Purim is the festival that commemorates the breathtaking victory over the murderous designs of Haman. It is observed on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar. Likewise, Hamantaschen are triangular shaped cookies that are traditionally served on Purim. Ingredients usually consist of flour, butter/margarine, oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, sugar, and a filling. Hamantaschen are generally made by rolling the dough thin, cutting it into circles (of various sizes), placing filling in the center, and folding in three sides. The dough is generally a cookie dough, usually made with non-dairy products, with orange juice and/or rind added. Sometimes a yeast dough is used instead. The Hamantasch symbolizes the three-cornered hat that Haman wore. It is thought that they were originally called mon-taschen (Yiddish “poppy seed pockets”) but modern legend has it that Haman, the villain of Purim, wore a triangular hat. In Israel, they are called Oznei Haman (Hebrew for “Haman’s ears”). Because of the Yiddish meaning, traditional fillings are poppy seeds (Yiddish mon) or prune, but they are made with many different flavors, including date or figs which I’m not particularly keen about about. I decided to stick with my favorite fillings which are apricot and strawberry fillings. While Hamantashen is a traditional holiday dessert, I’ve seen people incorporate their own variations using non-traditional ingredients. Fillings don’t have to be limited to fruit, poppy seed, or prune. Last year, I made chocolate version Hamantaschen with a dulce de leche filling. Others have used nutella and other nut fillings as well. Like most cookies, there is always room for creativity with Hamantashen. They don’t necessarily have to be sweet. I’ve seen people make a triangular bread with onion, vegetable, cheese or meat fillings. Lastly, they don’t have to be triangular either. You can shape these cookies any way you like. While these cookies are traditionally served on a Jewish holiday, I believe that people from different faiths, religious, political, and cultural backgrounds can enjoy these cookies as I enjoy different ethnic cuisines. I decided to take a vegan and a healthier route with these cookies. Rather than using eggs and all-purpose flour, I used spelt flour and a bit almond butter as well. And it case you were wondering about my hubby’s nut allergy, don’t worry. I will make a special batch exclusively for him with his help of course 🙂 I will publish a recipe on that soon.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 1/2 cup of spelt flour
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup of canola oil
- 2 tablepoons of margarine at room temperature
- 1/4 cup of almond butter
- 1/2 cup of orange juice,non-dairy milk or low-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- Lemon zest
- Fruit filling (or any filling of your choice)
In a bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mix all the wet ingredients including sugar, zest and almond butter until well combined. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients to form a soft dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment or coat with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the dough in half. (Refrigerate the other half.) Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut the dough into circles using a 2 1/2-inch-diameter cookie cutter. Place 1/2 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each circle. Bring the edges together to cover the filling, forming a 3-cornered cookie. Pinch the corners together to seal. Place the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the tops are golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Notes: The filling and the dough can be made up to 1 day ahead. If you should have leftover scraps of dough, you can use it to make more hamantaschen, pie crust, or other cookies.
Yields 2 dozen cookies