut!

Fill each round with your favorite filling, and using your favorite method, pinch corners together tightly.

Bake at 400° for about 7-9 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook, General Mills, 1950

 

Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Hamantaschen Recipe

By Aly Miller

Last week, I walked into the office to find a new cookbook on my desk: The New Yiddish Kitchen: Gluten-Free and Paleo Kosher Recipes for the Holidays and Every Day. And I immediately fell in love with the great diversity of recipes and wholesome ingredients. This cookbook gracefully merges Yiddish cookery with Paleo living, which is no easy feat. 

Writers Jennifer Robins (Down South Paleo) and Simone Miller (The Zenbelly Cookbook) wrote this book out of their love for Jewish food and whole-foods based lifestyles. They point out that holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween and Easter have plenty of grain-free and sugar-free alternatives. But there’s a real lack of options for Jewish holidays, and even classic deli favorites.

In their words, “Where are the grain-and gluten-free counterparts for matzo ball soup, we ask?!…when you take away gluten, grain and dairy, those favorite Jewish foods are few and far between, to be honest.”

And just in time for Purim, we’re pleased to have finally found a hamantaschen recipe from the book that fits the bill: dough that doesn’t crumble when you pinch the corners, fillings that taste even better than what you remembered, and cookies that disappear before you have time to photograph them.

This recipe is excerpted from The New Yiddish Kitchen: Gluten-Free and Paleo Kosher Recipes for the Holidays and Every Day (2016.) Reproduced by permission of Page Street Publishing. All rights reserved.

Ingredients:

Here are two options for fillings, raspberry and apricot, though there are endless possibilities!

For the cookie:
1 cup (110 g) cashews
1 egg
1 cup (95 g) almond flour
Pinch sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons (45 ml) maple syrup
¼ cup (28 g) coconut flour

For the berry filling:
1 cup (140 g) frozen raspberries (or fresh, if in season)
¼ cup (60 g) coconut palm sugar
½ lemon, juiced

For the apricot filling:
½ cup (160 g) fruit-sweetened apricot preserves
1 tablespoon (8 g) poppy seeds

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). To make the cookies, place the cashews into a food processor or blender and pulse until you have a “flour.” Next add in egg, almond flour, salt, baking soda and maple syrup. Blend more until all ingredients are well combined and form a dough.

Spoon the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and begin sprinkling in the coconut flour, 1 tablespoon (7 g) at a time. The dough will be sticky to start, but the coconut flour will take care of this. Once the stickiness is gone, roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper until it is about ¼ inch (6-mm) thick. Use a drinking glass or round cookie cutter (with a 3-inch [7.5-cm] diameter) to cut circles out of the dough. Set the circles aside.

To make the berry filling – which can also be made ahead – combine the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Then mash the fruit until it is soft and combines well with the sugar. Allow the mixture to simmer for about eight minutes or until it thickens and reduces. If there are any residual lumps you may briefly puree until a smoother consistency is achieved.

Alternatively, to make the apricot filling, combine the preserves with the poppy seeds and stir well.

Next, continue to assemble the cookies by taking one dough circle and placing a dollop of the raspberry filling in the center, no more than ½ teaspoon or so; do not overfill. Then fold the circle into thirds, sealing off the edges until a triangular shape is formed. Make sure you pinch the seams closed, or they can reopen while baking.

Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

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