Purim is less than two weeks away which means it is more than time to start planning for your festive celebrations and making sure you are ready for some hamantaschen baking. I always find that I look forward to baking much more when I have just the right gear, so I thought I’d share what’s been most useful to me in prepping for Purim.
I hate getting bits of flour and dough all over my counter when I am baking, so I love using one of these Jumbo pastry mats in order to roll out dough.
I doubted it at first, but I’ve actually found that a great rolling pin makes a difference. I love this silicone one. It’s really easy to clean and the dough almost never sticks to the surface.
I also want to highly recommend my absolute favorite Silpat. If you don’t already own one of these silicone baking mats, your baking life is about to improve forever. I love baking cookies and challah on these to ensure nothing sticks or burns and everything comes out perfect.
What to put inside those hamantaschen? My personal vote is for creamy, nutty, chocolatey Nutella. It’s easy, delicious but also a bit outside the bounds of traditional apricot or poppyseed.
Scientific fact: kids love to dress up. And maybe it will keep them quiet for 3 minutes while you finish your hamantachen baking. Well, we can hope. Get them this set of Purim masks.
But since adults love to dress up, too (at least, I do) I love this set of fancy feather masks perfect to distribute at a Purim party.
I also really love this silly but classic wooden Haman grogger! Forget using it as a noisemaker—I think it would make a great decorative accent for your Purim tablescape.
And if your heart’s in the right place but you want someone else to do the baking for you, send a delicious basket like this one. (Use code AFPUR14 for 10% off orders over $50, before 3/16).
Hope these picks were fun for you. Happy Purim 2014!
Hamantaschen are the traditional treat of the holiday of Purim. These delicious cookies remind us of our sweet victory over Haman, a villain with a triangular shaped hat who attempted to kill the Jews of Persia. Hamantaschen cookies are usually filled with poppy seeds or jam, but when I found out that Purim fell over St Patrick’s Day Weekend this year, I knew a recipe mash-up was a must!
I toyed with the idea of dying the hamantaschen dough green or picking a green filling — lime curd or Andes mint chocolate both sounded like delicious options. However, in the end I settled on incorporating the flavor of Irish creme liqueur. These Irish hamantschen have a crisp chocolate cookie crust that gives way to a rich and creamy spiked center. My take on the traditional Purim cookie is easy to make and pairs wonderfully with a cup of coffee
Having trouble folding your cookies? Try this tutorial if you’re having trouble!
For the dough:
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup vegetable shortening
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup irish crème liqueur
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
16 oz cream cheese (2 8oz packages)
½ cup sugar
1/4 cup Irish crème liqueur
For the topping:
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water, beaten
In a medium bowl, mix cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the shortening, butter and sugar. Add eggs and blend until smooth. Add liqueur and vanilla.
Fold in dry ingredient mixture until a dough forms. Do not overmix. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and form a large ball. Divide in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
While dough is chilling, prepare cheesecake filling. Blend cream cheese and sugar. Add Irish crème and the eggs one at a time, blending thoroughly after each egg.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk remaining egg and 1 tbsp water together to create an egg glaze.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until thin, around ¼ inch. Cut 3 ½ inch rounds with a cup or cookie cutter and brush round with beaten egg glaze. Fill each round with a teaspoon of Irish crème filling. Pinch corners together to create a triangular shape. Brush pastries again with the egg glaze.
Bake until golden brown (17 to 21 minutes).
Reprinted courtesy of www.thebigfatjewishwedding.
Check out the prizes on the site, and enter our Purim 2014 Gift Basket Giveaway. We’ll send an overflowing basket full of fresh-baked kosher goodies to three lucky winners. Let one of them be you!
Enter here, and spread the word — but only if your friends promise to send theirs to you:
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On Purim we are supposed to drink until we can no longer tell the difference between good and evil, right? Why drink till you can no longer tell the difference between good and evil when you can eat till you can’t tell the difference between good and evil, up and down, sweet and savory, you name it.
It seems each year bakers and bloggers are coming up with the most unique flavor combinations (myself included) that they can think of: pumpkin pie hamantaschen, peanut butter and jelly hamantaschen (a favorite in my house) and even rainbow hamantaschen.
Last year I created these Hamantaschen with Chocolate Ganache and Salted Caramel (which were featured in Buzzfeed’s 32 Crazy Hamantachen). And let me just say: they are delicious, throwing the days of poppy seed and apricot filled hamantaschen into last year’s pile of outdated trends.
Everyone has their favorite flavor, and sometimes you just need a good traditional, jam-filled hamantaschen. But it’s always fun to think outside the box and get a little crazy when Purim comes around.
Try one of these crazy sweet, savory and booze-inspired treats. Have a crazy flavor combo? Comment below!
Crazy Sweet Hamantaschen
Crazy Savory Hamantaschen
Crazy Booze-Inspired Purim Treats
Growing up, I didn’t see a lot of my grandmother. She was old and feeble, and chronic pain often prevented her from leaving the house. Still, there were a few occasions when my grandmother would never fail to make an appearance in my mother’s kitchen. One such of those special occasions was right before the holiday of Purim began. She carefully tied the strings of her apron in a neat bow before she perched herself on a kitchen stool and began to give orders.
She showed me how to dip the rim of a wine glass in the pearly mounds of flour to make the perfect circle for my cookies. She directed my fingers with a watchful eye as I carefully portioned out just the right amount of filling and carefully folded my circle into a triangle, or “Haman’s Ears” as my grandmother used to call them. We sat there late into the night, after the cookies had long since come out of the oven, covered in flour and giggling like schoolgirls.
Nowadays, we live in different cities and my grandmother’s days in the kitchen are far behind her. As I am no longer able to eat the cookies as she made them, I have adapted the recipe. But every time I make them, there is still a small part of her inside them. I hope you enjoy these hamentashen as much as I do.
For the dough:
2 cups almond flour
1 cup arrowroot flour (plus ¼ cup for dusting)
½ tsp sea salt
1 vanilla bean
½ cup of honey
¼ cup of coconut oil, melted
For the filling:
11 ounces dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp honey
½ cup of water
In a small saucepan, combine the apricots, lemon juice, honey and water over medium high heat.
Bring to a boil and stir continuously, until the mixture has reduced. Then, remove from heat and set aside while you make the dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, arrowroot flour, and the sea salt until well mixed.
With a small paring knife, poke a tiny hole in the top of your vanilla bean and slice it in half. Use the knife to scrap the small black seeds into a small bowl. For this recipe, you should only be using the seeds from 2-inches of your bean (the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.)
Add the vanilla bean seeds, the honey, and the melted coconut oil to your flour mixture and stir until just incorporated, being careful not to over-mix the dough. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball.
Next, position the dough on a sheet of parchment paper, adding arrowroot flour as necessary to keep it from sticking. Place another sheet of parchment paper over the dough, and using a rolling pin, roll into a 1/4 inch thick layer.
Remove the top layer of parchment paper. Dust the open end of a glass (or a round cookie cutter) with arrowroot powder. Then, carefully cut out circles in the dough, and remove the extra dough from the sides.
Fill the center of each circle with a little over a teaspoon of filling. Carefully fold each one of the three sides in, forming a triangular shape, and sealing the filling inside. Pinch the corners in to seal the cookies.
Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet, and bake cookies for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
I have never really loved the idea of savory hamantaschen. My sweet tooth just revolts at the concept. But after some poking and prodding from others, I decided: fine. I would try and make some savory hamantaschen.
A few weeks ago I made some balsamic caramelized onions to go on top of homemade pizza. They were amazing. Sweet and savory – my favorite combination. So as I was thinking about what kinds of savory hamantaschen I might try to make, I realized a sweet, savory onion jam was the perfect compromise to satisfy both sweet and savory cravings.
My husband serves as my trusty taste-tester and critic for all my creations, so I am happy to share that he LOVED this version. And I hope you will, too.
For the Hamantaschen dough:
½ cup butter (or margarine)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
For the onion jam filling:
4 small-medium onions, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tbsp red wine
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp greek yogurt
To make the dough:
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk and rosemary until mixed thoroughly.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.
Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by a few Tbsp at a time until firm.
Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
To make the onion jam filling:
Add oil and butter to saute pan over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add onions to the pan, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes. If onions are browning too quickly reduce to low-medium heat.
When onions are completely translucent and soft, add balsamic vinegar and continue stirring for another 5-10 minutes. When onions seem sticky and the vinegar has reduced, add wine and stir. Scrape any bits off bottom of pan.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove onions from heat and set aside.
When onions have cooled, place onions in a food processor fitted with blade. Pulse until smooth. Mix in greek yogurt.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Dust surface with flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick.
Using a round cookie cutter, cut out circle and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in flour before each cut.
Fill each round with onion jam and using your favorite method, pinch corners together tightly.
Bake for 7-9 minutes.
Food related traditions like hamantashen are some of my favorite parts of being Jewish. I had to work on this hamantashen recipe for a while, because creating a gluten-free cookie dough that can be rolled and cut is no easy task. But I think I’ve finally got it (don’t skip chilling the dough, it really makes all the difference)!
This recipe makes hamentashen that are crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. If you prefer them to be completely crispy, bake an additional 2-3 minutes.
*Make sure you choose a gluten-free flour that includes xanthan gum (I like Bob's Wonderful Bread Mix or Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend), or add 1 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum with the flour.
Cream margarine and sugar on high for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, allowing to combine before adding the next.
In a separate bowl, whisk together baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of gluten-free flour (and xanthan gum if required). Turn mixer to the lowest speed and add to wet mixture a 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the dry ingredients to be incorporated before adding more. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
Divide the dough into four parts, roll each into a ball, wrap separately in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Dust the counter and the rolling pin with gluten-free flour. Remove 1 dough ball from the refrigerator and cut into circles using a 4 oz. mason jar or small juice glass (if the dough is too sticky to roll out and cut, add additional flour a tablespoon at a time until it is pliable enough). Fill with 1/4 tsp tsp of filling, pinch into a triangle, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Repeat with remaining dough balls.
Rella Kaplowitz has blogged gluten-free and mostly dairy-free as the Penny Pinching Epicure for the last 3 years. In "real life," Rella lives in Washington, DC with her husband where she specializes in organizational improvement consulting for the federal government.
Well I am just tickled to share that I have been asked to serve as a judge at an upcoming Hamantaschen Throwdown, being hosted by Jersey Tribe on Sunday, March 3rd. What a perfect role for me – not only do I get to participate in the most beloved Jewish female activity, judging, but I will also get to taste a variety of Hamantaschen and weigh in with my preferences. There will also be a Persian cooking class as part of the evening, and you may recall my expressed adoration of all things Persian, especially food.
As I have mentioned before, I do not typically like hamantaschen so I hope the contestants will be bringing their A game. The three contestants kindly shared some brief information about their plans for the competition: Hindy Garfinkel, a fellow food blogger at Confident Cook plans to go a savory route while Lisa Radding will be bringing her family’s dough recipe as part of her arsenal. The third contestant, Christine Broussard, shared a number of unique flavor combinations she is considering for the throwdown. I can’t wait to see what the three bakers come up with as their final product.
For more information about the event you can visit Jersey Tribe. I will be sure to report back with the winning combination and hopefully a new recipe you can add to your own Purim arsenal.
In the meantime, we have a GLUTEN FREE hamantaschen recipe from a guest blogger this week so stay tuned!
As you may remember from my post last year about Hamantaschen…I am typically not such a big fan. The ones I remember growing up with were always dry and crumbly.Until I found my friend Rachel’s Hamantaschen recipe, I had written off the triangle treats entirely.
Last year I made PB & Jelly flavored hamantaschen as well as a s’mores flavor. And this year I am happy to share a new flavor: Dark Chocolate Ganache with Salted Caramel Drizzle.
I know some people are “so over the salty sweet thing;” but I am not. My favorite chocolate will always be chocolate covered pretzels. And you know what’s better than chocolate covered pretzels? Chocolate covered potato chips. And perhaps the best? The peanut butter filled pretzel bites covered in milk chocolate from Trader Joe’s. But I digress.
I surprised even myself with this recipe – it is really delicious, and both my husband and I could not stop eating these.
Rachel’s Best Hamantaschen dough often requires a bit more than merely 1 1/4 cups flour it initially calls for. Also, keep flour-ing your work surface as you go.
Plan ahead – you really need to make the dough and the ganache ahead of time because they both need to chill properly before making them.
Pinch pinch pinch! Pinch those corners, otherwise your filling will spill out and make for ugly cookies.
½ cup butter (or margarine)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp milk (or almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Dark Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
Rum to taste (optional)
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk, vanilla and orange zest until mixed thoroughly.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.
Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by ½ cupfuls until firm.
Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Over a double boiler, heat cream and chopped chocolate. When chocolate is mostly melted, lightly whisk until ganache is smooth and shiny. Whisk in rum and salt. Chill for several hours.
Dust surface with powdered sugar or flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick.
Using a round cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in powdered sugar or flour before each cut!
Remove ganache from fridge, and using a teaspoon form about 1/2 inch round balls and place in center of dough. Carefully fold in the edges to form a triangular shape, and pinch the corners tightly to seal.
Bake at 400° for about 7-9 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool completely.
Using a teaspoon or a small plastic squeeze bottle, drizzle caramel sauce back and forth on cookies. If desired, sprinkle with scant amount of thick sea salt.
Yesterday I posted our latest guest post featuring a gorgeous Valentines Day themed tri-color cupcake. And while I am not surprised some of our readers took issue with Jews celebrating Valentines Day, nevertheless I wanted to address it.
I did not grow up celebrating Purim, but I did grow up celebrating Valentine’s Day. Each year my dad would bring home a single red rose to my mother and a box of her favorite chocolates from a local chocolatier. He would also bring me a present – some years a fancy box of chocolates with a silk flower on the cover; other years a bouquet of my own flowers; and one year a small gold heart necklace. I loved these small tokens and have fond memories of my father’s simple romantic gesture to my mother.
I understand that for some Jews, celebrating a seemingly Christian holiday feels problematic, and frankly, I am not going to argue with anyone and try to convince them one way or the other. The amazing Rabbi Mike Uram offers his assessment of whether or not it is problematic for Jews to celebrate Valentine’s Day, so feel free to read his view, or any other that you like.
But what I want to say about this is: many Americans Jews (dare I say – the majority) feel the same way I do and like celebrating “Hallmark holidays” like Valentine’s Day. We are American, and we celebrate American holidays (and Jewish holidays too) even if they sometimes feel silly or superficial because something in these traditions connects us to one another.
I do celebrate Purim now, and can’t wait to dress up with my daughter and husband in a few weeks. And I do love making Hamantaschen, just like I enjoy a good box of drug-store-bought chocolates with a silk flower on top. At the end of the day, I respect all Jews’ choices and traditions and don’t care whether we agree on what those choices and traditions should be; my only hope and expectation is that other Jews will respect my choices in return.
But onto the really important stuff: what kind of Hamantaschen will I be making this year!?
Last year I made PB& Jelly Hamntaschen which were a huge it as well as a s’mores flavor with chocolate and mini marshmallows. Both these flavors deserve a repeat performance, and I am also thinking about a berries ‘n cream or chocolate caramel flavored Hamanhaschen. Stay tuned for what I cook up this year!
In need of THE BEST recipe for Hamantaschen? We’ve got that too so try out this recipe – it’s the only recipe I will use.