Hamantashen Recipe – Tips to Make the Perfect Purim Cookie | Cupcake Project

Hamantashen Recipe – Tips to Make the Perfect Purim Cookie

Hamantashen are a classic Purim dessert. Hamantashen are always triangular and designed to look like the triangular hat that the villain of the Purim story, Haman, wore. I have no idea why we bake cookie shaped like hats; that’s just what we do. For those less familiar with the story of Purim, I have a YouTube clip telling the Purim story in rap format at the bottom of this post.

First things first, though. Let’s take a step-by-step look at how to make (and how not to make) hamantashen.

Hamantashen Recipe

There is a bit of a rift in the Jewish community as to what the perfect hamantashen texture should be. Some like hamanshen cakey, while others, like myself, prefer the crisp cookie variety. Sadly, there is one bakery in St. Louis (you know which one it is if you live here) that seems to supply the hamantashen for the entire city. Their recipe falls into the cakey variety and I’m not a fan. The recipe below is crispy and crunchy.

As all good Jewish recipes should be, this recipe for hamantashen was passed down from my mom. She got the recipe from the 1955 Peekskill Cookbook (I presume that it was a fund raising cookbook for some organization in her town). The hamantashen recipe was submitted to the cookbook by Dora Levin. Dora, I don’t know who you are or if you are still alive, but your recipe is now famous!

The hamantashen recipe did not come with a count of how many cookies that it makes, perhaps because you can make them any size that you like. It does make quite a lot of cookies – plus the dough is really easy to make and requires no refrigeration time – so in a pinch (beware of foreshadowing), you could always quickly whip up some more.


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • your choice of filling (jam, jelly, preserves, chocolate chips, nuts). The recipe also included directions for a prune filling: blend raw prunes in a food processor, adding the juice and rind of one lemon and 1/2 C honey for every pound of prunes used.

 

 

Directions:

  • Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  • Mix in butter and eggs.
  • Roll out dough and form hamantashen (I’ve got step by step visuals on this below).
  • Bake on a well-greased cookie sheet or on parchment paper for 12-15 minutes at 400 F.

 

 

How to Make Hamantashen

Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters or the rim of a glass to cut into circles. The recipe called for the dough to be 1/4 inch thick. Mine might have been a bit thicker than that. I didn’t measure. Don’t obsess about it.

You can make the circles any size you like. I made mine with a 3 1/2 inch diameter because that is the perfect size to sit on top of the hamatashen cupcakes that are coming soon.

Next, you’ll want to put a dollop of your filling in the middle of the circle. DO NOT put too much filling or it will overflow. Look at the first step’s photo to get a sense of the proportion of filling to circle. Follow pictures two through four to fold over the circle, magically turning it into a triangle.

Optional – You may want to moisten the edge of the circle with some water before folding. This will help it to stick shut. It’s especially helpful if the dough has gotten at all dry. You also may consider brushing the top of the triangle with egg to give it some extra shine.

We Jews seem to have a thing for pinching. [Insert mental image of a Jewish grandma squeezing a baby's cheeks and saying, "Such a shayna punim (pretty face)."]

When I first attacked the task of turning the circles into triangles, my instinct was simply to pinch in the corners.

The problem, as you can see, was that they all opened up during baking. Moral (and this should apply in all areas of life): Do not pinch! Follow the folding method shown above.

If you do that, you will have pretty hamantashen!

And Now, The Story of Purim Told By a Guy That’s a Little Too Close to the Camera

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56 Responses to Hamantashen Recipe – Tips to Make the Perfect Purim Cookie

  1. Sylvia March 3, 2009 at 6:46 pm #

    Were yours brushed with egg?

  2. Stef March 3, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    No. They were not.

  3. Little Miss Cupcake March 4, 2009 at 2:51 am #

    These look great! I am looking forward to the cupcake version. Thanks for the history lesson too!

  4. Elyse March 4, 2009 at 9:34 am #

    I love Hamantashens!!! I remember the days in preschool when we used to get to dress up for Purim. I’ve never made these because, being the daughter of a very Jewish mother, she was always feeding me. But I haven’t lived hom for quite a while now, so I guess I have no excuse to not make these for myself!

  5. Pinky March 4, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    I’ve made these at to different bakeries I’ve worked at. Both used crispier style cookie, and I loved them! But we always pinched them. They just require a very firm pinch.

  6. chelseas March 4, 2009 at 8:51 pm #

    i’m loving your illustration!
    if only more cookies were displayed that way:)

  7. Sara March 5, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    These look great, and I love your Haman picture. I am going to make some hamantashen in honor of Purim, but I am a fan of the cakey variety. I don’t even think I have had a crispy version.

  8. Shari@Whisk: a food blog March 5, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    That video is fabulous…made me smile! I’ve never had Hamantashen, so I don’t know if I’d like cakey or crispy. They look delicious! And your drawing is fun too.

  9. bakingforthecure March 8, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    These look delicious! About the pinching- ctually, you could pinch these, but then you have to put them in the fridge for a while. Trust me, once you chill the cookies, they won`t open while baking.

  10. Stef March 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    I’m going to have to try the sticking them in the fridge before baking them thing next time. Thanks!

  11. Anonymous March 9, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    I am in the pinching corner :) I think the difference is the dough. I use Marcy Goldman’s sugar cookie recipe, along with a colder dough, and try to minimize the amount of flour used for rolling. Also, I combine jam with finely chopped walnuts so that it stays thicker. Thin fillings will leak and cause the sides to open more easily. I do think your folded ones look lovely and will try that next year. Thanks for the tutorial.

  12. Anonymous March 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    do you know of any alternative fillings for this recipe we are all out of jam and i tried prunes but they dont work too well

  13. Stef March 9, 2009 at 6:01 pm #

    Honey and nuts, chocolate, apples, raisins. Whatever you can dream up!

  14. Jule March 10, 2009 at 1:21 am #

    So I made these last night. The dough was very easy to handle (surprising, since rolling out cookie dough is not one of my many talents) and turned out very nice. I definitely understand what you mean about cakey-ness now. These are my first hamantashen ever (making and eating) so I’, not sure if they turned out properly. They taste good (filled with apricot jam).

  15. Hilary Tuttle March 10, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    Great recipe, though when I made it, the dough was far too crumbly–adding the other 1/4 of a cup of butter or margarine makes it a perfect consistency for rolling!

  16. Something Different February 25, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    Your way looks nice, but the pinching method is much more traditional looking. I actually succeeded with the pinch method, though I had to pinch really tightly.

    The two things I found that helped them stick together were-
    1) I put very little filling, and,
    2) I put egg whites on the corners.

    Btw, I just found your blog, searching for hamantashen, and it looks great! I am going to look through your old posts now!

  17. melissa February 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    i’m trying these today. i lost my recipe that i had been using for a few years. i like the crunchy hamentashen so i’m excited to try this one!
    love the video! so cute!

  18. pnotine March 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe! Love the folding, not pinching technique. Mine always ended up looking like your picture. I’m going to make apricot (my favorite) and Nutella this year to change things up! Hope they turn out :)

  19. Anonymous March 15, 2011 at 4:11 am #

    LOVE you comment about not pinching. That’s been a life-long problem with my hamentaschen, and this year I’ll be folding instead and we shall see. Thank you! Chag Sameach!

  20. Anonymous March 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I found the dough to be a bit sticky and they didn’t always stay shut in the oven – although otherwise pretty easy to work with. thanks for sharing!

  21. Amy March 18, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Looking forward to making these this weekend!

  22. Amy March 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    These turned out fantastic! I posted about it at http://alittlenosh.blogspot.com/2011/03/hamentashen.html

    Thanks!

  23. CarolynT March 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Thanks for this recipe…worked great…and the ‘no pinching’ suggestion was spot on…all these years, I’ve been pinching!

  24. Aly May 15, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    I made these a few weeks ago, but unfortunately (I’m young, don’t judge) I used baking SODA instead of powder and they tasted horrible. So I made these again a few days ago the right way, and they turned out delicious. The only thing is, though, the dough was different this time. I followed the recipe exactly, but the dough was really dry and I had a really hard time folding it without it crumbling. Can anyone explain why this happened? I am not a cook and have virtually no experience, so I would like to know why this happened for future reference.

  25. Stef May 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    Aly – It could be the temperature of your butter? Was it colder the first time than the second time? Also, sometimes the dough can get dryer from over-mixing.

  26. LaurenBE December 11, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Hey guys! Great recipe. We made some filled with smoked salmon cream cheese. oy vey they were delicious!

  27. Anonymous February 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    A better song to hear-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgJInVvJSZg&feature=endscreen&NR=1

    happy Purim

  28. Anonymous March 4, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Thanks so much! I made these cookies gluten free AND sugar free! I used gluten free baking flour instead of regular flour. I used 1/2 a cup of clear agave syrup and a touch of maple syrup in exchange for the sugar. I added that to the egg/butter mixture and then put it into the flour/baking soda, salt mix. It came out perfect!!!

  29. Anonymous March 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    (I mean baking powder)

  30. Anonymous March 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Thanks for this recipe-I made them with my 4 year old daughter, and they turned out great! My mother (a former caterer) says pinching corners with water or eggwhite will keep the corners together. I stuck mine in the freezer for a few minutes before baking, and they turned out gorgeous. Thanks!

  31. Anonymous March 7, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    Hey Hamantashen are not to symbolize the hat that haman wore but to symbolize his ear…yes you read correctly! Hence, in Hebrew they are called OZNI HAMAN -Hamans Ears.

    Happy Purim

  32. Beautifuljulie March 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Thank you so much for the tip about folding not pinching! That’s were I went wrong last year! Just made a batch and they smell amazing! Happy Purim!

  33. Anonymous March 8, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Why do other recipes use orange juice?

    • Stef March 8, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

      I don’t know.

      • Michele March 14, 2014 at 1:37 am #

        Because they want the cookies to be pareve (those recipes would also use oil or margarine, not butter), and/or because the acid in the OJ has a tenderizing effect on the dough, and also adds some flavor.

  34. Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    looks fantastic i’m going to try them for the first time i’m a great baker to begin with, they will come out perfect.
    God be with you

  35. Anonymous February 18, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    Thanks, this recipe sounds lovely. I have always used orange juice in mine to make a tart, flavorful dough. And, also place already shaped hamantasen in freezer before baking, which helps prevent them from opeining up. Have also decorated with sprinkles on the tops before baking; especially iwhen making chocolate chip dough with chocolate genache…always a big hit. .
    This recipe was fast and easy, and I especially enjoyed using your baking tips.

  36. Tristyn Duffy February 20, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    “Hamantaschen” is Yiddish for “Haman’s pockets” (this is an easy thing to figure out if you think about tashlich). Like many aspects of Judaism, there are different ways to look at and think about things.

  37. Tristyn Duffy February 20, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    I baked these last night, and yes, I pinched. Turned out great! This is a very buttery dough which is nice as it lends pliability, but like most cookie doughs, the fat needs to cool down before going in the oven. I popped each sheet in the freezer for 5-7 minutes before baking.

  38. Anonymous February 24, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    This recipe appears to be missing a key ingredient: some kind of liquid to hold the dough together. Mine came out too crumbly to work with until I added 1/2 cup of milk. I think there should be more liquid in this, or else specify that the butter should be melted, not just room temperature. In any case, butter is not liquid at room temperature, so perhaps a different shortening is called for–or as I did, add milk. The fold-over technique didn’t work quite so well as the pinch technique, but the cookies were well received and disappeared pretty quickly. :) Certainly this is an easier recipe than some I have found, once the texture problem is solved.

  39. Debby March 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Ummmm, I’m not Jewish, but according to a Bible Study I did where the recipe was provided, I think they are supposed to be ‘ears’ and not ‘hats’…? hence the name translated at ‘Haman’s ears’ ?

  40. Abby February 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    traditional hamantaschen have pinched corners. Maybe you just need a better dough. I made the ones from this recipe last year and they came out exactly like the picture (pinched). http://www.chabad.org/blogs/blog_cdo/aid/2129750/jewish/Chocolate-Dipped-Cream-Cheese-Hamantashen.htm

  41. Michele March 14, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    That’s a good shaping method if your filling is jam (or worse, jelly), which melts and leads to flattening and opening, but if you are using a traditional thick filling like lekvar or mohn (or the less-traditional Nutella) it’s not necessary. Feel free to pinch away (unless you prefer the fold-over design to the pointy-cornered look). If you do use jam, try an all-fruit spread rather than a sugary/corn-syrupy product, and it won’t melt as much.

    This is assuming your dough is the correct consistency and temperature (chilled!) and is not coated with flour. For the people with crumbly dough problems, or heavy, dry cookies, the #1 culprit is usually mis-measured flour. Never scoop, shake, or pack your cup. Spoon the flour in and level it with a straight edge, or measure it by weight.

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