$1 to the person who can name the AWESOME 80s movie this post’s title derives from. We’ll give you a hint—it’s actually a song in the glorious movie.
Ok, moving on–we’re less than a week from Purim so clearly, Jewhungry spent some time baking hamantaschen on Sunday. Now, for those who don’t know, hamantaschen are a triangle-shaped cookies with delicious fillings (usually jelly-filled but can be anything from poppy-seed to prunes). The name hamantaschen comes from the hat worn by the villan Haman as found in the Book of Esther (one of five megillot). Purim is a fun holiday yes–one is supposed to drink until he/she cannot tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys–however, it also has a really great story to it that folks can relate to and some of this jewhungry writer’s fondest memories from Israel come from dancing in the streets of Nachla’ot at Purim time. But I digress–hamantaschen are good y’all, real real good. It seems that most Jewish cooks don’t have one set hamantaschen recipe unless they inherited one from their mother that just sticks with them. I’ve got an adorable mother-in-law who changes hanukah cookie recipes every year so I have to assume it’s the same for the hamantaschen. Now, the challenge with hamantaschen is keeping those bad boys sealed at the triangle points. Our advice is to use water. Water on raw cookie dough is like Elmer’s glue–it sticks. Just keep a little dish of water by your side while forming the cookies and you’ll be all good. Oh, and remember, a little goes a long way with the filling. It’s a natural inclination to want to shove that delicious cookie pocket with as much jelly-love as possible but you got to SLOW YOUR ROLL. That cookie will explode and become pizzataschen if you don’t tread lightly with your fillings. Trust us, we know.
This year’s hamantaschen recipe is brought to you by Smitten Kitchen. Now, most folks like to enjoy a parve hamantaschen but Smitten Kitchen had a recipe involving cream cheese so that was DEFINITELY going to happen.**
Yield: About 22 2-inch cookies
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/3 cups plus 4 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Various jams or preserves (we used strawberry and raspberry to which we added white chocolate chips for a nice raspberry/white chocolate mix) or prepared fillings (such as poppy seed or prune pastry or, if you’re SUPER healthy, you can go with Heath bar crunch filling like we did).
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°F.
To form the hamantaschen, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is 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 you 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. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
If you are new to baking and you don’t have cookie cutters, find the widest-rimmed drinking glass you have and use that. If the dough is super sticky you will need to add a bit more flour along the way. Super sticky dough will not stay together when baked.
**Side note: If you visit the recipe on the Smitten Kitchen blog, you’ll notice she comments on the cookies not being kosher if they include butter. Butter in a cookie doesn’t make it treif (or non-kosher), it just means that they are dairy and therefore not parve and cannot be eaten after meat.