Purim is coming and if you don't know what that means it's perfectly ok--I barely do and I should. Think of it as one big joyous celebration filled with songs, skits and of course, delicious treats, like these hamantaschen which are filled with raspberry preserves and dipped in and drizzled with chocolate. Purim's sounding pretty good now, no?
The basic story behind the holiday goes like this: many, many centuries ago an evil man named Haman (note the root of that word, all you SAT buffs out there) did some very bad things to the Jews of Persia and when the king found out (due to the clever machinations of his secretly Jewish wife, Esther) he had Haman killed and luckily we got one of the most delicious cookies out of it in the process!! Though they look kinda fancy, these are actually pretty simple. The dough is just an ordinary (but actually kinda extraordinary) sugar cookie dough--which by the way, should most probably be your go-to when rolled out sugar cookies are called for, so make a note. Once the cookies are cut out, a little spoonful of jam or preserves (or prune/apple butter or Nutella) is dolloped in the center. The trick is folding these suckers so that they A) look like a triangle and B) stay in that triangular shape whilst going through the onerous triangle-messing-up-baking process.
The trick is to keep calm and really pinch the edges well and follow the cardinal rule of not getting over zealous with your spoonful of filling. Less is more here. But if you're making them with the kiddies, don't stress out over it--these are supposed to be fun and honestly, they're going to taste amazing, perfect triangle-shape or not!
in any case, once you've filled and baked them, you can just leave them as is or get ridiculously indulgent like I did. Note the dipped in chocolate bottoms and drizzled chocolate tops!
Eye-catching and irresistibly delish! I used raspberry preserves because I completely ♥️ the raspberry/chocolate combination but you could use any flavor of jam you prefer or have on hand. We used blackberry, fig and even a little Nutella too!!
Every bite is filled with chewy sugar cookie, sweet/tart jam and just enough chocolate to make you swoon!
Even if you don't celebrate Purim, these are a not-to-miss treat!!
And as promised here's the daily kitchen update. Temporary walls up and ceiling knocked out. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have to walk out the front door and around to the back of the house to get to the laundry, which is fun in the dark. So many new experiences!!!
Raspberry Chocolate Hamantaschen
Depending on how large you make these, you can get anywhere from 24-36 cookies per batch
Prep Time for the dough: 10 minutes to prepare and several hours or up to 4 days to chill; Assembly and Baking: 15-20 minutes to roll out dough, shape and fill cookies--about 11-12 minutes to bake--then these need to cool and get dipped in chocolate and drizzled with chocolate and that needs to harden for at least 30-40 minutes.
For the cookie dough
- 4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Filling
- Raspberry preserves (or any kind of preserves or jam you like--apple and prune butter work well and so does Nutella)
For the Chocolate coating and drizzle
- 12 ounces chocolate chips, melted (or the equivalent of chopped chocolate--you don't need to be exact here)
1. To make the cookie dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt with a whisk and set aside.
2. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Lower the speed and add in the flour, mixing only until just incorporated. Gather the dough together in the bowl and knead it a few times to make it smooth. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, flatten them into discs, wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for several hours and up to 4 days.
3. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350º and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough and if it's very hard, set it out on the counter for a while to soften a bit so that you can work with it. If it's too cold, it will just crack. Lightly flour a board and rolling pin and unwrap one disc. Roll out the dough to about 1/8-1/4 inch thickness and use a 3 inch round cookie cutter or the mouth of a wide glass drinking cup (you can go smaller if you want to get more cookies out of the batch) and cut out as many circles as you can. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Gather together the remaining scraps and re-roll out the dough, cutting out more circles and transferring them to the baking sheets. Repeat with remaining discs of dough.
4. Place a small spoonful of the preserves (about a teaspoonful) in the center of each dough circle (too much and you will have a runny mess) and fold the cookies into triangles. The easiest way to do this is to fold one side in, then the other, leaving some of the center filling exposed and then fold the third side in, pinching the edges to make sure things stick together. Make sure the filled cookies are about 1/2-inch apart on the trays--they spread a little but not too much.
5. Bake the sheets for about 11-12 minutes, reversing top to bottom and front to back at the halfway point so that the cookies bake evenly. Cookies are done when pale golden brown at the edges. Remove and let cool for a few minutes on the trays on baking racks, then transfer to the racks to cool completely.
6. While cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate and transfer to a small bowl. Line baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper and set aside. When the cookies are completely cool, dunk the bottoms of the cookies in the melted chocolate and transfer to the prepared sheets. Dip a fork into the remaining melted chocolate in the bowl and drizzle the chocolate all over the tops of the cookies, a la Jackson Pollack. Let cookies sit on trays until chocolate has hardened, at least 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for several days
Note: Recipe for cookie dough adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich. The dunking and drizzling in chocolate was my idea (of course).