Thursday, March 3, 2011

Transfat-Free and Delicious Hamantaschen

That title is not a Purim joke. Heart disease is rampant not just in the Jewish community with our schmaltz, margarine and non-dairy creamer diets, but all over the country. To stay healthy, we must work to bring healthy foods into our family diet, just as we work to bring money into our bank accounts. That is my general goal with this blog/cookbook.

Hamantaschen is one of the last vestiges of our old country recipes that have been most often made unaltered for several generations with Fleishman's unsalted magarine. It's reliable, it's delicious, it's pareve and most of all, the hamantaschen come out of the oven photo-ready. They're so lovely they even the most novice of bakers can be given as gifts to neighbors. And this is why it's so hard to try to make hamantaschen healthy. Because we know what they're supposed to look like.

That being said, as my dad prepares to hear the megillah for the second year since his heart transplant, I have been working to alter my mom's famous recipe for hamantaschen, to make it transfat free. My friend Rivka has also made it with whole wheat flour, which I am working toward but have not been able to do yet for cosmetic reasons. It's a common adage drummed into us by the chefs at CKCA, that we eat with our eyes, so whole wheat flour is not yet something I am able to build into hamantaschen, because it looks so much more rustic. But next year (if the Moshiach hasn't come yet), I promise I will make transfat-free whole grain hamantaschen. But don't let it stop you this year.

4 cup sifted all-purpose flour (or 2 cups AP flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour)
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup soy/canola margarine (I use, and recommend, Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks -- OU pareve and quite tasty even on toast)
1 ½ cup sugar
2 eggs (if you are watching cholesterol, 3 tbsp egg substitute plus 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce)
4 tsp rice milk or water
1 tsp cinnamon (optional!!)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of your favorite filling

Cream together margarine and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla. Separately, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture with the mixer on low, alternately with water or rice milk. Chill the dough for 1 hour to overnight. Chilling the dough is what is important in this recipe with Earth Balance margarine. A good stiff cookie dough will allow you to handle it easily, and touching the dough as little as humanly possibly, will keep the cookie light and delicate tasting.

Roll cookie dough out to ¼ inch thickness, and using a water glass or round cookie cutter, cut into 2'' rounds.
Fill with 1 heaping teaspoon of your favorite filling, and draw up sides for triangle. Seal edges with cold water. Bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes.


  1. I just discovered your blog and I love it. The hamantaschen look so pretty. I haven't tried making the dough with whole wheat flour but had good success with 100% sifted spelt flour, the texture was very good too.

  2. First time I made Hamantaschen at all and these and they came out amazing! I can't wait to try more of these recipes.