Photos and Words by Rachel Rex
Happy Purim! When I remembered that the holiday was approaching, I knew I’d have to make some hamantaschen to celebrate. Not only are they tasty cookies, but they also help commemorate such a fun holiday! I thought I’d share some of the history surrounding the Jewish holiday and cookie or two, before baking some myself.
Purim celebrates the story of Queen Esther and Mordecai, who saved the Jewish people from the evil Haman’s plot to destroy them. In modern times, this holiday has evolved into kind of a Jewish version of Halloween; people dress up like the figures in the story, hold carnivals, and generally, go wild.
In Hebrew School, I learned that hamantaschen cookies—three-pointed cookies traditionally filled with poppy seeds—are eaten because Haman wore a three-cornered hat. The term even translates to “Haman-pockets.” After doing some more research, though, I realized that these cookies hold a deeper significance. In Hebrew, mohn means poppy seeds, so in that regard, traditional hamantaschen embody a literal translation.
I used to make these cookies back when I was little, though, of course no kid wanted to fill his or her hamantaschen with poppy seeds. Instead, we’d scramble for something sweeter, like peanut butter and marshmallows. I decided to reminisce on this twist on traditional hamantaschen from my childhood, this time, by filling mine with Nutella and peanut butter.
This recipe is adapted from the Food Network.
2 1⁄2 cups flour
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
Water (enough to make the dough workable—see directions below)
Peanut butter, Nutella, or other fillings (as much as you desire!)
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix together the sugar, oil, and eggs.
3. Incorporate in the flour and baking powder. If dough is too dry, add water gradually, a
teaspoon at a time, until the proper dough consistency is reached.
4. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about ¼ inch thickness. Using the bottom of a round drinking glass or a three-inch diameter cookie cutter, cut circles from the dough. Put the circles on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet.
5. Put a small amount of filling in the center of the circle. Fold 1/3 of the circle inwards, then another side, then the other, overlapping each side and ensuring that the corners are sealed.
6. Bake for about 25 minutes.