March 10, 2015

Baking for Purim with the family is so satisfying!

Purim has always been one of my favorite Jewish holidays. Not only do I love the story and the message of Purim – you can keep trying to kill us, but we Jews are here to stay, but I love all the customs that go with it. As a kid, attending our school Purim carnival was the highlight of my year. The costumes, the excuse to have fun, rejoice and be proud to be a Jew. Now that I’m older and I’ve basically outgrown the dressing up and Purim carnivals, I look forward to the parties, drinking and of course, my favorite, hamantaschen.

For the past few years I’ve been making my own hamantaschen from scratch, including the fillings. And I’ve made it a family event, teaching my niece and nephews the recipe and techniques and making it a fun activity for everyone.  And it has paid off. When they hear Purim is coming up; their first question is, when can we make hamantaschen?  For me that is a small victory in the preservation of our culture. I’m happy that they have a strong association with this holiday, even if it seems like it’s just about dessert, it’s really so much more.

I’ve been really happy with the cookie dough-like recipe that I found. It was the first recipe I ever tried and it’s been a winner. This year, with the explosion of Purim on social media (especially Pinterest and Facebook), I started thinking about Hamantaschen earlier than usual. Everywhere I looked were the most amazing DIY mishloach manot baskets and creative sweet and savory hamentaschen recipes. As much as I would love to try them all, I work full time and just don’t have the time. Then I saw the article “Thanks but no thanks, Purim Pinterest” on Kveller, and even though I love baking and crafting, it definitely resonated with me.

So while I fully recognize that I’m only human and can’t do EVERYTHING I want to do, I decided to just try to add two new fillings to hamantaschen repertoire. The recipe that called out to me the most was for Tagalong hamantashen (probably because Girl Scout Cookie season just ended). So when I made my first batch of hamantashen last night, I set aside some dough and filled it with a peanut butter mixture and dipped the bottom in melted chocolate. And the result… DELICIOUS!

I generally make apricot and poppy seed filling. This year I also added a spiced pear filling (I have a thing for pears and it was delicious). So I ended up with 4 delicious hamentashen flavors.

"Tagalong" hamantaschen recipe:

Disclaimer: The recipe I linked to calls for a shortbread style cookie dough. I just used my regular cookie dough and it came out perfect.