Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hamantaschen - Traditional Purim cookies

I figured considering my last post, I would write about something fun and festive. Purim is exactly that and it starts tomorrow at sunset. Tomorrow we are headed to Temple for a treasure hunt for A., a spaghetti dinner and then the retelling of the story. Can't wait!

Purim, in case you haven't heard of it, which even I hadn't two years ago, is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from Persia. It is retold in the Book of Esther. People celebrate it by dressing up, having parades, cookies and drinking. It's often thought of as the Jewish Mardi Gras or Halloween, just not with scary stuff.

One of the most traditional treats is hamantaschen. It is a buttery sugar cookie with filling in the center. It is pinched into triangles which is said to represent the hat the villian, Haman, wore. Traditional fillings are dates and nuts but really, you can put anything you want in them. In full disclosure by the way, I have no idea how to say this word and had to look up a recipe, which I found at What's Cooking with Kids. But who cares? They are yummy!


Hamantaschen
The dough for these cookies needs to really chilled. It won't roll out nicely so make sure to leave enough time to chill the dough, at least three hours or overnight. I didn't and barely waited an hour. I was too impatient so my cookies spread out a lot. Meh. They still taste fantastic.

Dough
1/2 cup softened salted butter
2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs

2 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt

Filling
apricot jelly
dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries

Directions
Cream together the butter and sugar.

Add in the eggs and almond extract.

In a seperate bowl combine baking powder, salt and flour. Add mixture slowly into the wet ingredients.

Wrap dough in wax paper or parchment paper. Dough will be sticky but shouldn't be so sticky that you can't handle it quickly. Chill dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees towards the end of chilling it.

Flour and roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out circles of dough with cookie cutter (or in a pinch, a empty and clean medium sized metal can like I did).

Spoon tablespoon or less of desired filling in center. Pinch cookie into triangle. Bake for 10-12 minutes on parchment paper.

Cool and enjoy!

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