We’re about to get REALLY old school here. And I don’t just mean back to my days at Adaith Israel Pre-School, but biblical old school. Like Ester, Haman, and King Ahasuerus old school. It’s Beyond the Batter … Purim Edition!
Over the next two weeks little Steins, Burgers, and Levy’s around the world will fold together these little triangle shaped, jam filled cookies to represent Haman… a very evil man who brought us a very not evil cookie. Hamantaschen are to Purim what matzah is to Passover, what apples and honey are Rosh Hashanah, and latkes to Hannukkah.
Unlike my memory of the actual Purim story, my memories of making Hamantaschen as a kid were fresh in my mind. This is the first time I have actually made them sense my Adath Israel Pre-School days, and it was just as much fun as I remember. Turns out… there is nothing better than spending a lovely Sunday afternoon with your friends rolling out dough, eating more filling than you use, and shamelessly Instagraming as many pictures as you can snap.
To make the whole experience as authentic as possible, I used same dough recipe given to me by my preschool teacher twenty years ago. Everyone brought a different filling to the table [literally], and my home girls and I spend the next two hours rolling, filling, and folding our Hamantaschen with a smorgasbord of flavors.
My flavor of choice was a fig + ginger spread I made that was the perfect balance of sweet and zingy. Other highlights included apricot + mango, cherry, apple jam, chocolate, walnut, pecan, and coconut.
Some turned out to be a mathematician’s equilateral dream, while others ended up more reminiscent of the Rorschach test.
Regardless of whether the cookie crumbled or stood strong they were absolutely delicious and impossibly charming.
So maybe Haman set out to destroy the Jewish people. But this Purim the only thing he really managed to destroy was my waistline.
Basic Hamantaschen Dough
Makes 3 dozen [if you use a wine glass for a cookie cutter]
½ c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
1 egg [+1 more if using an egg wash]
1 T. water
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
Preheat the oven to 350.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the egg, vanilla, and water. Stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients until everything is incorporated.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a circle cookie cutter [or wine glass in our case] cut out circles and arrange on a baking sheet.
Fill each circle with 1 t. or so of filling… you don’t want them too full to fold!
There are a few strategies for folding, but I preferred to simply lift the sides and pinch the corners closed. Other options include ‘the fold and tuck’ method or a more free form ‘whatever keeps my filling in the cookie’ ledge. The point is to make triangles but they taste good no matter what.
[Brush the Hamantaschen with an egg wash [beat an egg… brush the cookies with it] for a shiny, slightly more golden brown coat!]