CJP staffer, mom and self-proclaimed foodie Elizabeth Sternberg recommends making hamantashen with your kids as a fun Purim kitchen activity. After all, the filling possibilities are endless! There’s the traditional poppy seed, prune and apricot, and other fun ingredients like chocolate chips, flavored jams, peanut butter cups and coconut. So grab some aprons and have fun with this simple dough recipe. You can make it ahead of time and then roll it out when you’re ready to bake. Use a round glass to cut out circles, and let your kids have fun with the fillings (just don’t put too much filling in each one, otherwise they’ll fall apart while baking). This recipe makes two to three dozen.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets (or use parchment paper to line them). In large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy (use a stand mixer if you have one). Blend in oil, vanilla and orange juice. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter to form a stiff dough. If dough isn’t stiff enough to roll out, add a little more flour. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4-inch thick. Cut into circles using the rim of a wine or water glass. Place circles two inches apart on cookie sheets. Place about two teaspoons of filling in the center of each circle. Pinch the edges to form three corners. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes before eating. These will keep in a covered container for up to a week.
Purim Suggestions for Kids
Johanna Perlin, director of Temple Shalom Nursery School in Newton, suggests these other activities to get in the Purim spirit:
- In addition to the fun of baking, making hamantashen can be expanded into science exploration by engaging children in a discussion about what happens to the dough when placed in the hot oven. Record your kids’ predictions, and discuss what happens when left in the heat too long or too little. Ask kids: What are different ways to heat foods? What happens to bread, ice, chocolate, water, milk, eggs, etc., when placed in heat? When mixing the dough ingredients, have children try different utensils for stirring. Discuss which utensils work better to combine the ingredients.
- For the Hebrew month of Adar, in which Purim is celebrated, we are instructed to be “happy.” To help children experience this sentiment, sing one verse of the song “If You’re Happy and You Know It” each morning. And during dinner or before bedtime, ask each family member to share one experience that made them happy during the day.
- One of the four mitzvot for Purim is giving gifts of food (mishloach manot) to family and friends. As a family, create little bags or plates of goodies that include things like hamantashen, fruit and candy, and write a “Happy Purim” note. Deliver the bags to a special friend or family member, or ask to deliver the treats to a local nursing home.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a child-friendly Megillah reading. It’s one of the only holidays when children and adults are encouraged to make noise during the service!