The Jewish holiday of Purim is celebrated with drinking, dancing and lots of eating. You’ll need a tray of hamantaschen for your family, but think twice before you head to the grocery store for a package of these triangle-shaped cookies. Instead, your best bet is to try your hand at making them yourself.
To make the perfect, golden-delicious hamantaschen, ask your bubbe for her secret recipe, or use our guide below.
(Make sure you add some of Bubbe’s secret recipes to your Passover menu, too.)
What Are Hamantaschen?
The filled shortbread cookies are named after the villain in the story of Purim, Haman. He was the chief advisor to King Ahasuerus, and tried to destroy all the Jewish people in the kingdom. Fortunately, Esther, the Jewish queen, foiled his plot. Purim is a celebration of the salvation of Jewish people.
Hamantaschen are shaped to resemble Haman’s legendary three-cornered hat and are traditionally stuffed with poppy seeds, fruit preserves or chocolate.
Check out the story behind challah bread, too.
How Do You Say Hamantaschen?
It’s pronounced huh-min-tah-shun. The word “hamantaschen” is plural; if you want to refer to a single cookie, that would be a “hamantasch.”
When Should You Eat Hamantaschen?
Hamantaschen are a staple for Purim. Of all the Jewish holidays, Purim is definitely the most fun to celebrate!
How to Make Hamantaschen
The hamantaschen recipe below is inspired by our recipe for Apricot-Filled Triangles.
- 1 pound dried apricots (2-1/2 cups)
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar
For the dough:
- 2/3 cup shortening
- 3 tablespoons almond milk
- 1-1/3 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 4 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Editor’s Tip: You can use a traditional poppy seed filling for your hamantaschen, too. Look for it at a Jewish bakery or deli.
Step 1: Make the filling
In a small saucepan, cook apricots and water over low heat until the water is absorbed and apricots are soft. (It should take about 45 minutes or so.) Cool slightly; then transfer to a blender. Cover and process your fruit filling until it’s smooth. Add sugar; cover and process until blended. Set the filling aside.
Step 2: Make the dough
In a large saucepan over low heat, melt shortening with almond milk. Remove from the heat. Next, stir in the sugar. Add one egg at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in the lemon extract. Combine the dry ingredients; gradually add to the saucepan and mix well.
Cover the dough and refrigerate for 4 hours or until it’s easy to handle.
Step 3: Roll out the dough
Preheat your oven to400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3-in. round cookie cutter. Place 1 teaspoon of apricot filling in the center of each. Bring three edges together over the filling, overlapping slightly (a small portion of filling will show in the center); pinch edges gently.
Editor’s Tip: Be careful not to overfill your hamantaschen, or you’ll end up with blobs instead of triangles!
Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Step 4: Bake
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Your family will look forward to a batch of homemade hamantaschen for Purim. See what other Jewish foods everyone should learn how to cook.