SMiLes by Meg

Hamantaschen

These were really fun.

If you don’t know by now, I give up sweets for Lent every year. Which means I try to find people to bake for each week so that I won’t have the temptation around me. This year, Erik made it easy. He wanted to make hamantaschen for Purim so that we could send cookies to a long list of people, all over the country, that he stays in touch with. Sending cookies by mail far from Boston fits in well with my Lenten promise to not eat said cookies. A win-win all around.

Also, I’ve made hamantaschen before. With Erik. Way back during our first year of law school. And when he brought them up this year, and I realized I hadn’t posted them before, I was ecstatic. It’s not very often that I get to make a recipe more than once, and these are the kind of two-day project I like – lots of steps, impressive output, friends can come help. All good things.

Erik’s recipe for these was in Spanish. I give it to you in English below. He spent a year teaching in Spain before law school, and had made these cookies for people while he was there, meaning lots of people wanted the recipe. We translated it back into English for our own purposes. Should you want the Spanish version, you can 100% reach out to him and ask for it. It was kind of fun to test my Spanish and see if I could read a recipe. (Answer: I could read most of a recipe.)

First, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Erik’s hands feature prominently in this recipe. He spent most of his time doing the actual baking, while I spent most of my time taking pictures and posting to my Instagram story.

Side note: if you follow me on instagram (@smilesbymeg), you can now see behind the scenes footage of every recipe I make! Step-by-step-ish guides appear in my story. I’m still figuring it out, but definitely give me a follow if you enjoy food videos and watching people learn how to use new forms of social media.

Back to baking. On a mat (or your counter) make a volcano out of the dry ingredients. In the middle of the volcano, add two of the eggs, half of the sunflower oil, half of the sugar, half of the hot water, and half of the lemon zest. Use a fork to mix in the ingredients without breaking the walls of the volcano. Add the remaining halves of the eggs, sunflower oil, sugar, water, and lemon zest. Mix until a dough forms, kneading lightly until smooth. This dough is very wet – add flour liberally to get a sticky dough you’re comfortable with. When you’re there, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Chill in the refrigerator overnight. When you’re ready to make the cookies, cut dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll out each piece, and cut with a circle cookie cutter. Use your finger to paint an “x” onto each circle with the melted butter. Spoon in a little of your filling of choice (we used fig jam for some, quince paste for others). Fold dough into triangles, either by pinching seams together or folding them over each other. Make sure corners are tight.Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 12 to 14 minutes, or until edges are brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough, and store cookies in an airtight container.

These are a surprisingly impressive-looking cookie that also pack well for shipping, so if you have friends in need of a sweet surprise, I highly recommend them. Personally, I love the fig cookies, though Erik has decided he prefers the quince. Basically you can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

Hamantaschen

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 45 ml hot water
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • filling (fruit jam, preserves, paste, etc.)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. On a flat surface, make a volcano using the dry ingredients.
  3. In the middle of the volcano, add 2 eggs, half of the sunflower oil, half of the sugar, half of the water, and half of the lemon zest.
  4. Use a fork to mix into the sides of the volcano, being careful not to break them.
  5. Add the remaining eggs, sunflower oil, sugar, water, and lemon zest. Mix until dough comes together and knead briefly until smooth and slightly sticky.
  6. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and flatten into disk. Refrigerate overnight.
  7. When ready to bake, cut dough into three equal pieces. Roll out one piece of dough at a time on a floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough using a circle cookie cutter 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
  8. Using your finger, draw an “X” with the melted butter on each circle. Drop a dollop of filling in the middle. Fold in edges to make a triangle, making sure corners are well sealed.
  9. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 375°F for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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