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When we say "Purim," three-cornered cookies are one of the first things that come to mind. But where did they come from? Learn the history of hamantaschen, plus recipes both sweet and savory.

Purim has its own special cookie, called a hamantaschen, which has three corners just like Haman's hat. Together with your children, watch the Shalom Sesame videos to learn about Purim and the tradition of baking hamantaschen, then try some of the discussion ideas and activities recommended by Reform Jewish educators.

Chocolate Filled Hamantaschen

Temple Beth El Sisterhood, Madison, WI

Celebrate Purim with these delectable chocolate filled hamantaschen!

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
  1. Combine all dough ingredients and blend well to make cookie dough. Roll thinly on lightly floured board.
  2. Combine all filling ingredients except egg in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Blend in egg.
  3. Cut dough into circles and place one teaspoon of filling in each center. Pinch up sides to form 3-pointed hamantasch.
  4. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.



Congregation Beth Shalom Sisterhood, Arlington, TX

A favorite for our Purim Carnivals!

3/4 cup margarine, softened but not melted
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pie filling, such as prune, poppy seed, lemon, etc.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine and sugar together until fluffy. Add egg and beat well with mixer.
  2. Stir in orange juice and vanilla and blend.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Blend well. Refrigerate at least one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll cold dough on floured board and cut into 3 inch rounds with cookie cutters.
  6. Place one teaspoon of filling in center of each round, pinch side up to form triangle. Seal well.
  7. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets about 10-12 minutes.

Note: Keep dough refrigerated when not using. After cutting rounds, refrigerate before filling and pinching.

Chocolate Filling for Hamantaschen (Gluten-Free)

Tina Wasserman
3/4 stick of salted butter (If using unsalted add 1/4 teaspoon salt)
3 oz. (1/2 cup) chocolate chips + 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate OR 3.5 oz. bar of 78% cacao
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon rice flour
  1. Place butter and chocolate in a 1 1/2 quart glass mixing bowl and microwave on 80% for 45 seconds; if butter is not completely melted than heat on high for 15 more seconds. Stir contents of bowl until smooth. Chocolate often retains it shape when melted in the microwave, so don't leave it in too long or it will burn.
  1. Whisk the sugar and extracts (and salt only if using unsalted butter) into the chocolate mixture. Combine well to dissolve some of the sugar.
  1. Add eggs one at a time whisking well after each addition.
  1. Add the rice flour and whisk until a smooth, shiny mass is formed and pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  1. Place mixture in a sealed container and refrigerate until needed. Filling will become firm but not too firm to scoop into little mounds for filling hamantaschen.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Chocolate often retains it shape when melted, so don't leave over heat or it will burn.
  • If gluten is not a concern, and you don't have rice flour at home, 2 tablespoons flour is equivalent to1 tablespoon rice flour.
  • Additionally, if you use 1 tablespoon potato starch the filling could be used for Passover pastries!

Gluten-Free Hamantaschen Dough (Dairy)

Tina Wasserman

Celebrate Purim with delicious gluten-free hamantaschen.

1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 cups gluten-free flour (I prefer Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 or King Arthur's GF flour) plus 1/4 cup for kneading
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioner's sugar
Filling of your choice or homemade gluten-free chocolate filling
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.
  1. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, and beat until lighter in color and fluffy.
  1. Combine the 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Add to mixer bowl and mix on medium speed just until the dough starts to hold together.
  1. Very gently knead the dough, on a surface lightly floured with the additional ¼ cup flour, about ten strokes or until the dough is smooth and holds together. Cover with plastic wrap, flatten into a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  1. Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper that have been lightly dusted with confectioner's sugar. Roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thickness. Carefully remove one sheet of paper (you might have to scrape some of the dough off if it sticks) and then place dough side down on a board that is heavily covered with confectioner's sugar.
  1. Carefully remove the paper on top and, if necessary dust with additional confectioner's sugar and lightly roll to make the surface uniform in thickness (NOTE: this is only necessary if dough was very sticky and pulled apart when removing paper.)
  1. Cut the dough into 2 ½ inch circles.
  1. Transfer dough circle with a small spatula to an area on your board that has also been coated with confectioner's sugar. Coat your fingers as well. Place 1 scant teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle.
  1. Using your thumbs and forefingers shape the hamantaschen. Imagine the circle is a clock; place your two thumbs at 6 and your forefingers at 2 and 10. Gently bring your fingers together and you will have formed an equilateral triangle!
  1. Pinch the dough together so that the filling is exposed only at the top of the cookie.
  1. Bake hamantaschen in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden. Can be stored in a plastic bag or container when cool or freeze for later use.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Gluten is the protein that gives baked goods structure. Because there is no gluten in this recipe the dough relies only has eggs for structure and is harder to handle which is why there is a need for paper and a heavily coated work surface.
  • Confectioner's sugar contains 3% cornstarch which is gluten free. It creates a subtle glaze which better holds the dough together when rolling and baking.
  • Butter hardens better than margarine when the dough is chilled however, these hamantaschen can be made pareve if you want.

Cooking with Kids: Easy, No-Bake Hamantaschen

Hamantaschen doesn't have to be difficult to make! Here's a way to let kids make their own.

Soft, pliable whole wheat or white bread
Jam, soft butter, cheese spread, or peanut butter

Take soft, pliable slices of bread and use a large, round cookie cutter to cut out circles. Then, using a spoon or butter knife, fill the center with one or two of the above toppings. Pinch into a triangular, hamantaschen shape.

Cooking with Kids: Pizza Hamantaschen

Traditional hamantaschen recipes abound but have you ever tried a hamantaschen that is a meal in itself?

Refrigerated biscuits
Shredded cheese
Pizza sauce

Give children a biscuit placed on a piece of wax paper or a paper plate. Help each child flatten out the biscuit, still keeping the circle shape. Place a spoonful of pizza sauce in the center and then sprinkle on the cheese. Pinch the ends into a triangle shape like a hamantaschen and bake on a greased cookie sheet following the directions on the biscuit container.

Cool and enjoy!

Get involved with the megillah by making one, acting out the story with homemade puppets, and taking a whack at a villainous Haman piñata.


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