Monday, February 27, 2012

Ode to my bro...and hamantaschen on steroids

I always felt bad for my friends that didn't have big brothers. It's like they were missing a puzzle piece, and they couldn't understand what they were missing. Its a special relationship, and you really can't know what it's like unless you have one. My big brother went to high school out-of-state, and only came home for occasional weekends, so I am sure that helped to idolize him in my eyes. Not that he isn't awesome. 'Cuz he totally is...by default, as he is my older brother. (D'uh!) But that's not the point. He actually inspired my early baking career. He probably doesn't realize this, but who else looked the other way when he would walk by and casually swipe a huge chunk of cookie dough out of the bowl? (While whistling and looking all innocent.)
Who, I ask ya. Only an adoring younger sister, that's for sure! And who else would lovingly bake chocolate chip cookies and package each cookie individually for maximum freshness and ship them to her big brother?? Definitely a younger sister! (K, he went to an all boys school , so there might have been an ulterior motive there-as in maybe my future husband would eat my delicious cookies and we would have a romantic story from the get-go. It was love at first bite. Turns out Big D. was not there. Oh well. It's a good thing I still found him,even without the cookies!) So, now as an adult, I look back and think how nice life turned out that I got myself a pretty decent older brother. And speaking of decent older brothers....guess what he sent me? A camera upgrade! That's what! 
(Requisite new camera macro flower picture)

Its amazing to have a sibling that shares the same hobby- you always have someone to talk "shop" with. And both me and my brother (I know that grammar is not right, but honestly I have no clue how you word that sentence!) share a passion for photography, and its always interesting to see how we channel that differently. One thing that is definitely different is the quality, and that may be, but not for sure, (because he is super talented) because we have very different cameras. While I always feel like I am pushing my point and shoot camera to the absolute limit, (literally, it wheezes!) AM breezes by with his fancy DSLR camera. So one day a few weeks ago, while I was moaning and groaning to him about how lucky he is, he said "Hey, my old higher end point and shoot is just sitting around collecting dust-do you want to use it?" And I was like, "Really? Really? Are you serious?! Pllleeeeaassse." Because even though his camera is a point and shoot, its just a drop under a DSLR, and takes beautiful pictures. And just like that! He shipped it off to me and here we are. So AM- you rock. And if you were here, I would totally let you eat the dough. Or the cookies. Whatevs.




In other news, I got a recipe request! One of my first, but very exciting, since I am always up for a challenge. A reader e-mailed me and asked me to please post a recipe for hamantaschen with homemade fillings. Now, there is a slight problem with that. I really don't like hamantaschen. There's something so hamantaschey about them- you know what I mean? Granted, if I am in a car with three hyperactive, sugar crazed monkeys, and I skipped lunch so I am starving, and you stick a cellophane wrapped plate of hamantaschen under my nose, I probably would devour them. But I wouldn't enjoy them all that much. And I might eat a smashed cupcake first. Just sayin'. So this reader got me thinking- how can I post a hamantaschen recipe that I actually like? So basically, I did just that- I took my favorite sugar cookie recipe, and my favorite brownie recipe and they had a baby!



Then I felt a little bad, because she really did ask for a homemade filling recipe, and most normal people on this earth probably do not classify brownies as a normal hamantasch filling, so behold my next brainchild:



Wait for it....







Bet you are scratching your head saying, "Now why didn't I think of that?" 
Just a glimpse of my geniusness folks,just a glimpse. 
And my humility too, obviously.
And by the way, my anti-hamantasch self absolutely approved of these hamantaschen. They were actually a little too good for their own good...or my diet if ya know what I mean.
 Now, in case all of you are shaking your head saying " Can't we just get a regular hamantasch recipe? Please?" I shall be most gracious, and post my go-to hamantasch recipe. So let's get started, shall we?


Sugar Cookie Hamantasch Dough                                                  Adapted from Allrecipes.com
  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cream together the butter/margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice, scraping sides occasionally. Reduce mixer speed to low, and stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour (don't skip this step!) or overnight.

Brownie Filling
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


(egg white- for forming hamantaschen)

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter/margarine in a medium sized saucepan. Remove from flame and allow to cool slightly. Add in sugar, eggs and vanilla and stir (by hand) until smooth. Stir in cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Keep in mind that since these brownies will be used as a filling, they do not have to be perfectly ready- in fact, its easier to fill the hamantaschen if they are slightly under-cooked. 

To assemble: Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly flour your work surface. Roll out cookie dough to the same thickness as you would for sugar cookies, or slightly thicker. Be careful not to roll the dough out too thin- or you will get holes in the hamantasch as you fold it. Using a large glass, cut out circles from the dough. Using a cookie scoop or a melon baller, scoop out a ball of brownie. Place in the center of the circle, like this:
Smear some egg white around the edges of the circle, and fold the top two sides until they are touching.(Since the filling here is a relatively solid ball, as opposed to soft jelly filling, you are really just folding the sugar cookie over the top of the brownie ball to form a  hamantash shape- it's not an actual pinch like a traditional hamantasch.)  Fold the bottom side up and pinch lightly. Your finished hamantasch should look basically like this:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Arrange formed hamantaschen on the pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Drizzle cooled hamantaschen with Basic Chocolate Glaze. Makes 50 large hamantaschen.

And now for the Apple Pie Hamantaschen:

Prepare the sugar cookie dough above. (Each recipe of filling makes enough filling for one recipe of dough.)

Apple Pie Filling
2 apples, shredded (about 2 cups packed)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Combine all filling ingredients in a small bowl-mix well. Lightly flour your work surface. Roll dough out to the same thickness as sugar cookies, or slightly thicker. Place a very small spoonful of apple filling in the center of the circle. (If the hamantaschen are overfilled, they run the risk of popping open during baking.) Towards the end of the batch of hamantaschen, I found that the apples got very liquidy, so squeeze out any excess liquid before placing it on the circle. Smear some egg white around the edge. Press the top two edges tgether and pinch lightly, like this:
Arrange on a lined cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 400° for 15 minutes. For the glaze: Pour 1 1/2 cup powder sugar into a ziploc bag. Add 2 tablespoons milk or creamer and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Zip close and mix. The glaze will probably be thick- if it is, microwave on high for 15 seconds, and mix again. (You realize when I say mix, I mean squish, right?) Snip off a corner and drizzle over cooled hamantaschen.

And for those of you who held out this long, here is a traditional hamantasch dough:

Traditional Hamantasch Dough
This recipe makes a ridiculous amount of hamantaschen, so don't be shy to half the recipe.

6 eggs
1 1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract, optional
6 cups flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon salt

Cream sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in extracts. Reduce mixer speed to low; stir in flour, baking powder and salt. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour. Roll out dough and cut out circles with a glass. Fill with traditional hamantasch fillings (jelly, prune lekvar, poppy seed filling, chocolate spread etc.) Brush perimeter of circle with egg whites, and pinch ends close. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For a clear explanation on how to form hamantaschen, check out Miriam's, from Overtimecook.com at CookKosher. And for those of you who are wondering exactly what hamantaschen are...you can find an explanation here






32 comments:

  1. my hamentashen ALWAYS open! i'm going to have to try the eggwhite thing to see if they help them stay closed and perfect...

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  2. Wow, two kids with a passion for photography... hmmm, wonder where they got it from !

    By the way, the apple filling hamantaschen look heavenly! Then again, I do love anything with apple filling in it!

    Great photos!

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  3. True true! Although my father deserves a post all to himself :) One day...

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  4. So those individual wrapped freshly baked cookies weren't really for me after all? Hmmmmmm

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  5. They look beautiful, but I'm not buying it. I'm guessing that your recipe requester asked for homemade fillings because it's very hard to find store-bought fillings with a good hechsher. I've scoured my city in previous years.

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  6. Could be frum brands are hard to find, but most chain grocery stores carry a variety of jellies, jams and pie fillings with an O-U that taste delicious in hamantashen. I wonder if she wanted it because of additives?

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  7. Not true. I've been to like 5-6 grocery stores around here. Everyone sells Solo, which is chof k DE. The only brand I've found is Simon Fischer, which makes a prune and apricot filling. Even that, a lot of stores only carry the prune or apricot. The regular jams and jellies are not oven-proof, so they melt and leak in the oven. There are a couple other brands (Love n' Bake or something?) which are found in select stores in select states. Yeah, additives makes sense. Enjoy your "hamentashen"! :-P

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    1. you should check with your Rav, most people who don't eat cholov sta"m still eat DE just not together with meat.

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  8. Congrats on the camera! Which one is it? Btw high end SLRs are the best way to bridge to a real SLR- you'll learn tons!

    Thanks for the link. :)

    Not that it's a question or anything, but obviously I'll chose the brownie Hamantashen. I'll take a dozen, please. ;-)

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  9. What kind of filling are you looking for?

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  10. My kids told me they dont wanna make hamentashen with me cuz they dont like it. I was so disappointed! But oh well. Then I told them about the brownie hamentashen & you should have seen their faces light up! Looks like we will be making them this year after all.....

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  11. Not sure if this is good or bad Rivki? :) But enjoy- they are yummy- my kids were so upset that I gave them all away- although they each got one...

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  12. Love the brownie hamantaschen! So fun and original. Reminds me of those brownie bites - my husbands favorite.

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  13. oh my! I MUST try these this year,thanks for sharing, they look amazing.

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  14. LOL love this post and look forward to making these cool hamantashen! (I esp like the drizzle on top...)

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  15. i NEED the apple pie hamantaschen! any left? send some to monsey please!

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  16. These look amazing! Have you tried freezing the apple pie ones/do you think it would work?

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    1. Sorry for the delay, Anon- I havent tried freezing them, but I don't see why it shouldnt work. The glaze might not stay perfect but it should still be fine.

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  17. Just curious.. How come u baked the brownie batter first? Did u try it raw? Want to try these, and figured i'll ask if u tried it first since i want to 1. cut down the time factor and 2. i want to make sure the brownie part isn't dried out. Ur comments?

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    1. Anon-I haven't tried it raw, but I have a feeling that: A) brownie batter is too thin, and might leak out. B) 15 minutes is not enough time to bake the brownies.
      The brownie part does not get dried out at all- its very moist and fudgy. If you are worried, then you can underbake the brownies, but don't bake them for less than 22-25 minutes. I made these a few times already, and have not had any issues with the brownies being dry. Good luck!

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  18. I tried the classic hamentasch dough and it was quite good, thanks (although I like them a bit thin and crispier rather than crumbly - any tips? :) ) - I halved the recipe but still had to add a ton of flour to make it not sticky. Do you find that you have to add a lot of flour?

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    1. I did not make that recipe this year, so I can't say for sure, but I have made it many times in the past, and that sounds familiar that it would need more flour. If you like crispy hamantashen, then this might not be the recipe for you :)

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  19. I made this for last shabbos and they got rave reviews! Thanks again for a great recipe!

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  20. Anyone try the classic Hamentaschen dough with the brownie or apple pie filling? (these fillings look awesome, but my family actually likes the taste of hamentaschen dough) Would baking time be the same? Anything I would need to adjust? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Aliza-Don't see why not! You can use any fillings with the classic hamantasch dough.

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  21. i made the sugar cookie brownie hamentashen and they r incredible! they dont even compare to "regular" hamentashen. I want to try the apple pie ones i was just wondering do u think i can use canned apple pie filling instead of making my own? thnx

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    1. Hi Anon, thank you! You can definitely use any canned fruit filling with the sugar cookie hamantashen or the classic ones. Enjoy!

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  22. Hi, I'm in the middle of making these right now and I made the traditional hamentachen dough with the brownie filling. Think that will be okay?

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    Replies
    1. Sure, the cookie part might not be as sweet, but they will be fine.

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  23. Can I substitute oil for the cookie part ?

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    Replies
    1. I've never tried it before, but I would not recommend it. Cookies generally need margarine to keep their shape. Sorry!

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