recipe

Hamantaschen: the mouthwatering recipe for Jewish triangular filled cookies

Total time: 1H15 + Chilling time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 20 people
By Cookist
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Hamantaschen are a delicious type of cookie which are traditional to Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. These tasty, easy-to-make cookies are typically made around Purim. Hamantaschen are also known as oznei Haman which means “Haman's ears” in Hebrew.

They're triangular-shaped cookies to symbolize Haman's three-corned hat and have different types of filling in the center. Poppyseed is the classic hamantaschen filling, but jam and chocolate are also popular choices. The cookies themselves are sweet, buttery, and incredibly tender – they practically melt in your mouth!

Whether you're celebrating Purim or simply want to whip up a batch of beautiful, delicious cookies, hamantaschen are perfect for you.

What is Hamantaschen?

Hamantaschen (pronounced hah-muhn-tah-shun) are a type of traditional Ashkenazi Jewish cookie.

They're made during Purim, which celebrates the Jewish people being saved from persecution and death by Haman. The cookies symbolize Haman's defeat. According to legend, Haman wore a three-corned hat, hence the triangular shape of these cookies.

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Hamantaschen Ingredients

To make the cookie dough, you'll need butter, powdered sugar, butter, egg, yolk, and flour. Make sure the butter is cold when you're making the cookie dough.

For extra flavor, use a little lemon zest and vanilla extract.

For the filling, you'll need milk, butter, sugar, and honey, as well as ground poppy seeds. Don't use whole poppy seeds – the texture won't be right.

You'll also need your preferred type of nuts (walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts are all great options), plus some raisins.

How to Make Easy Hamantaschen

Making hamantaschen from scratch is a cinch. Gather your ingredients, and let's dive in!

Making the Hamantaschen Cookie Dough 

To make the hamantaschen dough, put the flour, sugar, and salt in your food processor. Mix it, then add in the cold butter. Pulse the processor a few times until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly.

Add in egg yolk, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Pulse until large pieces of dough begin to form. The dough shouldn't be a large ball yet. Texture-wise, it should be a little sticky. Next, turn the dough out and shape it into a ball. Wrap it in saran wrap and place it in the fridge for a minimum of one hour.

Making the Poppy Seed Filling

If you're making the traditional poppy seed filling, here's what to do. In a small saucepan, heat the poppy seeds, milk, butter, sugar, honey, and salt over medium-low heat. Simmer it for 10 minutes, or until it thickens. Take the pot off the heat and mix in lemon zest, nuts, and raisins. Leave the filling to cool completely before assembling the cookies.

Assembling the Hamantaschen

Roll the dough out. Make sure it isn't too cold, otherwise, the dough will crack. You can let it sit for a few minutes at room temperature to soften up and make it workable. Punch out the dough with a round cookie cutter. Place the dough rounds onto the baking sheets.

Place 1 teaspoon of poppy seed filling in the center of the dough. Don't overfill the cookies! The filling will ooze out when baking. Fold the dough to form a triangle. Pinch the edges to secure the filling.

Bake your hamantaschen for 15 minutes at 350°F. Cool them for 5 minutes, then place the cookies on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Garnish with powdered sugar and enjoy.

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Hamantaschen Filling Ideas 

The mixture of poppy seeds cooked in milk and honey is the traditional filling for hamantaschen, but other options are just as delicious.

Apricot jam, raspberry jam, dates, prunes, and chocolate are all popular choices for filling these cookies.

In the modern era, savory hamantaschen have also started becoming popular. Cheese, potato, spinach, and cheese, smoked salmon, and beans are some savory versions to try.

Tips for Easy Hamantaschen

For more tender cookies, use ½ cup white sugar instead of ¾ cup powdered sugar when making your cookie dough.

Don't overmix the dough. It should be crumbly and hold together but not feel dry and sandy.

To make gluten-free hamantaschen, use gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.

You can make hamantaschen dough up to 3 days in advance.

Don't overfill the cookies with filling.

How to Store Hamantaschen

Keep your hamantaschen in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Ingredients
for the cookie dough
All-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups
Powdered sugar
3/4 cup
Salt
1/4 tsp
unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 3/4 sticks
large egg yolk
1
medium lemon, zest
1/2
pure vanilla extract
1 tsp
for the filling
freshly ground poppy seeds
1 cup
Whole Milk
1/3 cup
Unsalted butter
2 tbsp
Granulated sugar
1/3 cup
Honey
1 tbsp
Salt
a pinch
lemon or orange, zest
1/2
nuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup
for decorating
Powdered sugar

Instructions

Place flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse briefly to combine. Add in the cold butter. Pulse until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly. Add in egg yolk, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Pulse until large pieces of dough begin to form. Lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough out and shape it into a ball. Wrap it in cling film and place it in the fridge for a minimum of one hour.

To make the filling, heat poppy seeds, milk, butter, sugar, honey, and salt over medium-low heat. Stir periodically. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Take the pot off the heat. Stir in lemon zest, nuts, and raisins. Leave to cool completely.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, punch out the dough to form the cookies. Place the dough rounds onto the baking sheets. Place 1 teaspoon of poppy seed filling in the center of the dough.

Gently fold the edges to form a triangle. Pinch the edges to secure the dough and stop the filling from escaping when the cookies are baking.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

Garnish with powdered sugar and enjoy.

Notes

If you prefer, you can use plant-based milk and oil to make your hamantaschen.

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