Triangle-Shaped Cookies with Jam in the Center
Of all of my cookie recipes, this is probably my favorite one. This was a recipe that I developed when my daughter Randi was going to the wonderful Solomon Schechter Day School in Marlboro, New Jersey sometime around 1990. Randi brought home a typed sheet of recipes for the Jewish holiday of Purim on a piece of pink paper from school (I still have and treasure that pink piece of paper). I started experimenting with one of the recipes for hamantashen on the sheet. I made some changes, including adding a touch of orange juice to the recipe. I played with that recipe until it was perfect. Back in those years, I loved the tradition on the holiday of Purim of putting together Shalach Manos (gifts of food), and delivering them to a few of my friends and family. My gift platters always had some of my homemade chocolate chip cookies, some Hershey’s Kisses, and of course my homemade hamantaschen. My friends and family looked forward to receiving my homemade hamantaschen, but noone loved my hamantaschen more than Randi, Danny (my son), and, Nana (my mother). My youngest son Benji only ate the hamantascen if I put chocolate chips in the center. Every year as the holiday of Purim approaches, my children and my mother start asking me if I’m making my hamantaschen. I try never to disappoint them. Please, try this recipe. I know that if you do, you will agree that the flavor of these cookies is out of this world!
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pre-sifted flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) Fleischmann’s salted margarine at room temperature(if you keep your margarine in the freezer, just take it out, cut it into smallish pieces, and pulse it in processor, it will work just fine)
- 1 extra large egg at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup scant pure orange juice not use from concentrate (scant means a little less than)
- jam or preserves (I usually use a variety of flavors, but my favorites are raspberry, strawberry, peach, cherry, blueberry, or apricot)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either grease your cookie sheet with margarine or use a sheet of parchment paper. I like to grease the pan, because I like how they come out with the bottoms and edges being a little browned, but using the parchment paper makes the job much easier.
Combine the dry ingredients- the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl; set aside.
In bowl of food processor fitted with the metal blade (or alternately using a hand held mixer or a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream margarine with sugar- if your margarine is frozen, just pulse it first. Add the egg and vanilla, and pulse until blended. Add the orange juice and pulse until blended.
Add dry ingredients all at once. Pulse until a ball forms. If the dough is too wet, and it won’t form a ball, add a little more flour, 1 or 2 tablespoons. Dump the ball of dough out on a lightly floured board or table and flatten it slightly so that you can divide it into 3 sections. Form each section into a flattish round disk, around an inch or so high. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap or wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Take one disk out of refrigerator. I usually do this on a sheet of wax paper. Sprinkle some flour on the wax paper. Put the disk of dough on the wax paper. Turn the disk over. Sprinkle some more flour on the wax paper before you put the dough back down. The idea is to make sure that the dough will not stick to the paper or your board. Then roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using a round cookie or biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass (I use a glass that has a diameter of about 2 1/2 to 3 inches), press down to make your circles. Gather scraps and reroll them to make additional circles. Transfer the circles of dough using a metal spatula onto your prepared cookie sheet spaced about 2 inches apart. Put about a teaspoon of jam or preserves in the center of each circle. Then bring the sides up and squeeze together to make your triangle-shaped cookies. Pinch dough tightly enough so the seams are no longer visible and the sides are taught enought o prevent the cookies from leaking the filling as they bake. You will get about 1 dozen or so cookies out of the one third of the dough.
Bake about 25-30 minutes until the hamentaschen are browned around the edges. Let them cool a few minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack. Store them in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days.
Note: You can use one third of the dough, and then leave the remaining dough in the refrigerator for a few days, and make the rest of the hamentaschen later. Make sure you put your leftover dough which is already wrapped in plastic wrap or wax paper in a ziploc bag to keep it fresh.