Happy Purim! These traditional hamantaschen will be the star of your celebration this Purim. They are truly irresistible.
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 that you can learn all about it here.
Traditional Hamantaschen Recipe
Anyway, back to the hamantaschen. So, this year, I went a little overboard with the hamantaschen. My family made 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 allows whatever filling you put in to shine. It also holds up well throughout the bake, which is key!
Now, the most important part of the cookie — at least in my opinion — is the jam. Our selection this year included quite the spread from Bonne Maman Jam. Popular choices include strawberry, apricot, chocolate, or poppy seed (also known as mun). I always like to switch it up and add some of my favorite jams into the mix, like fig and tropical peach-mango.
Hamantaschen is 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. Pro tip here: You are going to want to add in more. Less is better! Go with about a heaping tablespoon. If there isn't enough jam, you can always add more in at the end if you want to.
Why I Love This Traditional Hamantaschen Recipe
- Balanced Flavors - The dough isn't overly sweet and compliments the jam perfectly.
- Jam Galore - Choose your own adventure when it comes to the jam. The dough is great for any flavor.
- Seasonal Favorite - While this is a recipe specific for a holiday, these cookies are great any time of the year.
Ingredients Needed For Traditional Hamantaschen
See below for all the details on what you'll need to make the full recipe.
- All-purpose flour - The base of the dough for the cookies.
- Jam - Any jam flavor will be delicious in these cookies.
- Orange juice - A small amount of orange juice adds a nice flavor to the cookie dough.
- Oil - Allows a nice crumb to form in the dough.
- Sea salt - A small punch helps to balance out the flavors.
How To Make Traditional Hamantaschen
Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment. Set to the side.
- Make the cookie dough.
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. When fully mixed, add in the dry ingredients.
- Rest the dough.
Form the dough into a large ball, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap, and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Roll out the dough.
Take the dough out and let it thaw for 5 minutes. While the dough is thawing, preheat the oven to 375. Use a bench scraper or a knife to divide your dough into four equal sections. Keep the extra dough in the fridge so it doesn't dry out. Roll out your dough to about ⅛ inch thick on a floured surface.
- Form the cookies.
Use a 3-inch cookie cutter or the top of a glass if you don't have a cookie cutter. Then, fill the cookie with your jam or filling of choice. Use about 1 tablespoon of filling, but remember, less is more! Pinch the sides into a triangle and form a three-cornered cookie.
- Bake the cookies.
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.
Make Ahead and Storage
Hamantaschen are great cookies to make ahead and store for Purim. The cookies can be made 2-3 days in advance. Make the cookies as the recipe says, and when they are fully cooled, place them in an airtight container until you are ready to serve.
The cookies can also be made ahead of time and frozen in an airtight container. Any extra cookies can also be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Tips and Variations
- Careful Hands - 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.
- Freezer Friends - If the dough gets flimsy and the filling is sliding before it hits the oven, stick the cookie in the freezer for a few minutes to firm everything up.
- Dry Dough - If the dough looks dry, add a little water around the outside ring before forming the corners. It will help the corners stick together.
Hamantaschen is most similar to shortbread cookies. They can be made with oil or butter and filled with jam.
While hamantaschen can be filled with any flavor of jam, there are definitely flavors that are more popular than others. The most popular are raspberry, apricot, poppy seed, prune, and chocolate.
Hamentashen are eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim, which typically falls around March.
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- Jam or chocolate filling of choice
- Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set to the side.
- 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. The mixture should look a little shiny when fully mixed.
- Slowly add in the flour at a low speed. Once the flour starts to incorporate, turn the mixture on to a medium speed, and mix until fully combined, scrapping down the bowl as needed.
- Form the dough into a large ball and tightly wrap it in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill 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 and prepare your fillings. Use a bench scraper or a knife to divide the 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 ⅛ inch thick on a floured surface.
- Cut the dough into 3-inch circles using a cookie cutter. You can use any size here that you would like, but 3 inches tends to give you a good fold. (You can also use the top of a glass if you don't have a cookie cutter.)
- Fill the cookie with your jam or filling. Use about 1 tablespoon of filling. Then, pick one edge and pinch it into a triangle. Then, pick up the two remaining sides and pinch the dough into two triangles. The cookie should form into a three-cornered cookie. If the cookies look a little unstable place them in the freezer for about 10 minutes before placing them in the oven. Repeat the process with the 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.