Since we were real good with eating our vegetables this week, let’s eat cookies. Jam filled cookies that will make your heart go pitter-patter.
A classic dessert that we traditionally eat on the Jewish holiday, Purim. What is Purim all about? Click here to learn more.
They say (who is they? I don’t know) the shape of the cookies is to resemble Haman’s hat, the evil villain in the story of Mordechai and Esther. Maybe to celebrate his annihilation? Just a guess. My husband learned in Yeshiva that it’s to resemble Haman’s ears (3 years of Yeshiva Elementary school, does that count??).
I think I like the hat story. Ears? Um, no I can’t think ears, so hats it is.
Regardless, these cookies will not disappoint. They have the crisp edges, and soft center … with the same crumb those “standard” bakery cookies have.
I remember when Purim came around, I couldn’t wait until my Mother would come home from the bakery with a box of Hamentashen cookies in hand; oh was I ready to dig in. Even after all these years, I still look forward to eating the sides first, then biting into the jam center to my hearts content.
These cookies taste so similar to those bakery cookies and bring back childhood memories every time. Half a dozen are usually eaten by the time I take them off the cooling rack – I can usually tell who is the culprit based on flavor.
Looking back (here’s a photo of my teenage son from two years ago, when he was 11) at my terrific holiday-baking helper, and a fine one at that! He gets first dibs – the perks of helping Mom in the kitchen …
I have made them with chocolate chips, poppy seed, and prune filling in prior years. But these are always secondary to jam fillings.
I use my late grandmother’s pasta cutter. I remember when she would use it to make my oldest son ravioli, his favorite when he was a toddler.
Love the jam filling.
Our all-time favorite jam filled are raspberry, apricot, cherry and orange preserves. We have many favorites.
Note: Typically these cookies have a shiny, golden color because they are brushed with an egg wash (egg and water) before baking. I did not use an egg wash since adapting my recipe to egg free, hence the pale color, but you can easily use an egg if you like or a coconut milk wash (1/4 cup milk with 1 teaspoon earth balance) like on my apple pie recipe … I did not do the extra step this time since I was pressed for time rushing to get my twin boys to occupational therapy.
Happy Baking and a Wonderful Weekend!
- Please read through the recipe (and notes) before beginning in order to schedule your time accordingly.
- You will need 3 half-sheet sized baking sheets lined with parchment paper (13 or 14 to a sheet)
- Makes 35-40 cookies
- UPDATE: I have included a poppy seed filling, see below.
- For the dough:
- 13¼ oz Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour
- or this blend with total weight 13½ ounces:
- 1¼ cup organic white rice flour (All Bob’s Red Mill)
- ½ cup sorghum flour
- ½ cup gluten free oat flour (or sub brown rice flour or buckwheat)
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- ¼ teaspoon guar gum (omit if using a flour mix)
- 2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ sticks (6 ounces) Non-Dairy Soy Free Spread (Earth Balance) or Palm Shortening
- ¾ cup evaporated cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground golden flax seed meal
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Frontier or Nielsen-Massey)
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon room-temperature water
- For the filling:
- your choice of filling (I used apricot, cherry and raspberry organic preserves), right out of the jar
- Poppy Seed Filling:
- 1¼ c poppy seeds
- ½ c coconut milk or water
- ½ c blond coconut nectar or agave nectar
- 1 tbsp Earth Balance
- 2-3 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preparation for poppy filling (if using):
- Grind poppy seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor to resemble a fine crumb then transfer to a bowl. Grinding is an important component to the filling.
- In a small saucepan, place all the ingredients including ground poppy seeds. Cook, while stirring occasionally on medium heat for 5 minutes, or until thickened.
- Transfer to a bowl and let it cool before filling.
- Preparation for the dough:
- In a small bowl add flaxseed meal and hot water, stir to combine. Set in the refrigerator until ready to use. It thickens up better when slightly chilled.
- In a medium bowl combine flours, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
- In a stand mixer set with a paddle attachment, cream buttery spread, and sugar on medium speed (start on low speed to prevent your sugar from flying) for 3-4 minutes or until pale in color and creamy. Add vanilla, flax mixture, and dry ingredients. Then add coconut milk and water and mix for 30 seconds. It will still look crumbly. Press the dough together using your hand until it forms into a dough ball. Transfer onto plastic wrap and pat down to form a round disc. Updated 3/10/2017 to speed the process: Wrap the dough refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to chill somewhat but not become too hard to roll. Then proceed to roll out if baking the same day.
- Note: The dough will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for 2 months.
- Once somewhat chilled (after 15-20 minutes) remove from refrigerator and let it sit on the counter until easily bent.
- Prepare a small bowl with 1 tablespoon each of coconut milk and water for shaping pinched hamantashen cookies.
- Cut the dough in half and chill the other until ready to use to keep it from getting too soft. The idea is that the dough shouldn’t feel greasy if it does then you know it’s too soft and will not be easy to work with.
- Dust a piece of parchment paper with some flour (that is sized for your baking sheets) set on a flat surface area or large cutting board for rolling. Roll out dough to about a ¼-3/8 inch thick.
- Cut out circles, 2-3 inches round and gently pull away circles from scraps. Remove scraps and transfer onto another lightly dusted piece of parchment paper (make sure it’s sized for your baking sheet). Keep the cut out circles on the original parchment paper and gently lift up and onto your baking sheet. Space rounds 1-2 inches apart. Repeat until all the circles have been cut out. If the cut-out dough appears too soft to handle, refrigerate for 15 minutes before beginning to fill. With limited refrigerator space, chill one baking sheet at a time to work in batches.
- Scoop ½ to ¾ teaspoon into the center of each round. Using a small pastry brush, lightly brush the coconut milk/water mixture on the edges working in small batches of 4 or 5 (otherwise the dough will absorb the water mixture). Gently lift three sides, as if to form a triangle, and pinch together the damp dough edges tightly to resemble a triangle. For some, it may be easier to lift and pinch while holding the dough round. Be sure to check if the edges have cracked, if so simply brush with coconut milk/water mixture to seal it up. The poppy seed filling should be exposed.
- Repeat until all cookies have been filled and shaped then re-position (if needed) to space 1 to 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C.
- Chill cookies for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges appear golden brown. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes on the baking sheets then transfer to cooling racks or continue to cool on baking sheets (see notes below). The cookie may break apart and the filling very hot if eaten immediately. Baked (or unbaked) cookies can be frozen in a sealed freezer-safe container after cookies have completely cooled then thawed in the refrigerator.
- Optional: to mimic the golden hue from an egg wash, brush dough with an equal part mixture of coconut milk and water.
- Note: It is not absolutely necessary to transfer the cookies to cooling racks if you like softer cookies omit this step and continue to cool for another 10-15 minutes. The cooling racks just help make the cookies firmer as the air circulates around them.
- To freeze raw cut dough: Place the first parchment of cut rounds onto a rimmed half sheet baking sheet (pan) as to bake, then directly above the first layer, place the second sheet of cut rounds and then the third paper with remaining cut rounds to layer. Once all the layers have been placed, wrap with plastic wrap (completely covering the baking sheets) four times to ensure there is no freezer burn or tampering to the flavor of the cookie. When ready to fill, thaw for 20-30 minutes, or when easily bendable and fill with poppy seed (or jam) filling. Can be frozen for up to 3 weeks.
- Note on rolling: Rolling out the dough any thinner will tear when forming the shape since there is no egg (or gluten) to bind the dough.
- Note on filling the cookie:
- If this is your first time making Hamantaschen cookies try cutting out one or two at first, then fill and shape to see if the thickness does not produce any tears or cracks. When you have the right thickness then continue. It's how I started and continued to do so a few times, before eyeballing the right thickness.
- After adding all the flours into my bowl and then writing down the total weight, I realized that I didn’t write down each flour weight. Total flour weight is noted above - for a mix or flours listed.
- On using eggs: If you can tolerate eggs, sub the flax seed meal for 2 whole extra large eggs. Use an additional egg with a splash of water for the wash.
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