Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hamentashen (Jewish Cookies) Filled Fruit

Hamentashen Jewish Cookies Fruit Filled

Not bad for an Italian, but need lots more practice here!

Hamentashen are triangle fruit cookies served and eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim which falls this year on March 20th for two days this year. They are recognizable for their three-cornered shape, a symbol of “Hamen”, a villain in the Purim. a colleague of mine requested these for her birthday, I was so excited to learn about this cultural tradition and now it will be a regular for me on my cookie tray. A delicious treat...wishing Maureen many more happy birthdays and thank you for introducing me to this wonderful cookie!

1-1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar (I also tried using half brown sugar and they came out great!)
2 eggs
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon orange zest

several suggestions for jams would be apricot, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, pineapple,  blueberry, nutella, poppyseed filling  or prune.

 In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the orange juice and vanilla. Mix in the baking powder, then gradually stir in the flour until the dough forms a ball. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 F . Lightly grease cookie sheets and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch circles using a cookie cutter with a pretty edging  or drinking glass. Place circles directly on a parchment papered cookie sheet. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling onto the center of each circle.To fold into the shape of a hamentashen (a triangle) see below.

Slide two fingers from left hand under left side and two fingers from right hand under right side and two thumbs under the bottom of circle.
Bring all fingers (with dough) together to form a triangle and  pinch to close. I didn't pinch hard enough!

Repeat this process with remaining circles and dough.

 Note: The cookies may be refrigerated for an hour or for a quick 15 minutes frozen on the cookie sheets if desired to help retain their shape while cooking, oh by the way had I used this tip from a friend they would have kept their shape better!

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light golden brown. These are best undercooked slightly. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. These cookies are a wonderful Jewish tradition and very very delicious even though they aren't perfect triangles!
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