Tag Archives: recipe

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

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

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Love and Pudding Pie

Yield:
6-8 servings

chocolate pudding pie1

My mom was always baking when I was growing up. Nothing complicated, in fact, quite the opposite: leftover slices of white bread became bread pudding, banana bread was a frequent way to use up mushy bananas and we even got scratch-made chocolate chip cookies on rainy days. But perhaps the dessert I remember most fondly is my mom’s pudding pie. Also uncomplicated, she would make it from a box of pudding mix and pour it into a graham cracker crust, with several bowls filled with the leftover pudding for us to enjoy. I even loved the thick skin that would form on top.

Fast forward, and chocolate pudding pie is now my husband’s favorite dessert that I make. I don’t know quite how long ago, but probably shortly after we were married his cousin gifted me the Williams Sonoma Baking Book which has become a go-to for lots of my own rainy day baking projects. I found this chocolate pudding pie recipe and have been making a slightly altered version ever since. In fact, it’s probably the dessert I make most frequently because I know how much my husband covets the dessert.

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Unlike my mom’s version, I do make the pudding from scratch using whole milk, egg yolks, corn starch and a few special spices. But true to my mom’s version, I prefer using a store-bought graham cracker, or sometimes when I am feeling like we need a little extra chocolate, a chocolate cookie crust, which makes this recipe pretty simple to whip up even at the last minute. The taste is a little more sophisticated than your average chocolate pudding, a little bit decadent and absolutely easy as pie.

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Spiced Chocolate Pudding Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Posted on February 2, 2015

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King Cake Challah

Yield:
1 large challah cake

King cake challah3

I have always had a love of affair with the city of New Orleans. I have traveled there nearly ten times since my early 20’s: for work a few times, but more often, to visit our growing number of dear friends who live there. I love the warmth of the city, the vibrant culture and history, the music, and of course, the food.

While I enjoyed many delicious eats over my travels to the city, the first time I tasted a King Cake was three years ago, just a few months before our daughter was born. I was seven and a half months pregnant, waddling around Mardi Gras with an enormous protruding stomach, enjoying every moment, especially all the food. To welcome us to the Mardi Gras festivities, our dear friend Melanie arrived with a beautiful, colorful King Cake from Cake Cafe. This was no ordinary King Cake – it was stuffed with goat cheese and apples, and it was one of the best treats I have ever enjoyed. So much so that each year since, my husband longs to have another one, but there is just nothing comparable in the New York area.

king cake generic

For those not familiar with a King Cake, it is a Christian tradition that marks Kings Day (when the three kings brought gifts to baby Jesus) and so a small baby Jesus is traditionally baked inside a King Cake. It also marks the coming of Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, when it’s commnon to encounter many varieties of King Cake throughout the city between early January and Mardi Gras itself.

A King Cake should also not be confused with The King’s Cake, or a galette des rois, a beautiful French pastry that, to me, tastes like an enormous, buttery almond croissant. You may see it in your local bakery topped literally with a crown. It is absolutely delicious as well, but different from a King Cake. A King Cake in its modern form tastes most closely to a cheese danish or Entenmann’s coffee cake.

So what is a challah queen like me supposed to do with a love of King Cake, but no quality one available? Make a king cake challah of course.

I flavored the dough with some traditional king cake flavors, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest. But the most fun parts of this challah creation are the icing and the colorful sprinkles. Gold, purple and green are the colors of Mardi Gras, and are the distinguishing factor between merely a round cheese danish, and a King Cake for Mardi Gras.

I didn’t bake a baby Jesus in the challah of course, but it would be perfect with a cup of coffee in the late afternoon. Or for breakfast, who am I to judge how you start your day? And while it won’t ever be the same as the amazing version from our time in New Orleans, at least it brought back some fond memories of New Orleans and our dear friends who welcome us back time and time again.

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King Cake Challah

Posted on January 29, 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

Chicken Soup with Quinoa, Leeks and Albóndigas

Yield:
10-12 servings

In the chill of January and February, comfort foods are more than just a welcome respite on the table. For a soul-warming winter dish, I often make soup. And there is one soup that I make that combines several of my favorite flavor profiles: Chicken soup (read: Ashkenazi all the way) with leeks (read: French- and Sephardic-influenced), albondigas, or little meatballs (read: Arab- and Mediterranean-influenced) with quinoa (read: healthy and Latino-influenced).

chicken soup with albondigas and leek and quinoa4

Quinoa has been a culinary darling for a number of years, but this Peruvian–Bolivian grain is worthy of the attention it gets. It’s packed with protein and gluten free. Oh yes, and it’s kosher for Passover too. The key to quinoa is to rinse it well and let it drain before using, and cook it until the little white circles—those cute curlicues—lift away from the center of the each grain.

uncleaned leeks for soup1

In the U.S., leeks, unlike quinoa, are still living in the shadow of other foods—largely by other members of the allium family, like onions. But leeks have a wonderfully gentle flavor that has always been loved in many other areas of the world. Now, they are a bit messy to deal with since soil is embedded between those big leaves.But you can buy them already nice and clean, all cut up, in well-stocked grocery stores, either in the produce aisle or freezer case.

Albondigas means meatballs in Spanish, though they aren’t Spanish at all – they originate from the Middle East. And just about every culture in every country has come up with their own meatballs, based on what they had available and their favorite herbs and spices. For Latino countries, that often meant onions, a bread-style binder, eggs, and fresh, local herbs such as flat-leaf parsley, Mexican oregano, mint, and epazote (another Mexican herb). In Mexico and Central America the most common way to eat little meatballs is in soups.

chicken soup with albongidas quinoa and leeks3
This chicken soup is an amalgam of flavor profiles, with a distinct emphasis on Latin flavors. Enjoy it—and make it your own; the recipe is as much a formula as a template for your favorite flavors. So reach for what you like best, and have fun with comfort foods from around the world.

Notes

To clean leeks, remove the tough green outer leaves and root ends.  Cut them in half lengthwise and slice crosswise in half-circles. Fill a bowl with water, place the leeks into it and wash well, separating the interior layers with your fingertips. Leeks absorb huge amounts of dirt and sand as they grow, so keep washing until they are perfectly clean; the dirt should fall to the bottom of the bowl while the leeks float to the surface. Lift the leeks out of the bowl and set aside. (Don’t drain by pouring the water out of the bowl over them or you will be pouring the dirt back onto them.) Rinse the bowl thoroughly, fill with water, return the leeks to the bowl, and soak until you are ready to use them.

Pimenton, a sweet smoked paprika is Spain’s favorite seasoning. It imparts both sweetness and smokiness to recipes and is beloved throughout the Mediterranean region.

Masa harina is a traditional Mexican cornmeal flour. Dried corn is processed in a mixture of lime and water, which makes it easier to hull and also makes its nutrients more accessible. The wet, processed corn is ground into a dough called masa. When the processed corn is dried and ground into flour, it is called masa harina.

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Chicken Soup with Quinoa, Leeks and Albóndigas

Posted on January 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