How to Make Hamantaschen

A traditional and delightful cookie


Traditional food can be disappointing when made by someone other than a family member. Hamantaschen, often prepared for the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Purim, can be one of those foods.

The cookies, which get their name from their triangular shape thought to represent the hat of Purim villain Haman, are stuffed with a sweet filling and enjoyed at bakeries across the world during this time of year. Traditionally filled with apricot, prune or poppy filling, there is some room for freedom when selecting your preserve of preference.

While the best filling choice can be seen as an international debate between those devouring these treats each year, the cookie itself is light, buttery and perfect for tea. The problem here comes in when finding a recipe that will satisfy your tradition-minded taste buds. 

Photo courtesy joshbousel via Flickr/CC
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After testing and tasting plenty of cookies, I've settled on this classic Hamantaschen recipe as my go-to. Hailing from a trusted friend with skills in Jewish baking, these will please any cookie lover and live up to all traditional ideas of what the triangular treats should be. 

Which is your favorite Hamantaschen filling? Are you an apricot fan or a poppy person?

Hamantaschen (Makes about 4 Dozen)

1 cup butter or unsalted margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
4 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 t vanilla
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T lemon juice
filling (prune, poppy, preserves, etc)

Cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla, baking powder, eggs, salt and lemon juice. Mix well. Add flour (may need more if sticky). Knead dough and chill a few hours or overnight if possible.

On lightly floured surface, roll dough and cut into 2 1/2- 3" circles. Place filling in center of circles. Bring edges together to form triangle and pinch seams together from top down to corners, leaving small opening in center.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes until lightly brown. 

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  • Snooth User: nbongo
    155462 154

    Actually my favorite filling is prune! Thanks for the recipe!

    Mar 05, 2012 at 1:12 PM

  • Snooth User: davidJk
    217287 0

    To me: biggest problem with traditional Humentaschen is most recipes (and delis) produce a "cookie" rather than the pastry that many of us were accustomed to. Not that the cookies are bad, but traditional dishes have more than taste to satisfy, there is texture, aroma, and of course the filling to satisfy the unfulfilled need to rekindle those nostalgic memories of years ago. And of course the addicting sweet poppy seed filling cannot be beat, even by the well done fruit "substitute".....ah yes, prune.
    Just a suggestion, but do you have the recipe for a sweet raised pastry dough rather than the cookie type? Thank you

    Mar 05, 2012 at 2:11 PM

  • Snooth User: jholth
    224174 2

    How much total filling is needed and how much for each cookie?

    Mar 05, 2012 at 5:18 PM

  • Creamy poppyseed filling with raisins

    3/4 cup poppyseeds (3½ ounces)
    1/2 cup whole milk
    3 tablespoons mild honey
    2 to 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
    1/4 cup raisins
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (from about 1 orange)
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1. Using a spice grinder, grind the poppyseeds into fine meal but not to a paste. This will need to be done in batches.
    2. In a small saucepan, combine the poppyseeds, milk, honey and 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir over low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the mixture is about as thick as peanut butter, about 10 minutes.
    3. Add the raisins and butter, and stir over low heat just until the butter is blended in. Remove from heat, stir in the orange zest and cinnamon. Taste, and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and more cinnamon if you like.
    4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate it until cold before using, at least 1 hour. This makes about 1 cup filling, enough for about 3 dozen hamantaschen.

    Source: LA Times Test Kitchen (their recipe does not include cinnamon).

    Mar 06, 2012 at 12:43 AM

  • Snooth User: Kate Statton
    Hand of Snooth
    853836 1,080

    david - yes, this is another big issue in the hamantaschen debate! I've always been a cookie hamantaschen girl, so can only loan my own recipe for that, but this yeasted recipe I found over on looks like it would be good too. check it out:

    jholth - a recipe like that given by sue is great for the filling, or you can use pre-packaged apricot/prune filling 12 oz cans from the baking aisle of any supermarket. I'd recommend using about half a tablespoon of filling for your cookies, depending on how big the cookie is and how stuffed you like it to be.

    Mar 06, 2012 at 1:26 PM

  • My favourite is cookie dough with the poppy seed filling. We will feast on this tomorrow...can't wait!

    Mar 06, 2012 at 10:56 PM

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