Are they still Hamantashen even if they’re not triangular?

Clockwise, from top middle: Sweet potato marshmallow, Smores, Apple peanut butter, Coconut, Lemon apricot, Pumpkin pie, Lemon raspberry, Bananas foster

Spoiler alert: This post calls out certain myths about the origins of Hamantashen. Do not show to children under 8.

Recipe inspired by: http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2012/03/dairy-free-hamantaschen/

Recipe made by: Robbie Shorr, Miranda Kalish

Oh, Hamantashen. Everybody’s favorite inherently stale holiday treat. In all seriousness though, I really do like Hamantashen. However, I’ve always had two problems with them:

1. The filling to crust ratio is always way too low.

2. The flavors are never exciting. I mean, what other dessert has a poppyseed variety?!

I strongly believed that these problems were not inherent in Hamantashen, rather that they were just the result of tradition. With regards to the flavors, I was right. Miranda and I made some pretty wild flavors, purely out of a desire to get outside the box. However, I learned the hard way that there is a good reason for the low filling to dough ratio in Hamantashen. This new understanding I have is best explained by pictures:

As you can see, each of these Hamantashen gets less and less triangular. Now, most of the Hamantashen came out like the middle four images, and not the two extremes on the top left and bottom right. However, it was clear that the Hamantashen we made with more filling and thinner dough ended up being less triangular. This is because of the competing reactions going on inside each and every Hamantashen: The three pinched corners of dough are binding together through baking, and at the same time the filling is bubbling and expanding. If the latter happens first… Boom! The Hamantashen explodes. So, there really is a legitimate reason for the notoriously low filling to dough ratio in Hamantashen.

That being said, who really cares how triangular the Hamantashen are anyway? In reality, these cookies probably have little to do with Haman’s supposedly triangular hat. So, even though not all of our Hamantashen looked pretty, we still ended up with some great cookies filled with truly exciting flavors.

Ingredients:

(Makes approximately 60 Hamantashen)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Anything you want for special dough or filling!

Directions:

  1. Grease some baking sheets and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, canola oil, and vanilla. IMG_1889.JPG
  3. Add the baking powder and salt.
  4. Fold in the flour slowly in portions, until the dough is sticky and just barely crumbly. IMG_1890.JPG
  5. At this point, if there’s anything you’re planning on incorporating into the dough itself, separate some dough and make those special doughs.
  6. Flour a large, flat surface and a rolling pin.
  7. Roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thick.                                   IMG_1893.JPG
  8. Flour something circular in your kitchen (We used drinking glasses), and use it to cut the dough out into circles. Gather the scraps of the dough together, roll them out, and separate them into circles until no dough remains.                                    IMG_1895
  9. Fill away! Here’s a chart of the flavors Miranda and I made. Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 12.27.55.png
  10. Fold the Hamantashen. Bring two sides of the dough circle together til they meet at the top, and then bring the bottom side to the newly formed left and right corners. Pinch the sides!                                                                                                                 IMG_1896.JPG
  11. Bake at 350°F for 17-22 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.

IMG_1911

Why this recipe is good for college students: This dough is super simple and only calls for basic baking ingredients. After that, all of the flavorings are up to you. The dough is like a blank slate which can be customized through both add-ins and filling. This is a great feature for college students making this recipe for a bunch of friends with a bunch of different tastes, but without enough time to painstakingly make a bunch of different types of dough separately.

Why this recipe is good for those who keep Kosher: The dough recipe is parve, and pretty much anything you would think of using as an add-in or a filling is parve too. And since Hamantashen are inherently stale already, making them parve can’t make them any worse.

What I would do differently if I made this recipe again

  • As discussed above, I would make sure not to put too much filling in the dough circles, and to really make sure each Hamantashen was folded well, in the hope of actually making some triangles.
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One thought on “Are they still Hamantashen even if they’re not triangular?

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