Traditional Hamantaschen

hamantaschen
Traditional HamantaschenDrew Lederman

These triangular filled cookies are traditionally eaten on Purim, a Jewish holiday where revelers dress in costume and cookies are used to retell the ancient tale of an evil man named Haman. In 18th or 19th century Eastern Europe, a triangular pastry filled with poppy seeds known as mohntaschen (from the German words for poppy and pocket: mohn and tasch) led to the pastry's combined contemporary name: hamantaschen.

The stiff dough is very easy to work with and children are often taught to pinch circles of it into tidy triangles. We filled our version with our favorite homemade apple butter, though packaged poppy seed or prune fillings or fruit preserves all make acceptible substitutes.

What You Will Need

Traditional Hamantaschen
These triangular cookies are traditionally eaten on Purim, and they can be filled with any kind of fruit preserves
Yield: makes 35 Cookies
Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • Juice (2 Tbsp). and zest (1½ tsp.) of one medium lemon
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 12 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 12 cups (1½ lb.) filling, such as apple or prune butter, strawberry or apricot preserves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to to 350ºF and line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, add the eggs and sugar and whisk until light and foamy. Add the oil, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla extract, and stir to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and use a wooden spoon or stiff rubber spatula to stir well until a stiff, homogenous dough forms.
  3. Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn the dough out onto the surface. Press it into a cohesive mass, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to an even ¼-inch-thick sheet. Use a 3¾-inch round cookie cutter or the rim of a glass to punch circles in the dough. Pull the scraps away from the circles and set aside to be rerolled once. Using a tablespoon or a small scoop, portion 1 heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each circle. Fold in the dough from three sides and press the edges together to seal, leaving a small opening over the filling. When all of the cookies are shaped, place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake the cookies until lightly browned on the bottom and just set throughout, 18-22 minutes.
  5. Remove and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.