So last week I was invited to host a hamantaschen making workshop in NYC, which was completely out of the blue, and which I sadly I had to decline because I live nowhere near and my schedule is a little crowded for travel at the moment…. Nonetheless I was reminded that I really wanted to make a new hamantaschen cookie recipe for the blog this year to perfect what I started last year. But wait, are you still with me here reading? If you are, you’ve obviously had a hamantaschen before. But I bet most haven’t and I’m guessing that at this point you’re thinking: a what making workshop? …and are trying to figure out how to pronounce the awkward name of this triangular cookie…
So let me fill you in here real quick. A hamantaschen or hamantash cookie is a triangular cookie traditionally made for the celebration of Purim. Something like a shortbread pocket filled with a sweet filling — usually apricot, or poppy seed, raspberry, etc. While we don’t celebrate Purim, I do love these little fellas and so does my husband… so last year I shared a recipe for some poppy seed filled ones. The poppy seed filling has always been my favorite, and the cookies turned out wonderful.
… But for some reason some of you have been struggling with the recipe, and also over the year I’ve been into simplifying the recipes more and more anyhow, and so these cookies were up on my list of things to remake into something easier… and tastier ;) And success: delicious batches of dairy-free, eggless, refined sugar-free, oil-free, gum-free, nut-free, (insert many more “-free”), gluten-free hamantaschen coming your way ?
This time around I opted to make some apricot-filled ones and share a few tips / tricks for success. If you prefer the poppy seed filling though, check out the other recipe which I’ve now updated to reflect the new and easier to work with dough. That poppy seed filling is just the best!
Before we dive in though… here are a few things you might want to know about making hamantaschen, and about this recipe in particular:
- Hamantaschen take practice to perfect; definitely not a recommended cookie to attempt for the first time for the purpose of impressing guests… That said it’s a most delicious learning process ;) that will likely take a few trial runs to master.
- There are some common #hamantaschenfail snags to be aware of… Let’s start with the corners — seal them well so they don’t open up on you as the cookie bakes. Also keep the filling to the center only, leaving the edges clear while filling to help those corners seal properly.
- The dough consistency is important. If it’s too dry, the cookies will crack as you assemble them. Make sure it’s pliable, stretchy, and soft, but that you can still easily roll it into a ball. After processing, take a small scoop into your hands and play around with it: roll into a ball, flatten, and try to carefully fold the dough — is it bendable? Good to go. Does it snap in half at the gentlest of folding? Return to the processor, add a bit more water and try again. The variance can happen here because different nut and seed butters (even different batches of the same variety) can have different consistencies, so that is where adjusting things by adding more or less water to the dough comes in. Extra tip: wet your hands slightly when handling the dough — makes it much easier to work with.
- Don’t be tempted to overfill those cookies. 1 tsp may not seem like much filling at first, but it’s just right.
- Patch up any minor cracks or tears before baking (just as you would with a pie crust, etc.).
I hope these little tips help. If you have questions about anything else, other issues you run into, etc. ask away in the comments. Otherwise, have fun exploring these little cookies and / or learning how to make something new :)
P.S. It’s pronouced: ham-maan-tah-shen ;)Print
A gluten-free and dairy-free version of the traditional triangular Hamantaschen cookie filled with sticky apricot jam.
- ¾ cup white rice flour
- 5 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract (optional; omit for nut-free)
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 13 tbsp sunflower seed butter
- ⅓ – ½ cup water, room temp (or warm)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place rice flour, maple syrup, vanilla, almond extract, salt and 5 tbsp sunflower seed butter into a food processor and process to combine. Add in another 5 tbsp sunflower seed butter and process again. Then add the remaining 3 tbsp and process (this helps the sun butter blend into the dough better than processing all at once). Add ⅓ cup water and process again. At this point you should have a very sticky, stretchy, pliable mixture, but one that can be lumped into a ball. If it seems a little dry still, add a bit more water and process again (I only used ⅓ cup of water with the sun butter for this recipe, but found other nut-butters required a slightly greater amount of water).
- Wet your hands a little and lump ½ of the dough into a ball, kneading it lightly. Flatten into a disk and place on a piece of parchment paper (if at this point the ball is cracked all around the edges, you’ll need to return it to the processor and add a bit more water and process again — that’s an indication the mixture is too dry. A bit of cracking is normal though). Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper and roll out into an ⅛” thickness. Cut out circles using a 2″ round cookie cutter (or a glass rim).
- Transfer the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheet. Place about 1 tsp apricot jam in the center of each circle. Then lift two edges of the circle up over the filling and pinch to seal a “corner”, then life the remaining side of the circle and pinch to seal the other 2 corners. Make sure you seal those corners well, as otherwise the cookies will open up as they bake. Touch up any cracks at this stage. 5. Repeat step 3 & 4 with the other half of the dough.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 13-15 mins (the longer they bake the crunchier they’ll be). Cool on a rack completely and enjoy!
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links to the St. Dalfour jam I recommend using in the recipe.