Perhaps it's ironic that this recipe for hamentaschen came from a Jewish Baking book I received as a Christmas gift. That being said, hamentaschen is a traditional Jewish treat made during the holiday of Purim when we remember the courage of Queen Esther who saved the Jewish people in the kingdom of Persia from persecution.
This was my first attempt at hamentaschen, so I enlisted the help of a good friend whom I knew would be able to show me how to properly fold the cookies into the perfect “hat” or “triangle.” And indeed he did, although I still need practice. His cookies were perfect whereas mine looked more like smiley faces. Regardless of the shape, they turned out delicious and everyone at work the next day enjoyed them as well.
Traditional hamentaschen fillings include poppy seed, apricot, and prune, but for this recipe we used raspberry, nutella, and apricot.
adapted from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 egg (for egg wash)
Extra sugar for dusting
In a bowl fit with an electric mixer or with a hand held mixer, mix together the shortening, butter, and sugar. Add the eggs and blend until smooth. Mix in the orange juice and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour, salt, and baking powder and then mix until the dough is firm but soft.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and mold into a medium disc. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into 2-4 smaller discs and work with one disc at a time. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/6 inch thickness. Use a 3 inch cookie cutter (or do what I did and use a wide rimmed glass) and cut as many rounds as you can. Transfer the rounds to the baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Fill with a heaping teaspoonful of filling and now the fun begins. Draw 3 sides together to form a triangle of sorts (it may help to first pinch together one point of the triangle and then fold up the other 2 sides).
Repeat this with the remaining dough and filling. Brush with additional egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar.
Bake for 18-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets.