Baking little triangle shaped Hamantaschens are usually the only activity we do in our house to celebrate the Jewish holiday Purim. I’ve tried a number of different recipes over the years and have settled on one that strikes just the right balance between butter and sugar cookie. These Buttery Hamantaschens by Tori Avey come together quickly and are not too sweet to overwhelm the flavor of the filling (the best part obviously!) Make sure to chill the dough at least a few hours before baking, I found that this dough held its shape in triangles better than others I’ve made in the past. This year, I had extra prunes and apricots on hand so decided to make homemade fruit filling in addition to our favorite, Nutella.
While we can aspire to make each cookie a perfectly golden three sided triangle, I loved watching the creative spirits of the kids emerge with this baking project. Their frustration in struggling to turn a circle of dough into a triangle transformed into entirely new cookie creations they named the apricot empanada, the Nutella blob face and the swirly whirly! See recipe for traditional Hamantaschens below but feel free to let your imagination run wild!
Recipe adapted from Tori Avey
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp grated orange zest
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Slice butter into small pieces, place in bottom of electric mixer, add sugar andand beat on medium until smooth.
- Add the egg, vanilla and orange zest and beat again until smooth.
- Sift the flour and salt together in a small bowl, slowly add to the butter and sugar mixture and mix until flour is incorporated and dough starts to form.
- Remove dough from mixer and knead by hand until a smooth ball forms. If the dough is still too crumbly, try adding a tbs or two of water but careful not to add too much.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and press into a thick disk, chill for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from the refrigerator, it will be quite hard but will soften quickly as you begin to work with it. Place dough on floured surface and start to roll with floured rolling pin until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Using a circular cookie cutter (the ones pictured here was using a 3 inch circle) to cut as many circles as you can fit. Gather scraps to re-roll dough. if you don’t have a circle cookie cutter, a round glass can also work.
- Place about 1/2 tsp of filling (see below) in the center of each circle. Pinch the sides of the circle together to form a three sides triangle, pinching each corner again so it stays tight and keeps filling in.
- If you have the time, place cookie sheet with prepared Hamantaschens back in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to ensure the cookies hold together.
- Bake hamantaschens for approximately 15 minutes. Check cookies after 12 minutes and look for the edge of cookies starting to turn golden. Exact cooking time will depend on how thick you’ve rolled out the dough.
- Cool Cookies on a wire rack and enjoy!
Fruit Filling for Hamantaschens
This recipe can be adapted for both dried prunes and apricots
- 2 cups dried pitted apricots or prunes
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 cup of orange juice
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil for one minute. Reduce heat to medium low allowing the mixture to simmers slowly. Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes, stir every few minutes careful not to let sugar burn.
- Remove from heat when there are a few tbs of water left in the mixture. Let cool. Using an immersion blender smooth fruit mixture until you reach desired consistency.