a plate of hamantaschen
Berry, peanut butter and tahini hamantashen. (Photo/Faith Kramer)

A hamantaschen hat trick: tahini, peanut butter, berries

Practice makes perfect when it comes to hamantaschen. That’s why I was so pleased to try Chabad of Marin’s wonderful recipe for the triangular cookies this year.

Every year, the center’s co-director, Guila Cukier-Rice, and her husband, Rabbi Yisrael Rice, the center’s executive director, and their congregants make hundreds of these cookies (named after the shape of villain Haman’s tri-cornered hat), an important part of Ashkenazi and American Purim celebrations and treat baskets (mishloach manot).

I’ve adapted their recipe below and also included a tahini-cocoa filling they use, along with a few fillings of my own.

For more information on Chabad of Marin’s Purim events, visit chabadofmarin.com.

The Rices’ Hamantaschen

Makes about 36 to 42 cookies

  • ½ cup vegetable shortening or solid coconut oil (see notes)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter or parve margarine, softened (see notes)
  • 1¼ cups sugar plus extra
  • 3 plus 1 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk or orange juice
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2½ tsp. baking powder
  • 4 cups flour plus extra
  • Fillings, see below

Use an electric mixer on medium-high to cream the shortening, butter and 1¼ cups sugar until mixture is in lentil-size pieces, about 2 to 3 minutes. (Using a flexible spatula to feed the mixture through the beaters helps.) Add 3 eggs. Mix on medium-high until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to medium. Beat in milk and vanilla until mixture is very smooth. Mix in salt and baking powder. Add 1 cup of flour. Mix until incorporated. Repeat with next 2 cups. Add last cup by quarters, only adding enough to make a firm, pliable, soft-but-not-sticky dough.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Shape into a flat disk. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. (At this point, dough can be wrapped airtight in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Let it come to room temperature before using.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Crack remaining egg into a small bowl. Beat with a fork to make egg wash.

Divide the dough into 3 flattened discs. Roll the first disc out on a lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Use a 3- to 3½-inch round cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Reroll scraps as needed. Repeat with remaining discs.

Lay rounds on prepared baking sheets. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat tops of rounds with egg wash. Place slightly more than 1 tsp. of filling (see below) in the center of round. Fold three sides of circle toward the filling in the center to form triangle. Press slightly to make sure seams are closed. Aim for the smallest possible opening (important to a hamantaschen’s structural integrity.) Brush tops and sides with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar (optional). Bake 18 to 25 minutes until light golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Stored airtight for up to 3 days.

Fillings: Use your favorite homemade or prepared fillings or try one of these, which I’m using this year:

Rices’ tahini-cocoa — In a small bowl, mix ½ cup tahini, ¼ cup cocoa, ¼ cup honey and 1 beaten large egg. If very loose, stir in additional cocoa. Refrigerate. Use cold.

Reese’s — This one is in honor of my granddaughter, Reese. For each cookie, use 1 miniature chocolate peanut butter cup (1 inch in diameter). Cut candy in half from top to bottom. Lay cut sides flat side by side in center of round.

Raspberry — Use chilled raspberry jam. Fill, shape, and bake. After 10 minutes, take out of oven. Press a fresh raspberry down lightly in middle of hamantaschen opening. Return to oven.

Notes: Triple-refined coconut oil has virtually no coconut taste, if that is a concern. If using salted margarine or butter, reduce amount  of salt to ¼ tsp.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].