Sunday, March 04, 2012

Hamentaschen recipe

 It's that time of year again, stores are chock full of garish costumes and face paint, DH is practicing his theatrical Megilla reading and every evening our peace is disturbed by teenagers throwing firecrackers in the park late at night. Purim must be coming!

Our multitudinous local bakeries have been selling hamentaschen since the day after Hannukah, and as with the Hannukah sufganiyot every year sees new attempts to out do the competition with unusual and bizarre hamentasch flavours.

Our family custom is to make our own, for the younger generation it is one of the highlights of the month of Adar, and just like  the bakeries, we seem to experiment with new fillings each Purim. One thing remains constant though, our basic hamentasch recipe.

I seem to have developed a reputation for being the go to person for wholewheat hamentaschen. "My" recipe is based on my mother-in-law's white flour recipe which I adapted for wholewheat, and just because I can't help tinkering with recipes. What I love about this recipe is that it is simple and kid, even toddler, friendly, so it's fun and easy to turn hamentaschen making into a family project.

Wholewheat hamentaschen dough

2 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of one orange (about 1/2 cup)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup demarara (light brown) sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup wholewheat flour + a little more

Choose a filling of your choice for example a jam of some sort (we like the whole fruit kind), brownie mixture, chocolate chips, dried fruits, dulce de leche, poppy seed, pie filling, English mince pie filling, halva spread, peanut butter, carob spread or even soft cheese with cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 180C or about 350F
1. Mix wet ingredients
2. Add dry ingredients and knead. (If the dough is sticky rather than smooth and easy to work with gradually add a little more flour to the mixture in handfull increments, until the dough has a smooth, non-sticky texture and is easy to shape.)
3. Take a pinch of dough. Roll into a ball and then flatten into a circle. You can take a small pinch to make mini-hamentashen or a largish pinch to make them big, whatever size works for you.
4. Fill with jam or other filling of your choice
5. Fold over the filling and pinch into a triangle shape
6. Do not grease pans
7. Bake at 350 F (about 180C) for around 15 minutes (check after 10)

NB If you're using wholewheat flour this will come out looking darker than with white flour.

a) Mix in some cocoa powder with the flour, even substitute as much as 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the dough.
b) Dilute the orange juice with liquor such as Baileys or other Irish cream, creme de menthe, rum, chocolate or coffee liquor.
c) Replace the vanilla extract with peppermint extract, works especially well with chocolate filling and with added cocoa powder in the dough.

Chocolate hamentasch filling

@250gr dark or bittersweet chocolate
3 tbl oil or softened butter
2/3 cup wholewheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp peppermint extract or vanilla extract
2 tsp coffee
3/4 sugar
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1. In a microwave proof bowl melt the chocolate, taking care that it doesn't burn. Try it in small increments, the exact time needed will vary according to different power microwaves.
2. Mix in all the rest of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips.
3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Fill hamentaschen (dough recipe above, I usually add cocoa powder to the dough). You will need to work fast as the filling will stiffen and harden as it cools.

Any left over filling can be used to make chocolate drop cookies, bake for about 10 minutes on 180C.

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