Yesterday was the 100th day of school - although with all the snow days, I have to wonder if that is really an accurate count. I mean, did the school push off the hundredth day every time it snowed or was this all planned out during the summer? Who knows and frankly, it doesn't really matter. The point here is that one of my boys had to bring in 100 things to school in honor of the 100th day of school. And my husband, always noticing what the teachers do not write in their notes home, realized that the note did not specify 100 small items, just 100 items. And so with an evil glint in his eye, Josh went to check how many empty seltzer bottles we had in the recycling bin off the kitchen. And he was serious. Had it not been for the fact that we finally finally finally got one of the recycling days correct, my five year old would have been lugging many large garbage bags full of empty seltzer bottles to school. But instead, he took 100 Hershey kisses. So dear Primer morahs, if you're reading this, you're welcome. Just think, you could have had a classroom filled with seltzer bottles and not a prayer of finding a piece of oaktag large enough to glue them on to!
At this point, you may be asking what the point of this lovely anecdote is, and you would be right to ask. And so I will tell you. More than 100 Hershey kisses come in a bag, and so happily, there were about 26 kisses left in the house after everyone left for school. Some for me, some for the girls. And these kisses kept my two year old busy while I made the first batch of hamentaschen dough of the season.
There have been many years when I did not make hamentaschen. They are not that easy to make and I have failed time and again. I have pulled many trays out of the oven with high hopes, only to be let down when all the filling has once again fallen out of the pinched triangles of dough.
And then one Purim we tasted my friend Alissa's hamentaschen, and not only were they very very good, but they were very very pretty. And since then, we have been making Alissa's hamentaschen - and I am so happy to share this very easy to make recipe with you. She, and by extension, I, don't really know where the original recipe came from, so for everyone's sake, we will just call them Super Alissa's Hamentaschen.
Here we go:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons lemon juice*
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest*
Jar of jam
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the margarine into the bowl and using clean hands, mix the margarine into the dry ingredients until it all resembles a coarse flour. Add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and mix on medium speed until it is all incorporated into a dough. This should take between three and five minutes, using a Kitchen-Aid type mixer. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for about an hour, or you know, until you remember that you were in the middle of making hamentaschen.
After the dough is chilled, unwrap it and roll it out on a floured surface, such as your countertop. The rolled out dough should be about an 1/8 inch thick but since that is virtually impossible to eyeball, just make it not too thin and not too thick - you don't want the dough to rip when you shape it, but you also don't want to have half-baked-half-unbaked cookies if the dough is too thick. Got that? Good.
So once the dough is rolled out, use a round cookie cutter to cut out circles - I didn't have a cookie cutter handy so I used one of those colored plastic Ikea cups from the kids' department. It's probably a little less than 3 inches wide. I dipped it in flour and it worked just fine as a cookie cutter.
The original recipe calls for a 4 and 1/2 inch cookie cutter, which I think is huge - and says that the recipe will yield ten cookies. I used the slightly smaller circle and I got 2 dozen, maybe even a few more, out of the recipe.
Using a teaspoon, place between a half and 3/4 of a teaspoon full of jam or jelly (we used apricot cause that's what we had in the fridge) in the center of each circle.
Carefully fold the dough up into thirds, making a triangular shape. I realize that that sentence does not at all explain how to form a hamentasch, so I will illustrate it with these lovely pictures (apologies for the shadows, it's hard to shape them and take pictures at the same time...)
Place the hamentaschen on a greased cookie sheet or two and bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about 12-13 minutes. The hamentaschen should be just starting to brown around the edges. Being very careful, remove them to a cooling rack right away. If they cool on the hot cookie sheet, the bottoms of the hamentaschen will likely get soggy.
This batch of hamentaschen lasted for a week in an airtight container on the counter. These also freeze very well - and are delicious eaten straight from the freezer. Or so I am told, cause I would never do such a thing. Oh, who are we kidding? Yes I would.
*I did not have lemon juice in the house and I certainly did not have any lemon zest, so I skipped the zest altogether and used orange juice instead of lemon and they came out quite tasty.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)