Posted by: kriscdub | December 24, 2010

Holiday Cookie Madness 2010 Part 3: Hamantaschen

Last year we make pineapple kolacky, or kipfels as my father calls them. Wrapping all that jam up in little pastries was exhausting, and until we started impaling them with toothpicks, they mostly just unfolded themselves in the oven anyway. So of course I decided that the best plan was to do it all over again this year in a different and more complicated shape. Hamantaschen are a Jewish cookie traditionally made for Purim, but since they’re basically hat-shaped kipfels, I decided to try them out. This recipe is similar to the one we used for the kolacky last year, but with the addition of orange zest, which really takes the dough to the next level. As an added bonus, hunching over folding these cookies for hours makes for a great ab workout! The sore abs were worth it though, because these cookies are tender like a great pie crust , lightly citrusy, and can be made with whatever jam or filling that makes your heart flutter.

On an extra exciting note, this is our 50th post!

The ingredients:

I forgot to include the jams in this picture. We used pineapple for dad, some homemade strawberry jam from a coworker of my mother’s, apple cinnamon, and cherry preserves. The orange gunk in the middle is orange zest, prepared using my mom’s Microplane ultimate citrus tool, to which Garrick responded that I was the ultimate citrus tool, to which I responded that he was just the ultimate tool.

Microplane: fun for the whole family.

Cream together the butter and cream cheese, then add sugar and beat for about another minute. Mom keeps blocks of cream cheese in the freezer, so they look a little weird and grainy when you defrost them, but they work just fine.

Add eggs, vanilla, salt, and orange zest,

then mix until combined. It looks a bit curdled, but will come together with the flour.

Add the flour and mix until the dough comes together. The dough will be a bit sticky, but if it is too sticky you can use a bit more flour. I used a bit more than the recipe called for and still used a lot of powdered sugar for rolling. Separate the dough into halves, form into discs, wrap separately in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour. Working with a small amount of dough at a time is helpful, as the dough gets very sticky as it warms up.

Very liberally sprinkle a pastry mat and rolling pin with powdered sugar. Roll out dough to no more than an 1/8th inch thick. Faintly seeing the lines of your pastry mat through the dough is not too thin. As you roll, feel free to sprinkle more powdered sugar if needed. I flipped the dough a few times to make sure that there was still enough powdered sugar underneath, since folding the pastry is much harder when it’s sticking to the mat. Use a 2 1/2″ or 3″ round cutter to cut a circle of dough.

Drop a half to scant teaspoon of jam or paste in the middle of the circle. Don’t be tempted to overfill the cookie, as the extra will just ooze out onto the cookie sheet and make the cookie more difficult to fold. That’s actually a bit much in the picture.

Fold the edges of the cookie in, one at a time, so they lie on top of the jam. Pinch the corners in flat, twist them a little, then form them back into the shape of a triangle. Whatever it takes to make them stick.

Place the cookies on a cookie sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350. Mine were relatively small and thin, which made them stick better, but also made them bake faster than the 20 minutes the original recipe called for. A thin metal spatula coated in a little powdered sugar can be helpful in getting the cookies off the mat, whether to move them or just to fold them.

These cookies puff a bit, but don’t spread, so you can place them relatively close together. They do leak on occasion, though, and that can get sticky. They can be removed to a wire rack as soon as they get out of the oven, so it’s easiest to get the extra jam off the cookie sheet while it’s still hot and liquid. Also note how hot the jam stuck to the cookie sheets is and realize that the jam in the cookies is just as hot. Warm cookies are delicious, but you can’t tell if you’ve scalded your tongue on hot jam.

I doubled the original recipe and made somewhere around 45 cookies.

Hamantaschen

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 sticks butter

6 oz. cream cheese

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon orange zest (about 1 orange)

2 3/4 cup flour (if the dough is too sticky, add up to 1/4 cup more, 1 tablespoon at a time)

Jams, jellies, and pastes such as pineapple, raspberry, and cherry

Cream together butter and cream cheese, then add sugar and beat for about another minute. Add eggs, vanilla, salt, and orange zest, mixing until combined. Add flour slowly and mix until dough comes together. Dough will be slightly sticky, but if it is too sticky, add up to an extra 1/4 cup a tablespoon at a time. Separate the dough into halves, form into discs, wrap separately in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour. Sprinkle a pastry mat liberally with powdered sugar and roll out to no more than 1/8th inch thick. Cut dough into circles using a 2 1/2″ or 3″ biscuit cutter. Drop a half to a scant teaspoon of jam in the center of each circle and fold into triangles, pinching and twisting each corner to keep closed while baking. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool on racks.

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