All Recipes, Cookies

Traditional Hamantaschen

Happy Purim! Next Thursday starts the celebration of Purim and I think it’s safe I have already eaten my fair share of hamantaschen!

The Purim Story

If you’re new to hamantaschen, get ready to quickly fall in love. Hamantaschen are three-corner-shaped cookies made from a sweet dough. They are typically filled with something sweet, traditionally with poppy seeds, but more often something like jam, fruit, or chocolate. They represent Haman, the villain from the Purim story who wore a tri-cornered hat. Long story short, Haman wasn’t the biggest fan of the Jews, he wanted them out, and Queen Esther saved the day. There’s a cute YouTube video you can learn all about it here.

All About The Fillings

Anyway, back to the cookies. So, this year I definitely went a little overboard with the hamantaschen. My family wanted to make a batch to celebrate the holiday and I picked out Doire Greenspan’s hamantaschen recipe. She uses a sweet dough with an oil base and a touch of orange juice. The dough is subtle and really allows whatever filling you put in to shine. It also holds up well throughout the bake, which is key. The most important part (in my opinion, at least) is the jam. Our selection this year included quite the spread from Bonne Maman Jam. We went with fig, apricot, and a tropical peach-mango — which I am munching on as I write this out.

So, this is where things start to go a little overboard. I knew I wanted to save some of the dough and freeze it the next day to make more hamantaschen to mail out to my grandma. However, when I pulled out the dough the next day, it just wasn’t doing its thing. I was able to roll the majority of it out, but I didn’t like the way it looked, so I decided to make another batch from scratch. Since the dough was giving me trouble, I went with a Joan Nathan recipe from a holiday cookbook my mom has in her collection. The recipe is butter-based so I figured I wouldn’t have the same issues with the dough. Turns out the dough wasn’t the issue here, but rather what it was doing with the filling.

Hamantaschen Gone Wrong

Hamantaschen are known for being finicky when it comes to the filling. Too much and it spills out. Not enough and you are eating just a dry cookie. Well, for some reason on this batch it was a mix of the two. The filling was adequate and didn’t move, but the cookies didn’t want to stay closed. About half of them just had a mind of their own. I now had about 50 hamantaschen and half of them did not meet the standards of the three-cornered cookie! It’s a good thing they still taste good with an open side.

Some Hamantaschen tips

  • Don’t go crazy on the filling. You are going to want to add in more. Less is better, go with a heaping tablespoon. If there isn’t enough jam you can always add more in at the end if you want to.
  • Be gentle when forming the dough. Start with one corner and make sure that one is folded together tightly before moving on to the next.
  • If you think your filling might fall out, stick your dough (filling and all) in the freezer for about 10 minutes before it hits the oven ( I really should have listened to my own advice here).
  • Don’t go crazy with the flavors. Some things sound good on paper, but no. Stick with jams.
  • If the dough looks dry, add a little water around the outside ring before forming the corners. It will help them stick together.

Check out the recipe below and have a great Purim!

Traditional Hamantaschen

Recipe by Mago Gothelf Course: Dessert, Holiday Recipe, PurimCuisine: DessertDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time


Resting Time



Happy Purim! Fill these hamantaschen with a sweet jam! The recipe makes around 24 cookies.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • fillings of your choice


  • In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, oil, egg, juice, vanilla, and salt for about 2 minutes on medium speed. You want the mixture to look a little shiny and smooth when ready. Add in the flour all at once and slowly turn the mixture on so you don’t end up with a big flour cloud. Once the flour starts to incorporate, turn the mixture on to a medium speed, and mix until fully combined. Stop a few times to scrape down the bowl making sure everything is fully incorporated. Form the dough into a large ball and tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour in the refrigerator, take the dough out and let it thaw for 5 minutes. While the dough is thawing, preheat the oven to 375, prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper, and prepare your fillings. Use a bench scraper or a knife to use your dough into four equal sections. When not using the section, return the dough to the fridge so it doesn’t dry out. Roll out your dough to about 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface.
  • With the dough rolled out, get ready to cut out the circle. Use a 3 inch cookie cutter. You can use any size here that you would like, but 3 inch tends to give you a good fold. You can also use the top of a glass if you don’t have a cookie cutter. Then fill the cookie with your jam or filling. Use about 1 tbsp of filling, but remember less is more! Then pick one edge and pinch into a triangle. Then pick up the two remaining sides and pinch into two triangles. The cookie should form into a three cornered cookie. If the cookies look a little unstable place in the freezer for about 10 minutes before placing in the oven. Repeat the process with remaining dough.
  • Bake cookies in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. They should be golden brown on the edges when ready. Let cool completely before enjoying. They should last about a week in an airtight container. and will freeze for 2-3 months.

This recipe is adapted from Everyday Dorie.

Did you make this recipe?! Let me know and share it on Instagram. Tag @crispcrumble and use the hashtag #crispandcrumble. 


One Comment

  1. love all the tips! a good chef or baker can learnf rom their mistakes and pass on their corrections! Thanks!


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