Since I married my husband, I’ve been trying my hand at all of his favorite Jewish meals and desserts. I’ve almost mastered Challah, I’ve got Matzah ball soup down pat, but I had yet to take on the family favorite: Hamantashen cookies.
With Purim coming this weekend, there was no time like the present. There was only one problem…my kids LOVE these cookies. We’re really trying to cut down on sugar without giving up our favorite treats and I know they’ll want to eat every single Hamantashen available.
Important side note: before starting your cookies, make sure your butter is softened. Oops. It was 13°F outside when I got started, so my butter wasn’t going to soften on its own. Luckily there are several ways you can quickly soften butter. I decided to cut mine into smaller pieces and warm it over a pot of hot water.
Working with dough has always been a trial for me. Some people fuss with blending, others with the baking. Me – I just don’t work well with floured surfaces. So, instead, I place my dough between two sheets of wax paper. No mess and no sticking.
You can make your Hamantashen any size you’d like. I’ve seen cookies the size of saucers and some small enough to eat in one bite. You can easily use a drinking glass if you don’t have a metal cutter. For mine, I used my son’s plastic juice cup. Anything available will work.
When filling your Hamantashen, make sure to use ONLY a teaspoon. If you over-fill your dough circles you’re going to have an overflow of sticky, burned fruit to deal with.
You can also add bits of nuts, poppy seeds or any other ingredient you like. For mine, I used sugar-free preserves in apricot and strawberry. I also added almond slivers. Once your flavor combo is complete, firmly pinch the circle into three corners, creating a triangle.
You can place them right into the oven or, if you’re having trouble keeping the shape, you can put them in the fridge for a few minutes before baking.
Lesson Learned: Your filling must be very thick. Unfortunately the strawberry jam was a little too juicy and every single one of my strawberry Hamantashen fell apart. Man, that’s ugly (but it still tasted awesome).
I was a little nervous when my husband tried one fresh from the oven. He took several bites (good sign!) and then said those magic words, “Wow…these are almost as good as my Nana’s”. Trust me when I say that is a wonderful compliment! When I told him they were also low sugar, he grabbed two more. Mission accomplished!
Apricot Hamantashen Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups butter (softened)
- 1 cup SPLENDA® Granulated Sugar Substitute
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 jar sugar-free preserves
- optional: sliced almonds or other nut
- Cream SPLENDA® Granulated Sugar Substitute with butter in a large bowl until smooth.
- Beat in eggs one at a time
- Stir in orange juice and vanilla
- Mix in baking powder
- Add flour slowly, stirring until the dough is ball form
- Cover and place in refrigerator for 2 hours
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease cookie sheet
- Roll out dough until it is 1/4 inch thick
- Cut circles from dough
- Place 1 teaspoon of fruit filling (and any additional ingredients) on each circle
- Pinch three corners of each circle, forming a triangle around filling
- Place on pan and bake for 10 – 12 minutes – don’t cook past light golden brown, best if removed before they are too dark
- Remove and cool on baking sheet before serving