Sunday, March 27, 2011

Purim cookies

As part of my continuing cookie-baking adventures, we made hamantashen last week. Hamantashen (or "hamentashen" - various spelling abound) are triangular filled cookies served for the Jewish holiday of Purim. I have many fond childhood memories of eating my grandmother's hamantashen, which she made in great quantities every year. Her cookies were generally denser and less floury than the ones I've eaten elsewhere, and she stuck with the traditional poppy and prune fillings, although in later years she branched out and also used apricot jam and cherry pie filling.

I opted to use her recipe for the cookie dough (actually Grandma's friend Ruth's recipe), but for the filling I went non-traditional and used some Roasted Tangelo Marmalade. (Looking back, I see that I'd intended to do that all along!) We overcooked them very slightly, but these hew pretty closely to the cookies I remember from my childhood.

Ruth's recipe from the Heirloom Cookbook, adapted and expanded

  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • ¼ C orange juice
  • 1 C sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 (plus) C flour, plus extra to achieve correct consistency
  • 1-2 C very thick jam or other filling

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, juice, sugar, and eggs. In a smaller bowl, sift together the baking powder, salt, and 3 C flour. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones. After the initial flour is mixed in, keep adding more flour until the dough is thick enough to roll out (it will probably still be sticky).

Form the dough into a flat disk and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or even overnight).

Roll out dough on a lightly-floured surface, until 1/2"-1/8" thick (the thickness really just depends on your personal preference - ours were on the thicker end of that range).

Use a glass or biscuit-cutter to cut dough into rounds. Place a small amount of jam on the center of the dough rounds, and pinch into a triangular shape. Place on a parchment paper or Silpat-covered baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes or until dough is a light golden brown.

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