Happy (Belated) Purim: Chocolate Hamantaschen

First let’s talk about Purim (which took place March 10, ’09). The history: A holiday not in the Torah, but from the Book of Esther. The story is in and read from the Megillah. Esther married the King of Persia (without him knowing she was Jewish). The king’s aide, Haman, wanted to kill the Jews. Esther announced to the king that she in fact was Jewish. The king killed Haman instead and saved the Jews. The celebration: Since this another instance in which the Jews survived a possible extermination, the celebration is huge. Orthodox Jews will often party real hard to celebrate the story and survival of the Jewish people. Often, at least at my temple, it’s tradition to get dressed up in costumes. The service is fun and a bit rowdy. When the rabbi reads the Magillah/story of Esther, every one waves groggers when Haman’s name is mentioned. Other traditions: Also during Purim, you make/eat hamantaschen. Apparently they represent Haman’s tricornered hat. There are usually Purim canrivals with games and plays. You also send out Purim bags with treats to friends and family. It’s fun!

So now you’ve got your fill of Jewish History 101 – on to the recipe!

chocolate hamantaschen

chocolate hamantaschen

Ingredients
Recipe adapted from Coconut and Lime
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp orange zest (optional)
1/2 cup of any flavor jam, divided

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line with cookie sheet with parchment paper
1. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat thoroughly.
2. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and mix until a thick dough forms. Add orange zest if using. Refrigerate the dough for about 10 minutes.
3. Sprinkle a clean work area with powdered sugar. Roll out the dough until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 2 to 3 inch rounds. Place them on the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
4. Spoon 1-2 tsp of jam in the middle and fold the sides to create a triangle shape. Pinch the corners and lightly smoosh them down so there isn’t a visible seam. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Voila! These are soft and delicious and a great way to enjoy Purim!

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