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Butter Hamantashen

March 23, 2011


One week ago, I was in Oxford. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of travel, rain, family, a wedding and an ongoing apartment search. Needless to say, I haven’t done much cooking.

I also managed to miss two holidays: the Jewish festival of Purim and St Patrick’s Day. Well, not completely. I did have some delicious corned beef and cabbage soon after arriving in California – kind of a fitting way for the British Empire to follow us home.

In anticipation of this crazy time, I bucked tradition and made hamantashen (a Purim cookie) a few weeks ago with a very non-traditional recipe. Unlike more typical oil-based hamantashen, they are made with butter, which would rule them out after a roast beef dinner in Kosher houses. (If you’re wondering if I keep Kosher, you can check out the “bacon” tag in the right column.) Still, I think I’d be willing to forgo meat for a night to enjoy some of these.

The other thing I like about this recipe is the orange juice in the dough. The little bit of citrus brings out the flavor of whatever you fill the cookies with – and makes it a more refreshing spring-time cookie.

For fillings, I opted for the usual apricot jam along with a twist on the old-school nut-and-raisin filling: cranberries and pecans with a bit of OJ.

You roll these out like other butter cookies. They will puff-up in the oven, so the dough should be pretty thin. How large they are can depend on what size cups you own, but these are about 3 inches across – a nice petite hamantash.

Then, the fun part. With a spoonful of filling, pinch the corners together to make a triangle. Really pinch the heck out of ’em, as the edges will want to separate in the oven.

Butter Hamantashen Dough

Makes about 3 dozen cookies
From Allrecipes

1 ½ cups butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
6 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
4½ cups all-purpose flour
Your choice of fillings. Some suggestions: apricot or strawberry jam, canned poppyseed filling, or a mixture of dried fruit and nuts.

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time.
2. Stir in orange juice and vanilla. Stir in baking powder. Then mix flour in grandually.
3. Wrap/cover dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F.
5. Roll out dough until less than 1/4-inch thin. Cut into circles with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. (Dust glass with flour to avoid sticking.)
6. Place filling in the center of the circle. (~1 teaspoon of filling for a 3-inch circle.) Pinch dough firmly into three-corners to form a triangle shape. (Fun fact: it’s supposed to look like a tricorn hat.)
7. Place cookies on a lined baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing.

Cranberry-Pecan Filling

Makes ½ cup filling, enough for at least 12 hamantashen

¼ cup dried cranberries, minced
¼ cup pecans, minced
2 teaspoons orange juice
pinch of salt if needed

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and add salt if necessary. (Pecans and cranberries might have enough salt on their own.)
2. Use as directed to make hamantashen. It’s also tasty in other filled cookies (like rugelach) or stirred into oatmeal.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Aunt Chrissy permalink
    March 23, 2011 6:38 am

    Oh, Hanah, I missed you! Glorious recipe and pics. Good luck with apt. hunting. Love, Aunt Chrissy

  2. Laurie permalink
    March 24, 2011 3:33 am

    I definitely want to try your dough and the fruit filling. I also used a butter dough for my Hamantashen this year. I also made killer traditional poppy seed filling and prune filling in addition to the apricot jam. I am really pleased with my two fillings and will happily share the recipes with you if you’d like. BTW, I place my cookies exactly the same way as you do on my cookie sheet.

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