Purim stresses me out every year. Years ago I made the perfect batch of hamantashen where almost all of them looked perfect – a perfect triangle that stayed put in the oven and didn’t flatten out like a pancake. Unfortunately I seemed to have misplaced the recipe – and every since then, I haven’t been able to find that same recipe to make the perfect hamantashen.
This year, I was on the quest once again. First I asked my neighbor for her recipe – and it didn’t have cream cheese, so I set it aside (mistake #1). For some reason I remember the recipe having cream cheese in them – so I searched the web for a hamantashen recipe with cream cheese. Surprisingly enough, I found one on one of my favorite blogs – Smitten Kitchen - although she seemed to be having the same problem as me – nice pancake cookies. Still – I am always up for a challenge – so I decided to use her recipe (mistake #2). I have t0 say, the dough was fabulous – nice and silky – and so easy to roll out. I put them into the oven with high hopes. But, after a few minutes, most of them started unraveling – and pretty soon almost all of them were flat as a board, with a clump of jam in the middle. I tried different methods of crimping them together – pinching, folding, even moistening the edges with water – nothing seemed to work.
I was able to salvage a few that seemed to stay together, but I have no idea what I did to those – and there were really just 3 out of the whole batch. So – next year I will be trying my neighbor’s recipe, and I will forget about the cream cheese. Still – they taste delicious – and isn’t that was this is really all about – taste?
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 1/3 cups plus 4 teaspoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Various jams (I used strawberry)
Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add sugar and mix for one minute longer, then egg, vanilla extract, orange zest and salt, mixing until combined. Finally, add the flour. The mixture should come together and be a tad sticky. If it feels too wet, add an additional tablespoon of flour.
Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
To form the hamantaschen, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter (3 inches is traditional, but very large; I used one that was 2 1/2 inches), cut the dough into circles. Spoon a teaspoon of you filling of choice in the center. Fold the dough in from three sides and firmly crimp the corners. Leave the filling mostly open in the center. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Cool on racks.
Yield: About 22 2-inch cookies
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