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How to Make the Perfect Hamantaschen (With Videos!)

Yield:
Around 2 dozen

Now it’s all here in one video, in one post–from A-Z, from Ahasuerus to Zeresh–how do you make those perfect hamantaschen? Here you have it, in short little videos with my own two hands and messy kitchen.

This little guide is geared toward avoiding the worst pre-Purim fate: making beautiful, delicious-looking hamantaschen and then opening up the oven only to find they have exploded all over the place.

With these few easy steps, we think all bakers can avoid the curse of the leaky hamantaschen.

Find our classic hamantaschen dough recipe below, and tons of variations here.

And without further ado, here is a 1-minute video that combines all the steps (including a surreptitious Nutella-lick) into a quick jaunty watch:

Now let’s take that one step at a time:

Step 1: Make the dough and chill it for at least an hour.

Step 2: Roll it out your chilled dough to 1/4-1/2 inch thick:

Step 3: Cut out your cookies using a regular old drinking glass or 2.5 inch round cookie cutter.

Step 4: Place a scant 1/2 teaspoon of filling in each round, then fold the sides up pinching carefully along the edge and three corners.

Step 5: Place cookies in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before baking. This will help the cookies set and further ensure no leaking.

Bake, cool, and enjoy!

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Perfect Hamantaschen

Basic Hamantaschen Recipe

Posted on February 27, 2015

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Israelis Cure Peanut Allergies, Kosher Pot and Sausage Trucks in NYC

Another week and another new kosher food cart has hit the streets of New York. Or so it seems recently.

Food trucks became all the rage in New York about six years ago. And I should know – I gained 7 lbs sampling the abundance of fusion tacos, schnitzel sandwiches and red velvet whoopie pies when the trend first arrived. I then spent hundreds of dollars on a personal trainer to lose the weight. Thanks food trucks.

guys in front of shuka truck

But many years later, kosher food seems to finally be jumping on the bandwagon. I recently spent time with the Israeli threesome behind The Shuka Truck, and just yesterday stopped by The Holy Rollers (ten points for a great name) a new meat-centric sausage cart parked in midtown.

I love hot dogs, and I once even ate four in one sitting washed down by a pitcher of margaritas. Not my finest moment. I have also taken a sausage-making class. So with my love of hot dogs and sausage in mind, I was pretty excited to try the new cart. I ordered two of the sausage heroes, both topped with pulled brisket, pastrami and chili, and truth be told, I was a bit underwhelmed despite the abundance of meat. I thought the brisket was too sweet and saucy, there was too much bread, and not enough sausage because they don’t actually give you a whole sausage: they cut it in half. But they charge you nearly $15 for the hero, quite a bit more than your average $2 street hot dog, and certainly more than I prefer to spend on an average lunch.

holy rollers

However, my co-workers thought the sandwiches were great and really loved all the meat together. In fact my vegetarian co-worker was so enchanted by the scent of pastrami she decided to forgo her vegetarianism and didn’t look back, also loving the sausage hero. And so, it might just be me. Or it might be that the Holy Rollers have a decent product and hopefully will improve as they become more experienced. So if you love a whole lotta meat on top of sausage drenched in the sauce of your choice, you will probably enjoy the Holy Rollers and I would say go check them out. You can find them on Facebook.

Moving on from my own eating adventures to the news of the week: have you heard the recent news that the key to avoiding peanut allergies in kids might be the Israeli snack bamba? But no, seriously. A recent medical study has released findings that, contrary to what has been a popularly held belief for Americans, exposing children to small amounts of peanuts can actually ensure their ability to tolerate the food. And the study specifically explored why Israeli Jewish children had less incidents of peanut allergies than their American counterparts. One of the reasons? Bamba. So go ahead and enjoy your peanut-flavored snacks, and make sure to give it to your kids or grandkids too.

bamba

New Yorkers are about to get yet another new kosher restaurant. Tablet reports that Top Chef alum Alex Reznik is set to open a much-anticipated restaurant, Bedford Kitchen in Queens in six weeks from now.

And perhaps the most controversial of news this week was reported by the New York Post: a company in Colorado is working with rabbis in New York on a plan to start selling legal, edible marijuana products that are certified kosher. Marijuana itself doesn’t need to be certified kosher since it is a plant, but any edible item made with marijuana would need certification.

So there you have it, this week in kosher and Jewish news.

Got some news to share from your neck of the woods? Post on our Facebook page or email me at ssarna@70Facesmedia.org.

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Posted on February 26, 2015

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Triple Chocolate Hamantaschen

Yield:
2 dozen

Just when you thought you were sick of hamantaschen recipes I have one more. But it’s worth it, I promise.

triple chocolate hamantaschen

When people talk about hamantaschen it’s always about the filling: classics like poppy and apricot or more updated fillings like fluff or peanut butter and jelly. I love getting creative with the fillings (speculoos hamantaschen anyone?) but this year I also wanted to give a little love and attention to the dough. And what better ingredient to include than chocolate.

triple chocolate hamantaschen3

Once you have made your chocolate dough you can still get creative with the fillings, although my favorite was the delicious and easy nutella filling which perfectly complimented the dark cocoa powder in the dough and the sweeter white chocolate drizzle on top.  But you could also try filling the chocolate dough with raspberry jam, peanut butter or even halva.

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Triple Chocolate Hamantaschen

Posted on February 24, 2015

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Apricot-Infused Bourbon for Purim and Beyond

Hamantaschen get all the Purim glory, and rightfully so. These soft triangular cookies can be filled with anything from the traditional apricot, poppy seed or prune to non-traditional varieties like red velvet or Neapolitan. The only limits are your imagination and your oven space.

apricot bourbon infused

While the children are noshing on hamantaschen and dressing up in their Purim finest, the adults get to play with another tradition. I’m talking, of course, about the boozing. It’s a mitzvah to drink on Purim, so that one is intoxicated enough that they cannot tell the difference between the evil Haman or hero Mordechai. You don’t have to tell me twice. But what to drink?

apricots & cinnamon

I took inspiration from hamantaschen flavors and infused bourbon with apricots, and then poured the finished product over ice in a poppy seed rimmed glass. You can also get creative with the finished bourbon. Maybe make a bourbon caramel to drizzle over hamantaschen, or an apricot hot toddy? As a bonus, this recipe also makes boozy apricots. Which I recommend eating straight from the jar or serving over vanilla ice cream. Not a bourbon fan? You can substitute vodka or gin, and mix the final product with a splash of pomegranate juice to take the edge off.

apricot bourbon w poppy rim

 

Note: The apricots will absorb some of the bourbon so the yield will be less than two cups. You can easily double this recipe. I recommend it!

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Apricot-Infused Bourbon for Purim and Beyond

Posted on February 23, 2015

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

This Week in Kosher Food Trends

This past December I had the pleasure of attending for the first time the annual Latke fest held at the Metropolitan Pavillion in New York City. The event was a Jewish food lover’s dream – I was overwhelmed by delicious latke choices, even after two months of latke testing in my own kitchen. I was also somewhat surprised by how orderly the event ran: the guests were polite, there was ample room to move around and I was able to sample almost everything I wanted. I am still blown away by the creative combinations dreamed up by chefs from all over the New York City area including my own favorite: a chopped liver topped latke from Shelsky’s in Brooklyn.  I went home happy, full, a little buzzed and inspired from the innovative approaches to Jewish food.

KFWE crowds

Two weeks ago I attended the Annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience, also held at the Metropolitan Pavillion. But to walk through the doors you wouldn’t recognize the same room. The civilized, jovial atmosphere was gone, replaced by pushy hoards of people vying to get their money’s worth from the event, or single women decked out in their finest looking for a husband. I had to elbow my way in to get a taste of wine; I said excuse me to deaf ears; and several times as I tasted some of the liquor offerings I was chastised like a teenager to ‘be careful.’

I expected a lot of people. Fine. What I did not expect was the fighting I only ever see at the baby lamb chop station during a bar mitzvah shmorg. Silly me – throw a bunch of otherwise normal Jews into a room with meat and wine and everyone will revert back into pack behavior. I was joined by fellow food and wine lover Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me who helped me traverse the treacherous terrain. Here we are taking a selfie while tasting some red wine.

Liz and Shannon at KFWE

And aside from the jostling crowds, there were a few food highlights: I was finally able to try The Wandering Que’s much talked about brisket, and it was divine: well seasoned and fall apart tender. I also fell madly in love with the chipotle and cinnamon prime rib from T-Fusion Steakhouse, and not just because the guy serving me was a shameless flirt. It was amazing, I could not stop talking about the great flavor and perfectly cooked meat.

T-house fusion steakhouse

The wine was overwhelming, and due to the massive crowds, it was nearly impossible to speak at any length with the wineries. Nevertheless two of my favorites were the Drappier Brut Champagne Cart D’or ($49.99) and the Shiloh Shor Cabernet Franc ($29.99).

In other Jewish food news, there are two new kosher food carts that have recently hit the streets of NYC: The Shuka Truck, serving up different kinds of shakshuka and Holy Rollers, serving up some interesting combos of hot dogs and sausages. I haven’t been able to try Holy Rollers yet, though plan to go soon.  But I can say with confidence to check out the Shuka Truck. The food was delicious and the three Israeli friends running the shop are adorable and hysterical.

kitchen sync umami burger

Another exciting piece of news from the kosher food world: a new food delivery service called KitchenSynch has launched – the first and only Glatt Kosher meal kit delivery service that brings you all of the pre-measured ingredients you need to prepare a complete meal from scratch. So for those of you who get nervous about cooking, or want to branch and try new things, but with some of the guess work removed – this is a great option to try.

Kitchn Sync provides the seasonings and ingredients for the main course & side dishes, all individually wrapped and pre-portioned. Each delivery comes with a recipe card with step-by-step instructions that can be saved for future use. Sample dishes include Bimbimbap Bowls, Sangria Chicken with fruit glaze, and Roasted Tea Infused Chicken with cauliflower fried rice.  All chicken, meat, veal, lamb, and turkey used in the meals are locally sourced and under Glatt Kosher national kosher supervision. Kitchn Synch is the brainchild of Douglas Soclof, founder of Dougies BBQ & Grill who shares “I saw a missing niche in meal delivery kits for them. It’s for anyone looking for great quality, delicious food delivered to their door.” For more information check out their website, Kitchen Synch.

Got some kosher or Jewish food news to share from your hood? Email ssarna@70facesmedia.org or post below!

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Posted on February 19, 2015

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Rosewater and Pistachio Hamantaschen

Yield:
Around 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Each year as Purim approaches food bloggers like me scramble to find the most unique, creative and sometimes bizarre ways to make “hamantaschen.” I would be lying if I said I was immune to this pressure. But I have taken this annual challenge as an opportunity to focus on delicious flavor combinations for hamantaschen, not just crazy ideas, hence my most recent recipe: Speculoos hamantaschen which pretty much blew my chocolate ganache and salted caramel hamantaschen out of the water.

rosewater pistachio hamantaschen3

I was also thinking about color this year, and the Persian-inspired combination of rosewater and pistachio. Since picking up rosewater in Israel this past summer, I have tried using it in a number of dishes. I really love the subtle, fragrant flavor, although I have also learned that a little goes a long way: it can pack quite an overwhelming floral punch if you use too much.

Since the Purim story of Esther, Mordechai and Haman takes place in ancient Persia, what better flavors to use than rosewater and pistachio? You will love the rich yet subtle flavor of these treats, plus the color is just so pretty you can’t help but be thrilled to see these lined up on a platter at a Purim party.

SONY DSC

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Rosewater and Pistachio Hamantaschen

Posted on February 18, 2015

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Tagalong Hamantaschen

Tagalong 1 text

People might wax poetic about the fall foliage or eagerly await summer, but the season I look forward to the most is Girl Scout Cookie season! New Years Diets are quickly forgotten…at the first sight of those adorable girls in green berets I squeal with excitement before buying so many boxes I have trouble carrying them away!  My favorites include Samoas and Thin Mints, but I think we can all agree that there’s almost no better combination than sweet peanut butter and delectable shortbread cookie all wrapped in a smooth chocolate coating.  Yes, my friends, it’s true. I am firmly on Team Tagalong.

As I was munching on some Tagalongs after work last week and glancing at my calendar at the upcoming holidays I realized it was pretty much my duty to all fellow Jewish food and Girl Scout cookie lovers to reinvent the Tagalong as a hamantaschen cookie. After a few attempts to perfect the recipe, I created an easy shortbread cookie dough, peanut butter filling and chocolate candy coating that my husband and friends couldn’t get enough of. It definitely tops the Chocolate Hamantaschen with Irish Crème Filling I created last year, and that one was pretty good.

Tagalong 4

One note of caution – don’t upgrade the ingredients! When testing this recipe, I discovered using chocolate bark made all the difference in mimicking the flavors of the Tagalong. You might be tempted to go for the high quality dark chocolate, but don’t! The chocolate bark thinly coats the shortbread dough and peanut butter filling for that amazing crunch and taste that you used to only be able to find in that beautiful red Tagalong box.

These Tagalong hamantaschen taste identical to the original Girl Scout cookie, but in a Purim-perfect package your friends and family will adore – Scouts’ honor!

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Tagalong Hamantaschen

Posted on February 17, 2015

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Inedible Hamantaschen Jewelry

Do you love food so much that you would wear it around your neck? Or hanging from your ears?

If the answer is yes then you are in luck because that’s exactly what sisters Jessica and Susan Partain are making with their company Inedible Jewelry.

The Martha Stewart Show

I first came across their adorable pieces of “inedible jewelry” while scrolling through instagram. I discovered their hamantaschen jewelry – that’s right, hamantaschen jewelry – and I wanted to learn more. They have challah charms, pomegranate earrings and even matzah jewelry, truly a Jewish female food lover’s dream come true. Jessica was kind enough to give me some of her time over the phone earlier this week, where I learned about how she turned a hobby for dollhouse food into a full time jewelry business.

The sisters aren’t Jewish (it’s ok guys, not everyone is perfect), but food has played an inspirational role in their upbringing. Jessica shared with me that her Italian grandmother was a huge influence in their life. “There was never just dinner – it was a 12 hour eating marathon. One time we even were walking out the door headed to a restaurant and she asked, ‘does anyone need anything to eat before we go to dinner.’ ”

inedible collage1

The sisters actually got started by making food for their dollhouse as kids, sculpting handmade, tiny food for their dolls who were “vastly over fed.” When they were in high school they decided playing with dollhouses wasn’t acceptable anymore, so they decided to focus their talents on jewelry. And in 2006 Jessica and Susan turned their part-time hobby into a full-time business, at least for Jessica who runs the business full time out of their native Charlottesville, Virginia. The vibrant farmer’s market in Charlottesville has even served as an incubator for their business, providing a great space to build up their following and test out ideas.

They don’t just make Jewish food of course, but a variety of classic American eats, sweets and even special orders. What’s the craziest request they ever got? A Japanese dessert called Taiyaki, or what is also known as “waffle fish.” And we thought gefilte fish was a strange dish. “Food speaks to such varied, but specific traditions and celebrations. That’s one of the reasons we love making our jewelry,” Jessica shared. People have even proposed with their jewelry!

Check out all their creations including their various hamantaschen pieces on Etsy. And if anyone wants to order me a challah necklace, you know where to find me.

hamantaschen jewelry collage

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Posted on February 11, 2015

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Rice Krispies Treats Hamantaschen

Yield:
2 dozen treats

As a former chef and pastry chef I had many delicious sweet and savory treats in mind to turn into hamantaschen for this year. But I wanted to keep it simple enough to recreate in a home kitchen, yet something different to also get people excited about Purim and hamantaschen of course too.

nosher5

Rice Krispies treats on a stick are always one of the most popular items I sell from my dessert company, and so it felt only natural to turn these into a Purim delight for the whole family to enjoy.

The best part about this recipe is that there is no oozing of filling, no seams of the dough breaking, and NO BAKING. This recipe may be different than your average Rice Krispies Treat since there is no fluff involved. The authentic way to make Rice Krispies Treats uses real marshmallows melted with a little butter to insure a crunchy, not too sweet and absolutely delicious dessert.

Nosher1

To use these in your mishloach manot I recommend heading to Amazing Savings or Michael’s to get some cute treat bags to store them. Include a packet of hot chocolate mix and you have yourself an easy and delicious s’mores-themed mishloach manot.

nosher4

Rice Krispie Treat Hamantaschen

Posted on February 10, 2015

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Speculoos Hamantaschen

speculoos hamantaschen1 text

Speculoos, or European cookie butter, seems to be all the rage these days. Trader Joe’s makes their own brand and also has several speculoos related products including a chocolate bar and even flavored cookies. Food52 has a recipe for making your own cookie butter and Kitchen-Tested has a vegan recipe as well. I bought mine at Target, but I wager most major supermarkets will have it in stock.

I don’t always fall into trends, but I will admit: speculoos cookie butter is delicious and addictive. It is sweet, it tastes like a cookie but has the smooth, creamy consistency of peanut butter. I am not one to eat peanut butter right out of the jar, but dear god help me if I see a spoon near a jar of speculoos.

speculoos hamantaschen2

And so, it seemed perfectly obvious when my husband suggested a speculoos filled hamantaschen. I went to work right away, filling each triangle and then drizzling the finished product in dark chocolate and topped with pearl sugar. After all, a European cookie butter hamantaschen needs an extra sophisticated topping. I also added a pinch of thick sea salt to take the sweet flavors up a notch.

Note: the speculoos will spread a lot when it is baked, so make sure to pop your assembled cookies into the freezer for 5-10 minutes before baking. This will help ensure the cookies remain intact.

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Posted on February 9, 2015

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy