Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

Comfort Food and an Untimely Batch of Hamantaschen

29 Comments

Comfort food. Isn’t that what we all need right now? There are no words that can possibly express my sorrow for those who are suffering the loss of the shootings in Colorado. It’s heart wrenching, gut wrenching and mind boggling. There’s no sense to make of it and makes us question so much. And it makes this helicopter mom want to hover and dictate her childrens’ lives that much more even though I know logically that does not work.

So instead, I usually bake or eat, or both.  What is comfort food for you? Is it something elaborate your grandmother used to cook that would stew for hours while you sat in her kitchen, or is it something as easy as a grilled cheese sandwich with the peel and stick Kraft slices you made in your dorm room with an iron and a flat surface? I guess comfort food depends on your culture, how you were raised and what truly soothes your soul.

For me, I think of potato pancakes. Nothing truly beats my mother’s hot stack of potato pancakes, freshly made apple sauce, a big slab of butter and a huge dollop of sour cream.

These Hamantaschen could very well have been my comfort food of choice if I had had any left this weekend. We actually made them last week on a whim when my daughter suggested choosing two cookbooks and randomly opening them to two different recipes. This Hamantaschen was the one we chose to make, and I am so glad we did.

These were packaged to be shared with my nieces during a trip to Little Tokyo. We are nothing if not multicultural around my house.

I grew up eating them now and then when my dad’s cousin would share a batch with us. They are a traditional triangular cookie served during Purim (for more information please see The Shiksa’s site). The texture is delicate and tender and the taste is sweet and, depending on the filling you choose, it can be fruity, a bit savory (poppy seeds) or even chocolaty.

It’s a fairly labor intensive cookie, and, mind you, that’s coming from a girl who thinks Rugelach is a snap to whip up. But it’s a very rewarding cookie to make. Hamantaschen tastes special and different and is totally worth it’s laborious creation. And for me, right now, it would be the perfect something or other to have lying around the kitchen when I need a bite of comfort. Maybe, I need to bake up another batch…

Hamantaschen

Hamantaschen Dough
Taken from The All-American Cookie Cookbook by Nancy Baggett
Makes approximately 36 cookies
3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 c. canola oil
3/4 c. sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
2 t. grated lemon zest
1 1/2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 t. Vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 T. water

Apricot Filling
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped dried apricots
1/3 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. clover or other mild honey
1/4 c. apricot jelly or orange marmalade
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. water

To make the dough: In a food processor, combine the flour through the baking soda. Pulse a few times until mixed together. Sprinkle the butter chunks over the flour mixture and pour the oil over the flour mixture. Pulse on/off until mixture comes together and looks like course meal.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the sugar, egg and egg white, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla until well blended.  Pour the liquid mixture over the flour mixture and process on/off pulses until it is evenly combined. Scrape down the sides when needed.

On a floured pastry board, bring the dough together and divide into three parts. Roll each third between two pieces of wax paper and roll out until 1/8 inch thick. Stack the three rolled parts on top of one another on a baking sheet (keeping the wax paper in between each layer of dough). Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer…depending on how long it takes you to make the filling. The filling needs to refrigerate for one hour as well.

While the cookie dough is refrigerating, make the filling: In a medium, heavy, nonreactive (ceramic coated works well) saucepan, stir together chopped dried apricots, raisins, honey, marmalade, cinnamon and 1/2 c. water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook, stirring every so often, until the dried fruit is soft and the water is almost absorbed…about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Let cool slightly and then put the mixture in a food processor and process until coarsely  pureed. Cover and refrigerate the filling for one hour.

When the filling and the dough are ready, take out one layer of the dough only and peel away the wax paper. Take out the filling as well. Line tw0 cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Using a 2.5-3 inch round cookie cutter, cut out the round circles from the dough. Place round circle on a clean plate or floured work area and put a teaspoon of filling in the center of the circle. Imagine your circle in three equal sections.

Fold one of the sections in as shown below, making the top of the fold aim towards the center, to help create a triangle later.

Fold the opposite side to form a point, making a wide base of the triangle at the bottom. Fold the bottom third up.

Pinch the corners of the triangle side ways, thumb to index finger (not up and down). The sides “squish” in. Place on a cookie sheet 1.5 inches apart from one another. Roll out the remaining portion of dough from this first sheet of dough and repeat. Once the entire sheet of dough is rolled and cut out, beat one egg with one T. of water.  Hold one cookie in your hand and brush the cookie with the egg wash. Place it back down on the sheet and take the next cookie. IF you brush them on the cookie sheet, you will end up with burnt egg smell from the overspill of the egg wash onto the parchment. Bake for 14 minutes and while those are baking, start on your second sheet of dough.

The cookies should be barely golden brown. If your oven cooks unevenly, turn the cookie sheet around half way through the baking time. Cool the cookies for about 5 minutes and then carefully transfer them to a cooling wrack until cool.

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29 thoughts on “Comfort Food and an Untimely Batch of Hamantaschen

  1. WOW! What a beautiful cookies… you are amazing dear Geni, Thank you, love, nia

  2. Geni, this cookies with the apricot filling…can you send some of these cookies to my way?
    Have a wonderful week my dear 🙂

  3. Hi Geni, these look gorgeous! And I love those little baggies.

  4. why oh why have i not had this before> Why oh why! It looks so good and rich and sweet and just delicious. Thanks for a great recipe!

  5. This looks like my new comfort food my friend, it looks stunning!
    The col

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  6. Such a uniquely-shaped cookie, perfect for a reservoir of filling — and what a filling! These look delicious, Geni.

  7. Oh, these look so very beautiful, Geni, and looks like it would just melt in your mouth! I’ll take sevev, please!
    And I LOVE the idea your daughter had about opening up the cookbooks! Will have to do that the next time I’m stumped for what to make (which could be within the week, actually.).
    Hugs and have a great Tuesday!!

  8. Stunning presentation. They each look like perfection. Great job!

  9. Hearing about the shootings made me want to hover over everyone I love also! And comfort food was definitely on the menu this weekend. I should have made some hamentaschen! These look great.

  10. These hamentaschen are simply irresistible. The apricot filling sounds amazing.

  11. Working with dough and fruit is always comforting! These labor intensive recipes are perfect for times when you just want to lose yourself in the kitchen. They look gorgeous and delicious too!

  12. The shootings in Colorado really do just break your heart. It’s so horrifying, and I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it all.

    These sound delcious though. Definitely a good distraction from the awfulness that goes on in the world.

  13. I’ll come tell you happy stories if I can have some of those….

  14. What tasty looking cookies!

  15. Those are cute little treats, I guess I would easily like them specially with those apricot fillings

  16. These look amazing and I hope they did the trick in taking the sting out of these crazy things that happen in the world.

  17. I hear to provide a bit of solace, Christian Bale went to visit with some of the victims but he could do so much more…

    these look fabulous! I don’t think I’ve ever tried them before and you’ve got me excited about it.

  18. Comfort foods are always the best – they bring you back to a special time and place. And I love the idea of randomly picking out two recipes to try! So fun!

  19. I love comfort food – anytime, all the time. I’m about to sit down with some now, but I wish I was sitting down with some of these. 🙂

  20. I love when people take care of each detail. Not only you’ve made an amazing comfort food, but the packaging is beautiful as well.

  21. How can you possibly make people crave something they have never seen before?
    These cookies are completely new to me and I have to say I am in love

  22. Spectacular little cookies! Reminiscent of mini pies that are all the rage, but great traditional recipes never go out of style. Family favorites are made over and over again, down through generations and across borders just because they are so scrumptious! An elegant post!

  23. Comfort food for me is rice and noodles! lol. These little cookies look AMAZING. I would very much love to lay my hands on them. hehe.. yummmyy…

  24. Geni, I love recipes from our past…well, your past as I didn’t have these but I’ve definitely seen them. I see how labor intensive they are but what a nice time to share with your daughter. You can hover all you want in the kitchen 🙂 Food of course means comfort to me as well. I couldn’t wait to make a batch of my mother’s sauce, having it simmer for hours on the stove and filling my new home with aromas from long ago. We all do need comfort these days, I so agree.

  25. Geni.. I love your hamantashan.. these would be lovely comfort food for me. I find food is always my go-to solution when I’m stressed and these would be welcome in my kitchen any day!! 😀
    ps.. I think your blog has changed.. or perhaps it’s the computer I’m typing on.. but it’s beautiful!! xx

  26. I love hamantashan but I have not been able to put my fingers on a good recipe.. but yours looks awesome:) I cannot wait to try it:) Thank you:)

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