3 “OVER-THE-TOP” HAMANTASCHEN
It’s that time of year again and that makes me extra happy since I love any and all varieties of Hamantaschen!
The Jewish holiday of Purim is one of the most under-rated, and perhaps the least known to anyone who isn’t Jewish. And that’s just a darn shame! Because one of the great things about Purim is the traditional cookie, the Hamantaschen!
But what I really love about Hamantaschen is it’s chameleon-like qualities. It can have any number of flavorings in the dough, like citrus zest, almond extract or cocoa.
And don’t even get me started on the number of different fillings they can contain! The most traditional are apricot, date and raspberry. Truly a vessel for your creativity, here are some creative fillings you can use when you learn how to make hamantaschen yourself.
- Burnt Sugar-Apricot (recipe below)
- Cream Cheese with Espresso & White Chocolate (recipe below)
- Tart Cherry & Orange (recipe below)
- Prune jam
- Chocolate Fudge
- Caramel Apple
3 “OVER-THE-TOP” HAMANTASCHEN RECIPES
Just when you thought a cookie couldn’t get any more delicious, I’ve upped the anty! Before we talk toppings, let’s discuss how you will decorate the cookie borders. Why not “gild the lily” a bit?
Here’s the components of the 3 “over-the-top” hamantaschen recipes in today’s post:
HOW DO THESE COMBINATIONS SOUND TO YOU? Next, let’s take care of the dough
I’M NOT ONE TO REINVENT THE WHEEL – Or Hamantaschen either!
I learned how to make hamantaschen years ago when I first joined my husband’s family. Unfortunately, my teacher was not very adept in the kitchen, but she was willing to try to teach me.
My first batch of cookies could hardly claim to be “hamantaschen” at all. At least not by the looks of them!
They had burned corners, bursting filling and the “triangle” shape looked much more like a circle with 3 points. Sad, but true. Not a great start, but I persisted. Just not with my lovely mother-in-law as my teacher!
After years of trying various dough and filling recipes, I hit GOLD! Tori Avey is the Gal when it comes to Hamantaschen! (toriavey.com)
Her recipe for Buttery Hamantaschen Dough is literally foolproof. It produces an easy to manage and not-too-sweet dough that happily plays second fiddle to any fillings you want.
I’ve made many a Mishloach Manot Basket that contained my Hamantaschen using her yummy dough recipe.
One note here, for this trio of Hamantaschen recipes, I omitted the orange zest called for in the recipe. With both fillings and toppings in these 3 “over-the-top” hamantaschen, I wanted a neutral background flavor.
NOW IT’S TIME TO FILL AND DECORATE YOUR HAMANTASCHEN
TART CHERRY & ORANGE / SPARKLING SUGAR BORDERS / CANDIED ORANGE PEEL
- 3 cups dried Montmorency cherries (tart)
- 1 cup tart cherry juice (like Cheribundi)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbs. orange peel, sliced into thin strands or use strip zester
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbs. water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)
- sparkling sugar crystals
- Combine cherries, both juices, brown sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the cherries come to a simmer, lower the heat. Continue to cook for 5-7 minutes or until thickened, mashing mixture to help it break down.
- Cool cherry filling. Process in a food processor in short pulses until it’s almost smooth. Keep refrigerated until needed.
- To Make Candied Orange Peel: Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stirring to combine and melt sugar, continue to cook until liquid is clear. Add orange peel and continue to cook until syrup has thickened and peel is translucent. Remove from heat and pull candied orange peel out of syrup with a fork and lay on a small oiled baking sheet.
TO ASSEMBLE: Use 1 teaspoon filling per cookie / brush borders with water and sprinkle with sparkling sugar crystals / top cookies with candied orange peel.
BURNT SUGAR APRICOT / WHITE SESAME SEED BORDERS / BLACK SESAME BRITTLE
- 2 cups dried apricots, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup Burnt Sugar Syrup
- White sesame seeds
- 3 Tbs. Black sesame seeds
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Combine apricots, orange juice and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the apricots come to a simmer, lower the heat. Add Burnt Sugar Syrup and continue to cook, mashing mixture to help it break down, until thickened. Stir in Grand Marnier and cook for 1 more minute. Cool and keep refrigerated until needed.
- To Make Black Sesame Brittle: Pour sesame seeds onto a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Make sure they are closely spaced together. Place sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Watch the sugar carefully, swirly gently occasionally to help the process.
- It will take about 5-8 minutes for the sugar to melt and start to reach a light brown color. You want a nice dark caramel to create a slightly bitter brittle, so you must watch it carefully. It will go from light to dark brown in less than a minute.
- Once the sugar is dark brown, quickly pour it over the sesame seeds. Let cool completely, then break into large irregular pieces. (to use as the garni on hamantaschen, smash a piece in a mortar/pestle and sprinkle over top of cookie filling.
TO ASSEMBLE: Use 1 teaspoon filling per cookie / brush borders with water and sprinkle with white sesame seeds. Garnish cookie with black sesame brittle after they have completely cooled from oven.
CREAM CHEESE WITH ESPRESSO AND WHITE CHOCOLATE / ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup vanilla sugar (or regular sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
- 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup espresso flavored chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons hot coffee or espresso (or more, for drizzling)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar (and extract if using) until sugar is completely incorporated and begins to melt. Fold in chocolate chips and chill until needed.
- Combine the confectioners’ sugar with 2 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa, the coffee or espresso, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir until well blended. Add a little more hot coffee or hot water to get the desired consistency for drizzling.
TO ASSEMBLE: Use 1 teaspoon filling per cookie / garnish cookie by drizzling with espresso chocolate sauce
NEXT MONDAY’S POST WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO MAKE FABULOUS MISHLOACH MANOT BASKETS AND WHAT TO FILL THEM WITH!
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