March 6, 2009

Hamentaschen


Chag Purim Sameach! (Happy Purim!)

As any Jew will tell you, most of our holidays can be described by one simple phrase: "They tried to kill us, they didn't succeed, let's eat!"

We have traditional foods associated with pretty much every holiday and celebration, and this is one of my favorite parts of my Jewish culture. For the upcoming holiday of Purim, Jews celebrate the story that wicked Hamen tried to kill us, but he failed. As part of the super-fun celebration, children dress up and adults imbibe enough so that they can't tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. Really, it's a pretty awesome party with great costumes, lots of loud noises to drown out Hamen's name (BOOO!!!) and of course, tons and tons of Hamentaschen!

This cookie is shaped like Hamen's hat, although some people say it is shaped like his ears. If that's the case, Hamen really must have looked like Spock. Everyone has their own favorite filling, but the best kind is the one where you get really creative. Every year, my friend Dana and her husband Michael have a hamentaschen baking party and we bring along creative fillings. We make a huge mess of flour, dough, jam and chocolate all over her apartment and eat way too many straight from the oven. So delicious!

Ingredients:
This recipe can be doubled easily! Heck, triple it and invite your friends over!
1/2 cup butter, at room temp
2 TBS water
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 egg
various jams for fillings. Traditional fillings include raspberry, strawberry, apple, apricot and poppyseed. I also like chocolate chips in mine!

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. You could spray them, also.
Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time (if you're using more than one) and mix thoroughly. Mix in vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Slowly pour the dry into the wet, making sure the flour mixture is fully incorporated. Don't overmix it, though! Add in the water, tablespoonful at a time, until it's a smooth consistency.

Take a handful of dough, and roll it out on a floured surface. Using a wide-mouth drinking glass as your cutter, cut out circles of dough. Place a small teaspoonful of filling in the center, then pinch up the 3 corners to form a pocket triangle. It's very important to pinch it closed so that the 'tashen doesn't burst open in the oven. Bake for 15 min, or until golden brown and delicious. Share with family and friends and celebrate!

4 comments:

The Food Librarian said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love Hamentaschen but have never made them. My favorite are the apricots ones you can get at Canter's in Los Angeles. Yum! Happy Purim!

Jill said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm not Jewish, but I've tried these and they're great. I'd love to bake my own! Thanks for the story behind the cookie.

Erica said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Chocolate chips are my favorite filling too! Daniel likes apricot. So boring...

Matthew said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

We made low-fat Hamentaschen this year and they tasted good. They didn't puff as much but that is fine. I think next year I'm going to make a different traditional (from another culture) Purim sweet.