Tonight is the beginning of Purim – a holiday that I often describe as kinda like the Jewish Halloween. We dress in costumes, eat junk food, gather in groups to hear a story being read aloud and shake noise makers. Picture New Years Eve meets Halloween. It’s a lot of fun!
We eat a special triangular cookie called a Hamantaschen (sometimes spelled Hamantashen). It’s a sweet dough that’s cut out into circles, filled with jam or nuts or chocolate or whatever you really feel like using, then pinched into triangles and baked.
This morning I – for whatever reason – decided that the babies needed to help Mommy bake Hamantashen. We filled them with Peach Preserves, Raspberry-Pomegranate Jam, Strawberry Jelly and the very very end of that bag of Dove Chocolate Mini’s C’s been hoarding in the freezer since July.
I say we – but I really mean ME. Babies liked the stirring part. A Lot. Probably a little too much…
I’m still cleaning the flour outta strange and wonderful places.
Hamantaschen by Ethel Jaffee adapted from the Cooking Jewish Cookbook
4 1/4 cups AP Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) Butter, at room temp **Did you know you can soften butter between 2 pieces of wax paper using a rolling pin? THANK YOU GOOGLE!
1/2 cup Solid Vegetable Shortening **I used 5 Tablespoons Crisco (end of my stash) and 3 Tablespoons Butter.
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Large Eggs, at room temp **I let them sit in a pot of warm water for 4 minutes.
1/4 cup Milk, at room temp
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Filling(s) of your choice
1- Stir flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
2- Cream butter, shortening and sugar in a second bowl – I used my hand-held mixer – until smooth and creamy (about 3 minutes). Add in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, and beat until combined, about 1 minute more. Then blend in the milk and vanilla. Don’t be alarmed if the mixture appears grainy. Add in the flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, blending on a low speed until incorporated.
3- Divide the dough into 4 balls, and roll each balls, and roll each ball out between two pieces of waxed or parchment paper until it is 1/8″ thick. Without removing the paper, pile the sheets of dough on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. **With the scraps, I ended up with about 5 layers in the freezer. BTW – Who makes freezers that are big enough for an entire baking sheet? I want.
4- Oven to 350ºF. Line several baking sheets (I needed three) with parchment paper or silpats.
5- Remove the sheets of dough from the freezer one at a time. Remove the paper and cut out the dough with a 2 1/2″ round cookie cutter or glass. Gather your scraps and re-roll. The dough softens quickly – be forewarned.
6- Spread a level 1/2 teaspoon (I seriously didn’t measure. I just scooped and dumped) of the filling in each cookie’s center. Pinch the cookie tightly in three places to form a triangle. Place the cookies close together on the prepared baking sheets – they won’t spread, but make sure they aren’t touching. Bake two sheets at a time, on the bottom third and top third oven racks, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and bottoms – 15-20 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheets.
P.S. This was a new recipe for me. I usually use one of two standbys, but decided to try a new one this year. Turned out really well!