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Recipe: Hamentashen

This weekend is the Jewish holiday of Purim. One of the coolest things about Purim, besides the fact that it's one of the few times you can actually get drunk at synagogue, is the food. A favorite is the triangle-shaped cookies called hamentashen, which are shaped like the hat of Haman, the antagonist in the biblical story of Esther. Just as in most Jewish recipes, there are many variations of these cookies, but these are the kind we grew up with, so we think they are the best. When we made them as little kids, we each made our own custom batch -- you can fill them with jams, canned fillings (poppyseed and almond are the best), chocolate chips, or your own homemade filling.

The recipe, after the jump.

Hamentashen

  • 5 ounces unsalted butter or margarine (1 1/4 sticks)
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons milk (soy substitutes work fine)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Filling of your choice
  • Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Warm butter in the microwave (not melted, just nice and soft) and add to the dry ingredients. Add the egg, milk and vanilla, and mix with fork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out sections of dough on a floured surface until it's about one-fourth- to one-eight-inch thick. Cut round shapes out with a round cookie cutter (pint glasses work nicely). Arrange rounds on a cookie sheet and drop a teaspoon of filling into each. Pinch off sections in thirds to form the circles into funny pyramids that kind of look like little jelly-filled hats. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

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    Tips:

  • You can also be lazy and cut out squares and fold those over, but they aren't as cool.
  • Don't overfill your cookies. There is nothing more gross than burned jelly on the bottom of your cookies... Jellies tend to leak through any tiny cookie hole and bubble up.
  • If you want the "I spent entirely too much time on these" look, brush each cookie while baking with a smear of beaten egg, it makes them golden and pretty. (Ours never turn out beautiful, but the taste is what matters.)
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