I was all set to make Gluten Free Hamentaschen, when I found this in the recipe cabinet. If you’d like to make your Hamentaschen Gluten Free, you can substitute your favorite rolled sugar cookie for the dough or use a pie crust mix, with a little extra sugar.
For years now I’ve been meaning to try out my grandmother’s recipes & share the process. If Nani was alive today she’d be over 100 and I’m pretty sure she’d be perusing foodie blogs for new recipes. She might even have a pinboard or two on Pinterest.
She was a legendary baker and I’m so lucky to have all her handwritten recipes. So here’s to the first one: Hamentaschen. Warning: I’m going to share stories as I share the recipe.
Hamentaschen (Parve – means no dairy or meat)
4 cups Flour
3tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 c Sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Rind of one lemon or orange (I used orange)
Mix & sift dry ingredients and add eggs, oil and grated rind. Mix well. Knead until smooth. Roll out on floured board to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 4 inch rounds. Place a heaping tsp of filling in center of each & bring the edges together to form a triangle pinching together to close securely. Bake on a greased cookie sheet 375 degrees(note: I baked at 350 on convection) until browned 30 min (note: it was more like 25 for me) .
My grandmother included two traditional filling recipes which I will include at the end but I filled my hamentaschen with a mixture of Nutella and Silan (aka Date Syrup or Date Honey). I mixed 2 parts Nutella to one part Date Honey with magical effects!
Here are the photos of my process:
I made a well for the wet ingredients, and started to mix.
It was at this point that I realized, I probably needed to knead the dough by hand. It was extremely crumbly and I wondered if I might have forgotten something. My husband commented that I might have screwed up, or that my grandmother’s recipe might be wrong. Which totally annoyed me. And gave me the steam to knead harder.
I needed to knead this dough a LOT. Props to grandma. No wonder she never got fat from all that great baking. I broke a sweat. It was a genuine workout. It was also kind of amazing to literally watch it transform and come together. I didn’t think that crumbly mess could become a pliable dough and then bam! It happened. But not without effort. You are warned!
Once the dough looked like dough I rolled it out on my silicon baking mat (from Ikea, isn’t it cute?) with my great grandmother’s rolling pin. It might sound weird but I love the smell of this rolling pin. Like a century of baking that’s never gone bad.
I switched to a marble rolling pin shortly thereafter because I needed the extra muscle power but was glad the family pin got some action. I used a small metal bowl to cut out the rounds. Note to self: Need some big circular cookie cutters!
Them it was time to fill the cookies. I introduced the flavors I was about to marry. Nutella, meet Silan. She’s a date honey/syrup that is popular in the middle east and tastes a lot like caramel.
I mixed two parts Nutella to one part Silan. Here’s where some more culinary/chemical magic happened. Nutella is a little runny. Silan is very runny like honey. But when you briskly mix them together, they thicken up like very thick frosting, almost clay like. Not sticky. You can scoop up a bit and roll it into a ball like a truffle. Oh the possibilities!
I rolled a ball that was just a little bit larger than a marble for each Hamentaschen cookie.
To seal the cookies in their trademarked triangular shape (meant to represent the hat of Haman, the villain of the Purim story) I first dipped my finger in some water and ran it all around the edge of the circle, pressing the edge down a little as I worked the dough. I then folded the edges in and pinched the corners tight to prevent leaking.
The chocolate melted and puffed as it baked. The cookies rose and puffed as well. To finish off I sprinkled with powdered sugar and packaged to share with friends.
At the bottom of this post you’ll find the other recipes for the filling that my grandmother used. Prune and Mohn/Poppyseed fillings are the most traditional for Hamentaschen. You can also use a little jam or marmalade to fill. This is what I did for my daughter who is not a fan of chocolate. I’m not sure how that happened to her!
- 1lb prunes
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Grated rind of one lemon
Soak the prunes and cook until soft. Drain and remove any pits. Chop fine and add juice and rinds
Poppy Seed Filling (aka Mohn)
- 2 Cups Poppy Seeds
- 1 cup water or milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 egg well beaten
Grind poppy seeds in coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Combine with all ingredients except eggs. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and stir in eggs. Use to fill cookies.
Want to learn a little more about Hamentaschen, and the story/celebration of Purim?