It’s almost Purim for our Jewish friends! Purim celebrates one of my favorite Bible stories: Esther. Her bravery resulted in the Hebrew people being liberated from persecution.

Perhaps you were born for such a time as this. (Esther 4:14)

To commemorate, the Jewish people often make a filled cookie called Hamantaschen, which translates to “ears of Haman” (the Persian official who wished to destroy the Hebrews). To this day, Jews enjoy these triangular cookies to celebrate that Haman’s evil plan was thwarted by God through Queen Esther. Some believe the shape of the cookies represent the triangular hat Haman wore.

Traditional Hamantaschen fillings include apricot, date, and poppy seed. However, today they are filled with all types of delicious treats, including chocolate, cookie butter, and a wide variety of fruits and jams. I opted to keep mine traditional, making a thick apricot/orange filling from scratch.

NOTE: This recipe is dairy-free for the ease of Kosher cooking. However, if you aren’t trying to remain Kosher, try Tori Avey’s Buttery Hamantaschen recipe for a delicious buttery take on these tasty cookies!

Apricot Filling
(Original recipe: Tori Avey)

2 C dried apricots (pitted)
1 C water
1/4 C orange juice
1/2 C sugar
1 TBSP lemon juice
a pinch of salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil for one minute. Reduce heat to medium low so the mixture simmers slowly and constantly. Cover the pot.

Let the mixture simmer covered for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Remove the lid from the pan. Let the apricots continue to simmer for 2-3 more minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated/absorbed. When there are about 3 TBSP of liquid left in the pan, remove from heat. Don’t let the apricots burn.

Mash the apricots with a potato masher or immersion blender until a smooth puree forms.

Let cool to room temperature before using. Transfer to a sealed, airtight container to cool completely in the refrigerator before using in your Hamantaschen.

(Original recipe: Tory Avey)

2 large eggs
2/3 C sugar
1/4 C canola oil
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-5 tsp water (if needed)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, canola oil, orange zest and vanilla.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet until a crumbly dough begins to form. Knead until smooth and slightly tacky to the touch. Try not to overwork the dough, only knead until the dough is the right consistency. If the crumbles are too dry to form a smooth dough, add water slowly, 1 teaspoon at a time, using your hands to knead the liquid into the dough until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky to the touch (not sticky), with a consistency that is right for rolling out. If the dough seems too wet, knead in a little flour until it reaches the right texture.

Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least one hour. This important step will make the rolling and cutting process much easier.

Lightly flour a smooth, clean surface and a rolling pin. Use the rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/8-1/4 inch thick (the thinner the dough, the more delicate the finished cookie). Lightly flour the rolling pin occasionally to prevent sticking, if you need to.

Use a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass at least 3 inches in diameter to cut circles out of the dough, cutting as many as you can from the dough. Gather the scraps, roll them out, and repeat until you’ve cut as many circles as you can from the dough.

Place a teaspoon of filling into the center of each circle, being careful not to overfill your cookies. Cover unused dough circles with a lightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out while you are filling.

To assemble the Hamantaschen cookies:

  • Fold the left side of the circle towards the center to make a flap that covers the left third of the circle.
  • Fold the right side of the circle towards the center, overlapping the upper part of the left side flap to create a triangular tip at the top of the circle. A small triangle of filling should still be visible in the center.
  • Fold the bottom of the circle upward to create a third flap and complete the triangle. When you fold this flap up, be sure to tuck the left side of this new flap underneath the left side of the triangle, while letting the right side of this new flap overlap the right side of the triangle. This way, each side of your triangle has one corner that folds over and one corner that folds under, creating a pinwheel effect. This method will help to keep the cookies from opening while they bake.
  • Pinch each corner of the triangle gently but firmly to secure the shape.

Repeat this process for the remaining circles.

When all of your Hamantaschen have been filled, place them on your prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced. Bake them at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the cookies are cooked through and lightly golden.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

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