Never heard of hamantaschen? Well, they are a special triangular cookie served on Purim. More about that in a bit. However, since this is a single serving blog, I’ve made a small batch hamantaschen recipe, not a full one (even though the cookies are delicious, a full recipe is too much)!
I have adapted this from Tory Avey’s butter hamantaschen recipe. She has a non-dairy version too (but any excuse for butter is fine with me!) Back to Purim. Purim, like many Jewish holidays, commemorates when some evildoer tried to exterminate the Jewish people, but we survived. The running joke is, “they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” This often means particular foods that have a special association with the holiday (so latkes for Chanukah, matzo for Passover, and so on).
In this case, we eat triangular cookies. These are in the shape of Haman’s hat, or possibly his ears, or his pockets. The exact translation depends on where you are from and whether you are translating from Hebrew or Yiddish. Haman, by the way was the villain in the story. He may have been a villain, but the cookies are delicious.
Now, this recipe works in several steps. Yes, it’s a bit fiddly, but that’s why it’s a holiday treat! First you make the cookie dough and let it chill (so it’s easier to work with). Then, you cut the dough out into circles, and fill them with jam, or some other filling, and finally fold them into triangles and bake. The traditional flavors are apricot, raspberry, poppy seed, and sometimes chocolate. I’ve made mine with strawberry jam (because once I made all those cookies, I didn’t want to fuss with making a special filling too). Yet, another reason (besides not being able to eat a full recipe), why this is a small batch hamantaschen recipe!
Note: There are two methods for shaping the cookies. The first is to wet down the edges and then pinch the sides together. The second is to overlap the edges. I found I got the best results by combining the two methods: dampen the edge, then fold.
This is the pinch folded version (which is easier, but doesn’t hold shut as well):
Here’s what the overlap version looks like (step by step)
Small Batch Hamantaschen Recipe
Optional: if you like, you can use the remaining half an egg to glaze the cookies before baking them. This will give them a nice shine.
- 6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 C sugar
- 1/2 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/8 C flour
- pinch of salt
- 5-6 teaspoons water (in a ramekin or small bowl)
- 5-6 T (or about 18 tsp) jam or preserves (raspberry, strawberry, or apricot)
- Cut up the butter into small pieces and pour into a mixing bowl. Next, add the sugar and cream that together (you can use a hand mixer or a spoon, since this is a small batch).
- Add the half an egg and the vanilla. (To get half an egg, break the egg in half into a separate small bowl, then beat slightly. Pour half of the egg into the mixing bowl and save the rest for another use).
- Sift the flour and salt in a separate bowl and then add that to the egg mixture.
- Mix it again until it holds together and starts to form a dough.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and need it until it becomes smooth and all the lumps have been worked out.
- Add a little water if necessary (if the humidity is low and your dough is too dry). Or, if it's too damp, add a little extra flour.
- Once it's smooth and holds together, roll the dough into a ball and flatten it slightly.
- Then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least three hours (longer is better).
- Now, we're going to cheat here and use jam instead of making filling. I like strawberry, but you can use raspberry, or apricot or whatever jam you prefer.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Flour a cutting board, unwrap the dough, and place it on the floured surface. You'll want to work fairly quickly so that the dough doesn't get too warm.
- Flour a rolling pin, and roll out the dough, then flip it, and roll it out again. Keep going until it's very thin (about 1/8 of an inch). Add more flour to the board and/or the rolling pin to stop the dough from sticking.
- Then use a cookie cutter (about 3 inch diameter) or a drinking glass to cut out the cookies.
- Combine the extra bits and roll them out again to make more cookies. You should have about 17 or 18 in total.
- Add a teaspoon of the jam inside each circle. Don't overdo it or the cookies will split open. They will still taste good, though!
- Now make the triangles. Dip your finger into the water and run it over the edges of the circle. Fold over the left side of the circle about 1/3 across. Then do the same with the right side. You should still be able to see some of the filling. Now fold the bottom of the circle about a third of the way up. Slide the left side under the left flap and over the right flap. This will help keep the filling inside the cookie where it belongs.
- Once that's done, pinch the ends together. Repeat this process until you have used up all the dough.
- Set the cookies on a baking sheet with plenty of space between them.
- Bake 10-15 minutes (keep checking to make sure they don't burn).
Tools for Making Small Batch Hamantaschen
Helpful for getting the dough out of the bowl (since it’s crumbly) in order to knead it. If you are working in a small space, use the bench scraper to cut the dough in half before you roll it out. This will make it easier to manage. Use this for hamantaschen, challah, mini pies, or for transferring diced veggies from your cutting board to a pot.
J.K. Adams FRP-1 Maple French Rolling Pin
Hamantaschen dough is crumbly and thin, so you will get better results with a heavy-duty rolling pin. It’s easier to hold than the kind with handles, and does a much better job of rolling out the dough.
More Small Batch Dessert Recipes
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