Hamantaschen

Hamantaschen

I'm not Jewish but I love Hamantaschen. Maybe it's because my mom used to work at a Jewish bakery that I love them so much. Whenever I would visit her at work, she would always let me have a Hamantasch to try. I especially love the ones filled with apricot preserve, but the ones filled with prune lekvar or poppy seeds are more traditional. At the time I didn't know the meaning behind the triangular treats. It was much later that I learned they were made for the holiday of Purim, which celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from the evil Haman as told in the Book of Esther.

These little pockets of sweet filling are rather easy to make. The dough comes together in minutes; it's only the chilling that takes time. Since the dough is very sticky, it's important to chill the dough in between handling to prevent tearing and misshapen circles. Orange juice and zest are traditional ingredients, which give the Hamantaschen a nice citrus flavor, but lemon juice and zest would work just as well. Celebrate Purim today with these cookies.

Hamantaschen

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
apricot preserve
prune lekvar

In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, zest, and juice; mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix until combined.

Form dough into two disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before rolling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with oven-safe parchment paper or Silpats.

Roll out one disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Keep second disk in refrigerator until ready to roll. Cut out circles with 3-inch or 2-1/2 inch round cutter and transfer using an offset spatula to lined baking sheet. Chill circles until firm, about 30 minutes. Form scraps of dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and keep in refrigerator until ready to roll again.

Remove chilled circles from refrigerator. Fill each with 1 tablespoon of preserve or lekvar. Fold up sides to create a triangular shape, pinching ends. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Yield: 30 Hamantaschen.