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Monday, March 24, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     Hamantaschen are triangle shaped cookies typically made for Purim.  Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the salvation of the Jews in Persia about 400 years BC.  Some of the things you do to celebrate this holiday are reading the Book of Esther or the megillah (This is where the expression the ‘whole megillah’ comes from as this is a long story.); giving money or food to the poor and to whomever asks; sending food to a friend (preferably via a child or other person); and having a celebratory feast. Hamantaschen means ‘Haman’s pockets’.  Haman is the villain in the story of Esther. 
     There are many recipes for this cookie.  Some dough comes out soft, some crisp, some is made with yeast and is more like bread or pastry.  The dough is filled with many things, most typically with preserves of apricot, raspberry & prunes; poppy seeds; nuts and chocolate.  The dough in this recipe is soft and cookie-like.  For a filling I used apricot, raspberry and plum preserves & jams that I had on hand. Oddly enough, even though my motto is everything is better with chocolate, I like these best with fruit preserves.
     With the vegan version, the dough was softer and more difficult to work with and shape than with the butter and egg version.  Instead of rolling out the vegan dough I chilled it, scooped out portions, rolled it into a ball and flattened the ball with a flat bottomed cup.  I wrapped the cup bottom in plastic wrap to keep the dough from sticking to the cup. This worked nicely.  I also flattened the cookie dough into circles directly on the baking sheets to keep them from losing their shape while trying to transfer them.
     Some people prefer to make the triangle shape by pinching the corners together.  This never works well for me, the corners usually open during baking and the filling comes out.  So, I prefer to use the folding the dough over method and then I gently press the dough together at the corners.  This works much better, but some cookies will have jam breaking out no matter what.  Do not make the dough too thin, 1/4 inch or a little more is best to make intact cookies.
What it looks like when the filling comes out during baking.
I made the dough too thin.

     After shaping the cookies, be sure to chill them again for an hour before baking, so that they will hold their shape better.  Often with gluten free dough baking techniques and methods have to be adapted to make up for the differences in the dough textures. 

Makes about 3 dozen


1 1/2 cups Sorghum Flour
1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
1/4 cup Chickpea Flour
1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt (omit if using salted butter or margarine)
3/4 cup Unsalted Butter - or for Dairy Free or Vegan use Margarine
1/2 cup Sugar
1 large Egg - or for Vegan use 1/4 cup water
1 tsp. Grated Zest of a lemon or orange
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Few drops Water - if needed to hold the dough together

Preserves of choice, I used store bought apricot, plum and raspberry. You will need about 1-1 1/2 cups of filling.
What I used for the filling.  These are all sweetened only with fruit juice.

You can also make prune and other fruit from scratch, chocolate or poppy seed filling.

  1. In a small bowl add all the flours, xanthan gum and salt, if using.  Whisk together until well mixed. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a large bowl add the butter or margarine and sugar.  Cream together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg or water, zest of lemon or orange and the vanilla extract. Mix together until well incorporated.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix until the dough is well mixed and holds together.  If the mixture is too dry and will not hold together, add water a few drops at a time until it does. 
    Finished dough.
  5. Gather the dough into a flattened ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for several hours or overnight.
    Dough gathered into a flattened round and wrapped in plastic.
    Ready to go chill in the fridge.
  6. Prepare baking sheets by lining them with silpat mats or parchment paper.
  7. When chilled, remove the dough from the fridge. For vegan dough see direction #7.  Roll the dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap or lightly floured waxed paper.  The dough should be at least 1/4 inch thick and preferably slightly thicker.  Remove the top sheet of wrap.  Cut out 3” circles using a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass.  Re-roll scraps and use to form more cookies until all the dough is used.  Chill the cut shapes for 1/2 hour before trying to remove them from the wax paper or plastic.  If the dough is too soft it will not keep its shape and will break apart when you transfer the dough to the pan. When chilled move the circles of dough to a prepared baking sheet and space them so that the edges of the circles are just touching each other.
    Rolling dough out between two lightly floured sheets of waxed paper.
    Dough rolled out to ¼-inch thick.
    Removing the top sheet of wax paper before cutting out rounds with a glass rim.
    Dough rounds with excess dough removed ready to be chilled in
     the fridge before transferring them to a lined baking sheet. 
  8. For vegan dough, remove the chilled dough from the fridge.  Use a scoop that measures 1 1/2-inches and scoop out portions of dough.  Use your hands to roll the dough into balls.  Space the balls of dough out on the prepared baking sheets.  Leave 2-inches of space between the balls.  Wrap the bottom of a 3-inches wide round flat bottomed cup or glass with plastic wrap. Press the ball of dough down with the bottom of the cup or glass.  Each round should be at least 1/4-inch thick.
    Vegan dough scooped out and rolled into balls.
    Flat bottomed cup wrapped in plastic.
    Vegan dough pressed flat and filled with preserves,
    in the process of being formed into shapes.
  9. Put about 1/2 tsp. of preserves or filling of choice in the center of each dough circle.
    Dough with preserved in the center.
  10. Use an offset spatula to slide under one third of the edge of the circle and fold it over the filling.  Then fold the next third of the dough edge over and then the last one.  This will complete the triangle.

    Left to right - First third of cookie edge folded; second edge & finally the third.
  11. Gently press the corners of each triangle to seal the dough and keep the filling from oozing out.
  12. Place the raw cookies in the fridge again to chill the dough for about half and hour.  This will help the cookies to keep their shape and spread less while baking. 
  13. While the shaped cookies are chilling preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  14. Bake the cookies about 12-15 minutes or until they turn a golden pale color.
  15. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.  If you move the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven they will be too soft and will fall apart.
    Hamantaschen cooling on a rack.
  16. Store the cookies in wax paper lined tins or other containers of choice.  They will keep several days at room temperature (in the winter) if it is warm weather you might want to refrigerate the cookies after the first day or two. You can also wrap and freeze the baked cookies for later use.
Vegan Hamantaschen.  These spread more when baking.

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