Honey Walnut Hamantaschen

As much as I love poppy seed hamantaschen, I wanted a new filling for Purim this year. Fortunately the internet is full of recipes, with all manner of suggestions for fruit, nuts, and even chocolate or Nutella. I found a few nut-based filling ideas on different websites and came up with the recipe below based on those, plus my own addition of cinnamon. The end result, a honey cinnamon walnut encased in buttery orange-flavored dough, is absolutely delicious.

While I did a rough chop on my walnuts for this filling, I recommend chopping more finely and will do that the next time I make these. The filling is delicious, but it would have been easier to work with had the walnuts been chopped finely.

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the dough

  • 1 cup butter, cut into small pieces, softened
  • 2 egg yolks*
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups flour, plus a few more tablespoons for kneading
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • About 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice

Preparation

Combine walnuts, honey, water, salt, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture boils. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens enough for your spatula to leave a clean trail behind it on the bottom of the pan, about 6-8 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool completely before using; I chilled mine overnight.

To make the dough, combine butter, egg yolks, orange zest, flour, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until dough comes together; it will be crumbly.

Add orange juice, about 1/2 tablespoon at a time, and pulse as best you can until the dough becomes smoother – at this point it will probably become difficult to pulse because it will have bunched up on one side of your food processor. That’s okay.

Scrape out the dough from your food processor bowl and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Knead very gently, adding a few more tablespoons of flour, just until the dough comes together and is no longer sticky. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thickness and cut into 3-inch circles using a cookie cutter or drinking glass.

Place circles on your cookie sheet, and using the tip of your finger, lightly brush the edge of each circle with water; this will help the dough stick when you form the triangle.

Place about 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle. Fold the bottom up, then fold in the two sides to make the triangle, gently pressing the corners of the triangle to close them and leaving just a bit of filling exposed.

Bake for 15-17  minutes, until cookies are a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Makes about 36 cookies, depending on your cutter size.

Caramel Apple Hamantaschen

This past weekend was the Jewish festival of Purim, and hamantaschen are the traditional Purim treat. I’ve made them before, in poppy seed, raspberry, and apricot varieties, but never really found a recipe that I loved.

Last week at work, my friend Inbal mentioned a recipe she’d seen for hamantaschen with apple filling, kind of like little cookie-sized apple pies. This sounded delicious to me, so I went in search of a recipe and found this one from Tori Avey. I adapted it slightly to use my own recipe for buttery hamantaschen dough, and Mike proclaimed these cookies the best hamantaschen I’ve ever made. While this filling isn’t like pie filling, it is absolutely delicious. Thank you, Inbal, for this great idea!

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 5 Granny Smith apples
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup dulce de leche

For the dough

Note: Depending on the size of your food processor, you’ll need to make two separate batches of dough because all of the ingredients won’t fit (especially in a standard, 7-cup food processor like mine). 

Preparation

To make the filling:

Peel and core apples, then shred them into fine shreds using a hand grater or your food processor fitted with a shredding blade.

In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil, then add apple shreds and cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will thicken and start to look like thick applesauce and will clump together when you stir it.

Remove from heat and stir in dulce de leche. Allow the mixture to cool, then chill for at least 1 hour before using. I chilled mine for a few days because I didn’t get a chance to make the dough until last night.

To make the cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thickness and cut into 3-inch circles using a cookie cutter or drinking glass.

Place circles on your cookie sheet, and using the tip of your finger, lightly brush the edge of each circle with water; this will help the dough stick when you form the triangle.

Place about 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle. Fold the bottom up, then fold in the two sides to make the triangle, gently pressing the corners of the triangle to close them and leaving just a bit of filling exposed.

Bake for 15-17  minutes, until cookies are a light golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes about 48.

 

Hamantashen (Raspberry and Apricot)

hamantashen 2

 

 

 

 

 

Today marks the Jewish festival of Purim, as well as Mike’s 36th birthday, and I couldn’t let my Jewish husband’s birthday pass without baking this traditional Purim treat.

For our Purim celebration last year, I made poppy seed hamantashen, and that dough, while not as pliable as this recipe, stayed together much better during baking. Mike liked the taste of that dough better as well, so I think I’ll go back to my original recipe next time. It’s amazing how many recipes exist for the same treat; you can scour cookbooks, online recipe hubs, and blogs and probably find dozens of varieties. This is another thing that I love about baking; there are so many possibilities.

Ingredients

  • 1/3cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • About 3 tablespoons each raspberry jam and apricot preserves

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, egg, and vanilla.

Add cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add baking powder, salt, and flour; beat until the dough forms a ball.

Tape a sheet of parchment paper to your counter top and sprinkle very lightly with flour.

Turn dough out onto the parchment and roll to 1/8 inch thick.

Cut into circles and transfer to the baking sheet.

Place about 1/4 teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle—be careful not to over-fill.

Fold each circle into a triangle, sealing the edges well.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until edges are golden.

Cool on a wire rack.

Hamantashen (Poppy Seed)

 

 

 

 

 

It’s almost Purim!  Time to celebrate the triumph of the Jews over Haman’s plot with some tasty cookies.  In case you’re not familiar with story of Purim, visit http://www.aish.com/h/pur/b/48970736.html.

Anyway…as I’ve mentioned, Mike and I are an interfaith Jewish-Catholic couple, so we have a lot to celebrate.  This was my first experience making hamantashen, and I must say I was thoroughly humbled by the process.  Folding circles of quick-to-tear dough into pinwheels/triangles is much, much more difficult than one may imagine.  Next time, I’ll try a different recipe, but if I were to make these again, I wouldn’t chill the dough for nearly as long so that it would remain as pliable as possible.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, cut into small pieces, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 10-ounce jar poppy seed filling

Preparation

Combine butter, egg yolks, orange zest, flour, and salt in a food processor.

Pulse until dough forms.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead very gently, just until the dough comes together.  Chill briefly, about 20 minutes, until dough is easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut with a round, 2 ½ inch cookie cutter or drinking glass.  Gently press the circles between your palms to make them more pliable if necessary.

Place circles on your cookie sheet, and using the tip of your finger, lightly brush the edge of each circle with water.

Place about 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle.

Fold dough to form a pinwheel/triangle shape; begin with the left side and fold inward, then fold the right side inward, leaving some of the filling exposed.  Fold up the bottom, tucking the right bottom edge under the right side of the triangle, and folding the left bottom edge over the left side of the triangle.

Bake for 15 minutes, until light golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.