July 28, 2014 / 1st of Av, 5774
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02/28/2012
The Tastiest Hamantaschen (Including Gluten-Free!)

Purim wouldn’t be complete without hamantaschen, the three-cornered treat meant to symbolize the holiday’s villain, Haman. Here are two great recipes—a traditional version and a gluten-free alternative. (Looking for more allergy-free recipes? Try this gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free version, or this organic gluten-free, dairy-free option.)

Hamantaschen (Dairy)
From Smitten Kitchen

Yield: About 22 2-inch cookies

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/3 cups plus 4 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Various jams or prepared fillings (raspberry, blackberry, apricot, poppy seed, prune pastry, etc.)

Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add sugar and mix for one minute longer, then egg, vanilla extract, orange zest and salt, mixing until combined. Finally, add the flour. The mixture should come together and be a tad sticky. If it feels too wet, add an additional tablespoon of flour. Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To form the hamantaschen, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter (3 inches is traditional, but very large; I used one that was 2 1/2 inches), cut the dough into circles. Spoon a teaspoon of your filling of choice in the center. Fold the dough in from three sides and firmly crimp the corners and give them a little twist to ensure they stay closed. Leave the filling mostly open in the center. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on racks.

Gluten-Free Hamantaschen (Dairy)
From About.com Celiac Disease

7 ounces butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (use your favorite blend of gluten-free flours)
Apricot jam, strawberry jam or prune butter for filling
1 egg, beaten (optional)
Confectioner's sugar for garnish (optional)
Extra flour for handling the dough

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add the sugar and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Let the mixture come to room temperature. Then add in the flour and mix lightly. Refrigerate the dough for an hour or more. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle the paper with flour. Coat your hands with flour and break off enough dough to roll between your palms into a ball of about an inch to an inch-and-a-half in diameter. Make sure the ball is coated with flour, and place it on the baking sheet. Coat the bottom of a drinking glass or custard cup with flour, and flatten the ball of dough to about 1/8 of an inch. (Don’t press too hard or the dough will stick to the glass.)

Place about a teaspoon of filling on the circle of dough. With a flour-coated spatula, gently lift the edges of the circle. Pull up the sides and pinch three corners together to form a triangular cookie, with the filling showing. It doesn’t matter if the dough doesn’t look perfect. Use your finger to close any holes in the sides. Repeat the process until the baking sheet is filled, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Some people like to brush their hamantaschen with beaten egg and sugar before baking. Others like to sprinkle them with confectioner’s sugar after they’re baked.

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Kali Brodsky is the editor of JewishBoston.com. She can be reached at editor@jewishboston.com.
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