I like hamantaschen when they are free formed and overflowing. One of my pet peeves is biting into a dry, under-filled hamantaschen. As you can see, I took “free formed” quite literally.
Buzzfeed recently posted a list of 32 crazy hamantaschen flavors. Up to a couple weeks ago, the only flavors I knew could go into hamantaschen were: preserves, prunes, nutella or poppyseeds. Now Buzzfeed introduces savory flavors like “French Onion Soup” and “Mediterranean.” The post also described “Coffee Cake” and “Rose-Water Almond” and “Truffle Pops.” You see, this blew my mind. Whoever thought of these, I applaud you for thinking “outside the triangle.” I used a chocolate cookie base for three new flavor fillings: peanut butter honey, raspberry coconut, peanut butter and jelly.
Look at that oozing, delicious preserves flowing out of the cookie! Although, because it all flowed out there wasn’t as much left inside – talk about your backfire! I rolled out the dough fairly thin – less than 1/4″ thick. Next time I would leave it a little thicker to allow for a more buttery, crumbly cookie. However, my parents said they loved the thin cookie; it’ll just depend on who I’m baking for! I’d also use a smaller cookie cutter – although, that would mean using something other than a margarita glass.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated orange zest
2 1/8 cups flour
2 T. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-5 tsp water or orange juice (if needed)
Raspberry or other mixed berry preserves
1/4 cup coconut flakes
Peanut butter honey
1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup milk
1/8-1/4 cup confectioners sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
Peanut butter and jelly
3/4 cup peanut butter
1-2 tsp. confectioner’s sugar
strawberry, blueberry, mixed berry preserves
Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice room temperature butter into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar to the bowl. Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes till light and fluffy.
- Add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest to the bowl. Beat again till creamy and well mixed. Sift flour and salt into the bowl. Mix with the electric mixer on low speed till a crumbly dough forms.
- Begin to knead dough with hands till a smooth dough ball forms. Try not to overwork the dough, only knead till the dough is the right consistency. If the crumbles are too dry to form a smooth dough, add water or juice slowly, 1 teaspoon at a time, using your hands to knead the liquid into the dough. Knead and add liquid until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky to the touch (not sticky). If you are using coconut, add the flakes here.
- Form the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours to overnight.
- Before you begin to assemble the hamantaschen, choose and make your filling and have it on hand to work with. Lightly flour a smooth, clean surface. Unwrap the dough disk and place it on the floured surface. The dough will be very firm after chilling.
- Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. When the dough reaches 1/4 inch thickness, scrape the dough up with a pastry scraper, lightly reflour the surface, and flip the dough over. Continue rolling the dough out very thin (less than 1/8 of an inch thick). The thinner you roll the dough, the more delicate and crisp the cookies will turn out. If you prefer a thicker, more doughy texture to your cookies (less delicate), keep the dough closer to 1/4 inch thick. Lightly flour the rolling pin occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Use a 3-inch cookie cutter or the 3-inch rim of a glass to cut circles out of the dough, cutting as many as you can from the dough.Gather the scraps and roll them out again. Cut circles. Repeat process again if needed until you’ve cut as many circles as you can from the dough. You should end up with around 35 circles (unless you’ve kept your dough on the thicker side, which will result in less cookies).
- Place a teaspoon of filling (see below!) into the center of each circle. Cover unused circles with a lightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out while you are filling. Assemble circles into triangles.
- Pinch each corner of the triangle gently but firmly to secure the shape. If any cracks have formed at the places where the dough is creased, use the warmth of your fingers to smooth them out.
- Repeat this process for the remaining circles.
- When all of your hamantaschen have been filled, place them on a lightly greased baking sheet, evenly spaced.
- Place them in the oven and let them bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, till the cookies are cooked through and lightly golden. Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Store them in a tightly sealed plastic bag or Tupperware.
Peanut butter honey
- Beat together the peanut butter, milk (or soy milk) and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Add filling to the dough and follow steps 8-12 above.
Peanut butter and jelly
- Soften peanut butter for 15 seconds in microwave, and mix in confectioner’s sugar. Spoon small (less than 1 tsp) rounded scoops of peanut butter onto a wax paper lined plate using a small spoon or melon baller. Make 20 small scoops, and place plate into freezer.
- Add 1 tsp. of preserves into hamantaschen dough circles. Then place one scoop of peanut butter in the middle of the preserves. Add filling to the dough and follow steps 8-12 above.