Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2008 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Hamantaschen are triangular-shaped cookies which can be made from a cream cheese dough. There are also recipes using a soft yeast and ones that we call Hamantaschen - Cookie-Like Dough, and even recipes using sour cream. Hamantaschen traditionally came filled only with poppy seeds (well, occasionally lekvar, prune butter, as well). Now there are other flavors, including cherry, raspberry and pineapple, chocolate and cheese hamantaschen; I have noticed that, what I call "plain doughs", are being dressed-up by bakers today with unique and inventive flavorings.
COOKIE RECIPE HELP
At any time the cookie dough becomes soft and sticky, place it in the freezer or refrigerator to chill until they become firm enough to handle.
Filling or 1 cup thick raspberry jam or other filling
1/4 cup poppy seeds (11.25-oz. jars)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup water
1/8 cup Amaretto
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup walnuts
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style cream cheese such as Philadelphia Brand; not reduced fat
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
STEP I: MAKE THE HAMANTASCHEN COOKIE DOUGH
1. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment with the mixer on low, cream together the butter, cream cheese, orange peel and vanilla.
SARAH SAYS: You do not want to beat air into the mixture; you just want to combine the ingredients.
3. Slowly beat in the sugar and then, the egg.
4. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture slowly at the side of the bowl and beat until just incorporated; do not overmix.
5. Form dough into two balls. Divide the dough in two and flatten each portion into a round disks, wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerator overnight.
STEP II: MAKE THE HAMANTASCHEN FILLING
1. Place poppy seeds in coffee grinder or Cuisinart Mini-Prep Processor. Grind for three minutes, or until seeds have the consistency of fine black pepper and become slightly sticky.
2. In a double boiler, place cream, water, and Amaretto; cover. On a low flame, bring to a boil. Let bubbling water bring cream-Amaretto mixture to a slow boil for five minutes. Remove top of double boiler from heat and keep covered for an hour. Don’t proceed for an hour to give seeds time to puff up and absorb some liquid.
3. In a standard-size food processor, use metal blade to mix raisins and sugar for one minute, or until crumbly. Add to cream-Amaretto mixture, blending well. In a food processor, use metal blade to grind walnuts into bits. Add to cream-Amaretto mixture, blending well.
Mixture can be covered and refrigerated for a day.
STEP III: ASSEMBLE THE HAMANTASCHEN AND BAKE
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets or lightly grease them. Set aside.
2. Remove one dough ball from refrigerator. (It should be firm but malleable.) On a lightly floured work surface or on a silpat nonstick mat, and working quickly so the dough does not warm and become sticky, roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness.
SARAH SAYS: You may need to dust the rolling pin with flour, as well, to prevent the dough from sticking.
3. Roll dough into a circle of 1/8-inch thick. With a 3 1/2 or 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut as many circles as possible. Reserve the scraps and stack them on top of one another, forming a small rectangle; do not knead the scraps together. Wrap them in plastic wrap and rechill until firm enough to roll.
SARAH SAYS: If the dough is too thin for you to handle, roll it to 1/4-inch thickness; they will take slightly longer to bake.
I like to use a scalloped cookie cutter.
4. With a pastry brush or a fingertip, brush the edge of each round right before filling, lightly with cold water.
Fill circles with 2 level teaspoons of filling. Fold up two sides of the dough, each side being a third of the circle, and pinch the dough together where they meet. Fold up the third side of the circle and pinch together at both sides, forming a triangle. Leave a generous opening at the top. The filling should extend above the top of the pastry. If it doesn't, use more filling.
5. Place the formed and filled Hamantaschen 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Repeat until all of the dough and filling has been used.
SARAH SAYS: You may have some filling left over. Keep in the refrigerator. It is delicious used on toast or on baked chicken. If it becomes dry, add some extra orange juice and cook and stir under low heat for a few minutes.
5. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the cookies barely take on a little brown color on the sides and are lightly browned on their top edges. Remove from the oven and cool cookies on a wire cake rack.
Hamantaschen store well, layered between sheets of wax or parchment paper for a week or more in an airtight container at room temperature. They freeze well for a month or more.