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Arsip Tag: hamantaschen
Let me be the first to admit that the only reason that the hamantaschen archives on this site aren’t stronger are that I’m completely stubborn and generally a pedant and this gets in the way of what I know needs to be done to achieve hamantaschen perfection. If you read that sentence and thought “I know what some of those words mean but maybe not in that order,” don’t worry, you’re not alone. Hamantaschen are triangular cookies traditionally eaten during the Jewish festival of Purim (think: Jewish Mardi Gras) that falls next week. Haman, the villain in the biblical story, was said to wear a tricorne hat — with the brim turned up on three sides, something that was wildly fashionable in the 1700s which means it’s due for a hipster revival any day now — and this is where the cookies get their shape.
While I’ve made them a few times before — really, what is there not to love about filled cookies — mine tend to flop open and leak because I find the traditional ones floury and dull, and prefer those that are like tiny open-faced fruit tarts or galettes — light, flaky and tender with inspired fillings. [This is probably what happens when you have a mother that made french onion more often than matzo ball soup, beef bourguignon instead of roast chicken, not that we minded one bit.] These little fruit tarts are high on delicious but low on structural integrity.
One might overcome this leakiness by folding the corners in a overlapped manner rather than the vertical pinch-style I use, but but but (Pedant Alert!) have you even looked at a tricorne hat before? Do you see those corners? How come I’m the one doing it wrong?
All of this is to say that every year I promise to share a better recipe here and even fold it the way I know they work better and every year this desire collides with my worst traits (stubbornness, pedantry, procrastination) and really, I’m the worst. Or, I was until this week. This week, I’ve finally make good on my promise. The recipe below is a good standard hamantaschen dough that can even be made dairy-free should you use olive or another oil instead of butter. But. Ahem. If the sound of a vanilla bean-flecked brown butter dough with a hazelnut brown butter and apricot jam filling sounds good to you, you’re in for a treat, because it turns out you can use this recipe to be very traditional or very very not. Basically, we all win.
One year ago: The Consolation Prize (A Mocktail)
Two years ago: Sizzling Chicken Fajitas
Three years ago: Coconut Bread
Four years ago: Carrot Cake Pancakes
Five years ago: Tiny Poppy Seed Taschen
Six years ago: Irish Soda Bread Scones
Seven years ago: Layer Cake Tips + The Biggest Birthday Cake Yet
Eight years ago: Fast White Bean Stew
Nine years ago: Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Zucchini Rice and Cheese Gratin
1.5 Years Ago: Cucumber Lemonade
2.5 Years Ago: Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake
3.5 Years Ago: Roasted Apple Spice Sheet Cake
4.5 Years Ago: Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar
Apricot Hazelnut Brown Butter Hamantaschen
To make these cookies dairy free, simply use a non-dairy butter, olive oil or another cookie oil of your choice instead of the of butter in the dough. This works. I have not made the filling, a frangipane-style paste, with non-dairy butter before, but I have a hunch it should work just fine. If hazelnuts aren’t your thing, use 3/4 cup of another nut of your choice — almonds are traditional, pecans and walnuts are excellent. I’ve even made this paste with pistachios before. You’re going to have twice the paste you need because it seemed more trouble than it was worth to scale it down. The paste keeps in the fridge for several days and can be frozen for future treats. Or, you can just make more hamantaschen. Nobody will mind.
Yield: About 3 dozen cookies
9 tablespoons (130 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
1/4 cup (65 grams) browned butter, from above
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
Seeds from half a fresh vanilla bean (optional)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (310 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (100 grams) toasted hazelnuts, skins rubbed off
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Few pinches of sea salt
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
Remaining browned butter from above, or about 4 to 5 tablespoons, cold
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon brandy, or another flavoring of your choice (totally optional)
1/2 cup (rough estimate) apricot jam
Brown your butter: You’re going to use this in two places. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Keep cooking it after it has melted, stirring frequently, until it begins to smell nutty and pale brown flecks appear at the edge of the pan, which takes a few minutes. Once these reach a dark beige/medium brown color (you’ll want to watch this like a hawk, this happens quickly once it begins to toast) remove from heat. Pour 1/4 cup exactly of this browned butter mixture into the bottom of the large bowl you’re going to make your cookie dough with. Place the rest (this will be 4 to 5 tablespoons) in a small-medium dish and freeze it until you need it for the filling, which uses a more flexible amount of butter.
Make your dough: Let the 1/4 cup browned butter cool slightly in the bottom of a large bowl, then whisk in sugar, vanilla extract, scraped vanilla bean seeds (if using). Whisk in eggs, one at a time, followed by salt and baking powder. Switch to a spoon and add first cup flour, stirring to combine. Repeat with second cup of flour, then 1/4 cup. Dough is going to become stiff, just do you best. Add the last 2 tablespoons flour and if it’s too stiff to stir with a spoon, knead it in with your hands.
Divide dough into two parts and wrap each in a flattish disc in plastic in the fridge for 2 hours, or up to a few days. Impatient? So am I? Place discs in freezer until firm but not frozen, 20 to 30 minutes.
Make your filling: Place nuts, flour, salt and sugar in the workbowl of a food processor and run the machine until the nuts are finely ground but not yet forming a paste. Remember that browned butter you froze? Scrape it into the machine and run it until combined. Add egg and any flavorings and run the machine until a smooth paste forms. Scrape hazelnut paste back into that browned butter dish (fewer dishes) and place it in the fridge until needed. It doesn’t have to be cold to work, but it is easier to scoop.
Assemble and bake cookies: Heat oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
Roll chilled dough, one packet at a time, out on a floured counter until 1/8-inch thick. These cookies puff in the oven, so err on the thin side. Cut into 3-inch circles. In the center of each circle, dollop the tiniest amount (a scant teaspoon, this expands in the oven so use less that it seems you’d need) of the hazelnut paste and a little (1/2 teaspoon, tops) dab of apricot jam. Fold sides up, forming a triangular shape and pinching the corners closed well.
Arrange on baking sheet with an inch or so between cookies. Reroll scraps as needed. Repeat with remaining packet of dough.
Bake cookies for 11 minutes to start, then check the color and return them to the oven, a minute at a time, until they’re nice and golden at the edges. For me, this usually takes a couple more minutes.
Let cool on racks. Cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, and longer in the freezer.
2/21/21 Updates: After reading how many struggled with crumbly dough, I’ve retested these a few times this weekend am adding a few notes. Biggest change: I’ve dropped the first flour amount from 2 1/4 cups to 2 cups. I think you will find these much bendier without cracking, so yours will be as perfect as the pictures here.
Make filling: In a small-medium bowl, mash cream cheese and sugar with a fork (this will be easy if room temperature and take a couple minutes longer if it’s cold, but will work either way). Add salt, vanilla, lemon juice, and egg yolk and continue to mash and blend until smooth. Transfer to refrigerator until needed.
Make dough in a food processor: Combine the sugars, salt, and 2 cups of the flour in the work bowl. Add butter and mix or pulse until it disappears, then keep running the machine until it just begins to clump. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined into one big or a few smaller masses, scraping down the bowl as needed for even blending, then keep running the machine until the dough is smooth and easily forms one big blob. This might take up to a full minute longer.
Make dough in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer: Combine butter, sugars, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until creamy. If you began with cold butter in a stand mixer, this will take a couple minutes and require you to scrape down the bowl a few times. Once mixture is thoroughly combined, add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat until it disappears, then keep mixing until the dough is smooth and easily forms one big ball; this might take up to a full minute longer. Scrape down the bowl.
All methods: Scoop half the dough into a separate bowl. You can eyeball it, or, if you have a digital scale, my dough halves weighed 308 grams each [new weight based on lower flour amount]. Add remaining 1/3 cup flour to one half of the dough, and 1/3 cup cocoa powder to the second half, mixing until blended. Once again, run the mixer or machine until the dough is no longer crumbly and is in one big mound; this can take 30 to 60 seconds longer. [If using a FP or stand mixer, I mix flour in the half that’s still in the bowl of the machine, scoop it out, add the second half of dough to the machine and blend in the cocoa.]
Marble your dough: Place a large piece of parchment paper on your counter. Spoon little dollops of chocolate and vanilla doughs all over, alternating dollops a little but no need to be very checkerboarded about it. Use an offset spatula, bench scraper, or even a spoon to smoosh and mush some of the pieces together, creating areas that are more blended and leaving some unblended.
Roll dough out: Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper and roll doughs out into an even 1/8-inch thick slab. If you started with cold butter, the dough will probably be solid enough right now to skip it. If it feels very mushy/warm, however, slide the onto the back of a large baking sheet and pop into the freezer (or, uh, outside if it’s cold but not snowing where you are) for 3 minutes. We do not want the dough to be hard, just somewhat firmed up but still very bendy.
Form shapes: Return the dough slab to your counter. Carefully peel the parchment sheet off the top and replace it. (This loosens it.) Flip slab over onto the loosened side and remove the top parchment sheet entirely. Use this to line a large baking sheet.
Cut dough into 3-inch rounds. Place a measured 1-teaspoon dollop of cream cheese filling in the center of each. Fold up the edges in 3 sections and pinch the corners closed and [updated to add] continue to pinch/”zip up” the cooking, pinching it closed, until only a marble-to-quarter-sized opening remains. Don’t worry if the center looks underfilled; the cream cheese expands in the oven. Transfer each to the parchment-lined baking sheet. These do not spread, so you can fit them fairly close together on the tray — i.e. 1-2 inches apart.
To reroll scraps, pile them in the center of the piece of parchment paper and place a second sheet on top again. Repeat the process of rolling the dough thin, briefly cooling it, loosening the back, and cutting it into circles until all the dough and about 2/3 the filling is used.
Bake hamantaschen: For 20 to 25 minutes, until pale parts of dough are golden brown. Transfer to cooling rack.
Store: Hamantaschen keep in fridge for up to one week.