Ten years ago, I taught my very first Sunday school class, a group of awesome sixth-graders who came twice a month to the (late, lamented) Silverlake/Los Feliz Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles. That particular JCC primarily served families with little other connection to the Jewish community, so we felt a special obligation during classes to give the kids the best possible taste of Judaism we could.
When Purim rolled around, I knew that meant we’d be making our own hamentashen, those triangular, fruit-filled cookies we trot out for Purim. However, as a recent college grad only starting to understand what to do in the kitchen, I needed to find the simplest recipe possible—and then make several batches of it together with a dozen 12-year-olds. I scoured the internet and came up with this one, chosen primarily for its lack of overnight refrigeration or zesting of any citrus fruit. (Please note: I love citrus zest, but 23-year-old David wasn’t quite as savvy as the David who’s writing this today.)
Makes about three dozen
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup oil
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 5 1/2 to 6 cups flour
- 1-2 small jars filling (apricot, prune or cherry preserves, poppy seed filling, etc.)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla.
- Add baking powder and flour.
- Knead until smooth.
- Roll out very thin (1/8 inch if you can) on a floured board.
- Cut out circles with a drinking glass.
- Put a dollop of filling in the center of each circle.
- Fold in three sides over the filling to make a triangle with filling showing in the center.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.
Gabrielle, who taught the third- and fourth-graders at that school, recommended dipping your finger in water and using it to gently moisten the rim of the dough circles before you fold them—she claimed it helps them stick or keep their form or something. All I know is that our third- through sixth-graders managed to create a good lookin’ and better tastin’ batch in no time, so I’m sure you can handle it too.
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