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Monday, May 25, 2020
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As Purim slowly creeps up and everyone is thinking about their hamantaschen and how to change it up this year, I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes with you. Enjoy whichever one you choose to make for your families:

Red Velvet Hamentaschen

Ingredients

For cookies:

¾ cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 tbls. cocoa

1½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 stick butter, room temperature

½ tsp. vanilla

2 tsps. red food coloring

1 egg whisked, plus 1 for egg wash

2 tbls. orange juice

For filling:

1 8-ounce block cream cheese, at room temperature (you can use Tofutti)

2–3 cups powdered sugar

½ tsp. vanilla

1 cup melted chocolate chips with 1 tbls. of oil mixed in

To do:

First, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl: sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

Then, add wet ingredients (butter, vanilla, food coloring, 1 egg, and orange juice) to dry ingredients and mix with fingers. Use gloves if you are concerned about red hands! Combine and form dough into a ball.

Chill for 1–2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator. (The longer the better.) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°.

To make the filling, cream together cream cheese and vanilla in a mixer; add in powdered sugar until very thick and not sticky (between 2–3 cups depending on humidity).

Roll dough out to ⅛ inch thick and cut into circles with a 3-inch cookie cutter or wine glass.

Add 1 teaspoon of filling to the center of each circle and fold three sides, overlapping the sides to secure. Wash with egg wash and bake for 12–15 minutes until slightly brown on the bottom. Cool on a cooling rack.

To make drizzle, melt chocolate in a double boiler and drizzle over cookies with a spoon. Enjoy!

Sugar Cookie Hamantaschen Dough (to be filled with your choice)

1½ cups butter or margarine, softened

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

1½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

Cream together the butter/margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice, scraping sides occasionally. Reduce mixer speed to low and stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour or overnight. I am giving you my brownie filling but feel free to use your own favorite.

Brownie Filling

1 cup butter or margarine

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking powder

(egg white for forming hamantaschen)

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter/margarine in a medium-sized saucepan. Remove from flame and allow to cool slightly. Add in sugar, eggs, and vanilla and stir (by hand) until smooth. Stir in cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350° for 35–40 minutes. Keep in mind that since these brownies will be used as a filling, they do not have to be perfectly ready; in fact, it’s easier to fill the hamantaschen if they are slightly under-cooked.

To assemble: Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly flour your work surface. Roll out cookie dough to the same thickness as you would for sugar cookies, or slightly thicker. Be careful not to roll the dough out too thin or you will get holes in the hamantaschen as you fold it. Using a large glass, cut out circles from the dough. Using a cookie scoop or a melon baller, scoop out a ball of brownie. Place in the center of the circle. Smear some egg white around the edges of the circle, and fold the top two sides until they are touching. (Since the filling here is a relatively solid ball, as opposed to soft jelly filling, you are really just folding the sugar cookie over the top of the brownie ball to form a hamantashen shape—it’s not an actual pinch like a traditional hamantasch. Fold the bottom side up and pinch lightly.

Hamantasch Challah

Challah dough of your choice, egg white beaten, round foil pan, poppy seeds, whole egg for brushing at the end.

To do: It’s best to weigh three strands of dough the same weight and one piece of dough half that weight. Roll the smaller piece of dough into a ball. Dip that ball into the egg white and then into the poppy seeds. Place this into the center of a round pan that was sprayed with Pam or lined with parchment paper. Next you will take the three strands and shape them into a triangle on a flat surface. Transfer your triangle into the challah pan around the ball. Fold into a triangle shape and pinch the corners of the challah together at the seams to resemble a hamentasch. Brush with beaten egg. Make sure the pan is taller than the challah because the dough will rise. Proceed to bake as normal. Your family will love your special shape!!!!

Gail Hochman has been a Bergen County resident for over 30 years and has been blessed with many grandchildren.

By Gail Hochman

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