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.
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
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.