Before I get going here, I’m trying to win an opportunity to be on the Today Show baking desserts for all, so please vote for me. I’m the underdog (that’s an understatement) in this joyous contest, but wouldn’t it be a great story if I made it? It’ll take two seconds. Just click next to “vote up.” Thanks so much, friends!
Purim is on Thursday. Who knows what I’m talking about?
Every spring, the Jewish holiday of Purim occurs. It’s one of the fun ones, following the whole “they tried to kill us, they failed, let’s eat” mode of celebration. On that day, people dress in costume, deliver baskets of treats to friends, give charity, and eat hamantaschen.
This delightful cookie is named after the villain of the Purim story, Haman. These are triangular-shaped cookies that are traditionally filled with fruit or chocolate, but I’ve switched things up a bit. The dough here has a Linzer cookie twist with ground almonds, and the filling is chocolate raspberry. Talk about celebrating in style!
Holidays are the most fun with children. And I’m not really a kid person, which often surprises people because I both teach for a living and have three children of my own. But really, that’s not relevant. I don’t teach because I love kids; I teach because I want to help them. And as for my children, they’re mine. I love them. But other people’s? Well, depends on how well-behaved they are.
Anyway, I digress. It’s so much fun to see kids get excited about holiday celebrations. For weeks, I’ve been watching my kids prepare for Purim. They’ve been singing songs, making masks, and doing project after project. If I became bored with it all before they were born, now I’m right back into it.
In fact, my costume is all set to go. As long as my daughters insist on being Disney princesses every year (this year it’s Aurora and Rapunzel, while last year was Anna and Belle), I will persist in being a Disney villain. Last year I was Maleficent; this year I am Cruella. It actually works really well in making them less afraid of the evil parade of women Disney loves to share. Because really, they’re all quite terrifying.
Oh, well. We’ll leave the discussion of sexist portrayals of women as evil throughout history for another blog post. I’m already excited about a holiday. Let’s keep the energy there!
Hamantaschen are deceptively hard to make. They seem just like cookies, but the epic fail rate is pretty high for so many people. Among the possible issues you can encounter: dough is too sticky, not sticky enough, puffs up obscenely the oven, the edges open, the filling explodes. See? This Purim thing isn’t all fun and games.
This recipe is foolproof if you follow it. Please don’t improvise! And once your dough is rolled out in circles, pinch those edges together really well. You want almost no filling showing through. When I made these with my kids, they definitely had issues. But they’re kids, so it’s fine. It was fun anyway. The ones they made aren’t pictured here, of course.
Happy Purim to all of my readers. Whether you celebrate or not, try and get your hands on some hamantaschen! They’re worth the effort!
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat again until light and fluffy. Add the egg, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extract. Mix until smooth.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and stir until just combined.
- Shape the dough into a flat disc and place in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour or up to two days.
- When you're ready to bake, take the dough out the fridge and let it soften for 10-15 minutes.
- While that's happening ,make the filling. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for one minute. Stir until smooth, microwaving an additional 30 seconds if needed. Mix the melted chocolate with the raspberry preserves and lemon juice until all ingredients are combined. The filling will harden quickly, but you will still be able to use it.
- Place the dough on a floured surface and roll it out to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a circular cookie cutter or the top of a drinking glass, make circles in the dough.
- Place about 1/2 tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle. Pinch two sides together at the top, and then fold the bottom side up to meet the other two, forming a triangle. Make sure the sides are pinched well together, leaving very little space in the middle. The hamantaschen will open slightly while baking.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container.