March 12, 2012

Pin It Strawberry, Fig and Chocolate Chip-Coconut-Honey Hamentashen, Oh my

Week 11

So this is not my first attempt at hamentashen, and really it can't be counted as a "new recipe" for me, but making them is quite the process so I figured I'd post about them anyway.

I made quite a successful batch last year using fig jam and raspberry rhubarb jam, with no exploding cookies. 
Last year's jam hamentashen
I cannot say the same for this year.
Exploded choco. chip, coconut & honey hamentashen
Hamentashen are made for the holiday of Purim, (more on Purim here). Generally, hamentashen are filled with a mixture of dried fruits and nuts, or jam.  I like the jam ones, one of my sisters Rachel, likes the fruit and nut ones, it's all about personal preference. These are the super important things that we ask our mom to keep track of to make sure she doesn't mistakenly send jam ones to the fruit and nut lovers or vice versa. We like to keep her on her toes.

Anyway, my mom normally sends me a batch, but I told her she could take a year off and that I would make my own this year.  My brother Daniel had tried something a little different this year, and used a mixture of mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut and honey (and he may have added nuts too, but I don't like nuts in mine).  It sounded to me like almond joy/mounds meets hamentashen, so I was all about it!

The dough recipe I use is my mother's, which she got from my great aunt, who believes she got it from my great-grandmother (my name sake). So needless to say, this is a time tested recipe that is still a success today.

The recipe is fairly simple, but the process is a little involved.  

To make the dough, see the recipe below. As a heads up, this makes a lot of dough...a lot.  Probably enough for about 4 dozen cookies. I made a note to myself to cut it in half next year.

For the dough:
Cream the following ingredients in a mixer:
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. shortening (Crisco)
2 eggs
5 T. orange juice  

In a separate container, mix together:
4 C. flour
4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the creamed mixture.

Chilled dough works best for the next part. Break off softball sized clumps, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick and cut using a 3 inch round cookie/biscuit cutter.
For the filling, you can really use whatever you want.  Like I mentioned earlier, jam or a dried fruit/nut mixture are traditional but you can try anything you like.  However,  I have found that some fillings work better than others.  For example, my "mounds mix" caused most of my cookies to explode, yet I had no issue with my jam ones. You can get creative with your fillings, but just keep in mind they may not all be pretty in the end. It's best to try out a few at a time so you have an idea of the outcome.  Or, you can bake a dozen at a time and have a ton that you have to eat yourself because they are "too ugly" to give to others (what I ended up doing). 

My mom uses this filling:
2 C. cut up dried apricots
1 C. chopped walnuts or pecans
1 C. golden raisins
1/4 C. honey
2 T. orange juice
1 T. vegetable oil
1 C. dried apples, cut in small pieces
1 C. dried date pieces

For my first filling, I used:
2/3 C. mini chocolate chips
2/3 C. shredded coconut
~2 T honey
You'll want to use a knife or spatula to lift the dough circle off your board and assemble the cookie in your hand. Spoon a small amount of your filling to the center of your circle and pinch two of the edges of the circle together to form a point, then pinch the other sides together to form a triangle.  If you don't press the edges firmly together, it will come apart while baking (or explode, as my nephew Oliver describes it).  


You can also get creative with your shapes if you want, and can make square hamentashen! (This idea came courtesy of my niece Chloe [via Oliver], although this does defeat the name a little, as Hamen had a triangle hat).

After you have filled and formed your dough into triangle pouches, place them on lightly greased cookie sheet, and brush the dough with a thin egg wash before baking. Bake at 375F for 12-16 minutes.  You want them to just start turning golden in some spots.  That way, they turn out to be soft, moist (thanks to the OJ), cakey cookies. If you overcook them, they get crunchy and hard and get thrown in the compost :(
This was my first batch. As you can see, they didn't turn out so well :( I cooked them for 16 minutes which was too long, plus I guess I didn't pinch their edges together enough.

But I tried again, and pressed their sides together more firmly and got some of these!
Toasted coconut and metly chocolate =good
I also made some that were filled with strawberry jam and TJ's fig butter.
Fig and strawberry jam hamentashen
Assorted stacks: two different kinds of strawberry jam, "mounds" and fig butter


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