Every year I make these cookies. Always in March. Always to be shared with friends. When I was little I never liked Hamantashen. They were too dry or had too much cookie, not enough jam. But some years ago, for whatever reason, I started making them. The first year, I wasn't much of a baker and didn't realize my flour was bad until the cookies were all rolled out, shaped, baked and cooled. Yuk! I guess having flour around for so long is a testament to how little I baked.
As the years went by I just kept making them. For whatever reason, I've thought of it as my duty. Another year, I didn't have enough time to let the dough chill in the fridge, so they were too gooey. Then, after that, I let the dough chill for too long (three days!) and I could barely roll them out. Once I started really getting into baking, my Hamantashen started to reap the benefits. Last year my mistake turned into a great improvisation. I didn't have any vanilla, so added honey and cinnamon instead. Because the flavor was so complex and unique last year, I decided to use my alloted amount of vanilla this year, but also keep that honey and cinnamon innovation. These Hamentashen were definitely the best yet. Soft, sublte and complex.
I don't know why I started baking these every year and never stopped, but now it seems like a duty. So much so that I make sure in the summer to set aside a jar of jam for these cookies in March. This year I used two different types of homemade jam- strawberry and raspberry.
from Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Kitchen
(a cookbook that's been in my Mom's house for as long as I can remember)
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vailla
2 1/2-3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour (I used 2 1/2)
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
squeeze of honey
dash of cinnamon
1. Cream butter with sugar. Add egg and continue creaming until smooth.
2.Add the vanilla. Stir in sifted flour, baking powder, and salt until a ball of dough is formed. (I usd a stand mixer with paddle attachment, but a food processor or some strong arm muscle will work well too)
3. Chill for 2-3 hours or overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 375.
5. Taking 1/4 of the dough, roll out on a lightly floured board to a thicknedd of 1.8 inch. Cut into 2-inch circles. With your finger put water around the rim of the circle. Fill with 1 teaspoon homemade jam and fold into three-cornered cookies. (Press two sides together, and then fold the third side over and press the ends together.)
6. Bake on a well-greased cookie sheet 10-16 minutes, until the tops are golden.