How to Make Traditional Hamantaschen
These sweet treats were inspired by the evil leader Haman's three-cornered hat, a triangular symbol of hatred and anti-semitism that, circa the 16th Century, became a treat to indulge in while celebrating the downfall of the viscous villain. Others interpret the triangle to be Haman's ears, which were (back in Esther's day) traditionally amputated before an execution (Haman's fate). Others interpret the herstory differently, and believe the artistically shaped cookies actually celebrate Esther and her feminine powers as a heroine.
Whatever the cookies represent, they are certainly delicious. Traditionally filled with poppyseeds (a Solo can is my grandma's preferred filling), contemporary hamantaschen can be stuffed with anything from apricot preserves to homemade jams or chocolate chips—or wherever your imagination leads you. They can be savory, sweet, or somewhere in between.
Hamantashen invoke nostalgia, and many families have their own tweaks on the recipe to get it to their liking. Some like the cookie to be soft, while others like it crisp; some prefer a thin roll while others crave the cakey. Enter the Purim tradition of mishloach manot, when Jewish families share care packages with loved ones, often including hamantaschen, and no two are alike. Getting kids and friends involved in the cutting, folding, and baking of the dough is often the best part, and makes the rolling out of so many special cookies feel less tedious.
The below recipe originated at my Jewish preschool, evolved in my kosher dorm kitchen, and eventually found its way to my household in Brooklyn. The cookies are soft, thin, and have a bit of crunch, so you can eat at least a dozen at a time with your morning coffee. The recipe itself yields about five dozen hamantaschen, so there are plenty to share in quarantine care packages.