Monday, February 22, 2010

The Best Hamantaschen in the World.

From my article, "The Art and Science of Hamantaschen," originally published on

My mom has generously given her daughters and daughters-in-law her best recipe for hamentashen, and we provide it to you here. But we have all made it our own by adding or deleting certain ingredients. For example, I add a teaspoon of cinnamon to my dough, while my sister-in-law replaces half the water in the recipe with lemon juice. We encourage you to develop your own flavors and tricks for this delicious treat, and we wish a fraylichen purim to all!


4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons milk/rice milk/water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup of your favorite filling


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Cream together margarine and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture with the mixer on low, alternating with water or rice milk.
5. Chill the dough for 1 hour to overnight, then roll out to 1/4 inch thickness, and using a water glass or round cookie cutter, cut into 2-inch rounds.
6. Fill each round with 1 heaping teaspoon of your favorite filling, and draw up sides for triangle.
7. Seal edges with cold water.
8. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes.

Below is a partial text of "The Art and Science of Hamantaschen":

Few, if any, of our fancy culinary arts textbooks at CKCA include recipes for hamentashen. On the one hand, hamentashen are sentimental little triangular trifles from the old country that are really only popular one day a year. On the other hand, who would be better to keep alive these special Purim treats than the folks at the only kosher culinary school in America? We've got plenty of Jewish grandmothers among us, and we have watched carefully as they rolled out delicious rounds to create the Jewish world's most perfect cookie. So, after much discussion and debate, we present to you our decree on hamentashen, and we think Mordechai and Queen Esther would be proud!

CKCA's decree is that hamentashen are a unique and special cookie, because, unlike rugelach or even babka, the best of the best simply cannot be found in professional bakeries. Instead, the most delectable and mouthwatering of these cookies are found coming out the ovens and perfuming the kitchens of Jewish homes throughout the world, during the few days preceding the Purim holiday, which will be celebrated this year on February 28, 2010.

We feel that bakeries never get hamentashen truly right because the recipes we have, which are overwhelmingly passed down from our European grandmothers, were meant to be made in small batches, with attention given toward the inclusion of fresh ingredients and good tasting fillings, all designed to deliver a delicate, soft, sweet cookie.

We will share an amazing recipe for hamentashen at the end of this article, but we also recognize that most people have a recipe from their own grandmother tucked away for this time of year. Therefore, we have found that the following five tips will provide our signature A to Z guidance when using any hamentashen recipe.

Prepare Hamentashen Dough in Small Batches

No matter how many dozens of hamentashen you make this year, it is important to prepare your dough in small batches to ensure good consistency. Otherwise, you run the risk of a chalky, heavy, hard pastry; the kind most often found in bakeries. It is key to mix your wet ingredients very well, and then add the dry ingredients alternatively with liquid, and to combine everything well. Don't overmix the final product! As soon as the dough comes together, the mixer should be turned off. We've discussed the same idea before in this column, that there are some recipes in which it is good to keep the mixer on to develop the strands of gluten in flour, but this is not one of those times! It is best to handle hamentashen dough as little as possible so that the dough keeps a light and airy consistency, not chalky, hard or chewy. The dough should also be chilled before you roll it out. This will make it less sticky and easier to manage, and it will ensure that each cookie rises and bakes evenly.

To read the rest of the article, click here!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your recipe. My hamentashen came out very soft this year. The only thing is, I had to bake them for about 18 minutes and even then, the ones that I baked on a disposable cookie sheet came out a bit chewy. Regardless, I'm very greatful for the recipe and I love your blog!