The Jewish holiday of Purim is just around the corner. Beginning at sundown on Wednesday, March 16, and ending on Thursday, March 17 at sundown, Purim is a fun and festive holiday observed with much revelry and celebration. Dating back to the Persian Empire of the 4th century b.c.e., Purim commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from Haman, an evil Persian official who sought their annihilation. The Jews were saved through the efforts of Mordechai and his adopted daughter, Queen Esther, one of the wives of Persian King Ahasuerus. To find out more about this joyful Jewish holiday check out: https://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/645309/jewish/What-Is-Purim.htm
One of the fun traditions of Purim is to bake and eat hamantaschen—which means “Haman’s pockets” in German. It is also believed that the triangular shaped pastries are reminiscent of the three cornered hat worn by Haman.
Traditional hamantaschen are made from a basic cookie dough that is filled with poppy seeds, fruits, or fruit preserves. Since I am not a fan of the poppy seed, fruit, or preserves fillings, I have come up with some filling variations of my own. I also have developed some variations for the basic hamantaschen dough.
My non-pareil hamantaschen recipe uses a basic hamantaschen dough which I adapted from a hamantaschen recipe in Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies.
Instead of the traditional fillings, I fill them with a non-dairy chocolate hazelnut spread and top them with non-pareils.
Sift together in a large mixing bowl the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. With a pastry blender, cut in the margarine, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat the egg, then add the egg, vanilla and coconut water to the mixture and stir together into all the ingredients are combined. Cut the dough in half, flatten into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour and up to several days.
When ready to bake the hamantaschen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line an insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove one of the discs from the fridge, and roll into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. I work with ½ disc at a time, since the dough becomes sticky very quickly. I place the dough on a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar to prevent sticking. I also sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar on my rolling pin. With a round cookie cutter of about 2 ½ or 3 inches, cut out circles from the rolled out dough. Place circles of dough on the prepared cookie sheet. Place ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the chocolate hazelnut spread on the center of each circle, then pull up the 3 sides of the dough to make a triangle and fold one side over the other around the center filling. Folding the sides over each other ensures that the cookie will stay closed and maintain the triangle shape.
Place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. As soon as you take them out of the oven, place a chocolate non pareil in the center of each hamentasch.
Makes about 3 dozen.