Monday, March 14, 2011


IMG_1105Can you believe that with all the craziness going on in my life, the Jewish calendar had the nerve to march on as usual? Oh wait, what's that?  We had a leap year this year and the Jewish calendar actually graciously gave us an entire extra month to get ready for Purim?  And I just now started getting ready?


Anyway, Purim is here, whether I'm ready or not.  As Jewish holidays go, Purim is probably the best one to celebrate amidst chaos.  Not only is "crazy fun chaos" kind of the general theme of the holiday - people dress up, run around like they're wild, eat too much, and drink themselves silly - but there are only FOUR mitzvot that Jews are commanded to fulfill, and they're all fun to boot:

1.  Hear the Book of Esther read aloud.
2.  Give gifts to one another ("mishloach manot" or "shlach manes")
3. Give gifts to the poor (matanot l'evyonim - my friend Mara is sponsoring an incredible blog challenge on this theme, go visit her!)
4. Have a big, huge, celebratory meal. (seudah)

It's pretty easy to run over to a synagogue to hear a reading of the book of Esther, to write a check to charity, and to have a nice dinner on Sunday.  I had the foresight to pack the kids' Superman pajamas in our suitcases, so they're covered for costumes. That means that the most complicated part of this whole thing is getting the shlach manes bags ready.

Of course, I could run to the store and buy snacks and tchotchkes to stuff in some bags, but really, the tradition is to include hamantaschen.  Hamantaschen are three-cornered cookies filled with fruit, chocolate, or poppyseeds.  The three corners are supposed to represent either the hat that Haman, the villain of the story, wore, OR, if we go by the Israeli word for the cookies, oznei Haman, his ears.  If you imagine a guy with ears that look like these cookies, it's pretty ridiculous, so I'd say the cookies do a pretty good job of achieving one of the main goals of Purim - totally humiliate and debase Haman.  Awesome.

Warning - these cookies are addictive. I mean, seriously, once you eat one of these things, you can't stop.

I hadn't baked hamantaschen since my college days, but I really wanted to do it this year for a few reasons, despite the moving craziness.  One is that this is the first year Asher's really into Purim and the preparation for it, and I want to take advantage of every second that he's excited about Jewish stuff.   Another is that even if you can find hamantaschen to buy in a store (which you can't in our little town here in Ohio) they are CRAZY expensive.  I'm talking $1 or so apiece.  Ouch.  The last reason is stress relief.  Duh.

I found a recipe for hamantaschen on that said it was someone's Polish Bubbe's.  I'm Polish, so I figured it might work like magic for me (maybe?  Please?)  With just a couple judicious alterations, it did.  Baruch Hashem, because these suckers are enough of a schvitz to make even when they go perfectly.

Before I tell you the recipe, I want to give a shoutout to my friend Rabbi Sommer over at Ima on the Bima.  Her hamantaschen tips were right on the money.

Here's what you'll need for about 3 dozen large-ish cookies:
3 eggs
1 c sugar
1/2 c margarine
4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp orange juice


Cream together eggs, sugar, and margarine until very light and smooth


Mix in the remainder of ingredients.  It will look kind of crumbly at first, but keep working it with your hands until it comes together:

Roll it out to about 1/8 inch and cut into circles with the rim of a drinking glass:

Now, do all your assembly and baking on parchment paper.  Trust me.  Just do it.  Brush the circles with egg whites and place filling in the center.  This will go best for you if you buy the cans of pastry filling in the baking aisle instead of trying to make do with jam, etc.  It is expensive, but a little goes a long way (I think one small can made around 2 dozen cookies):

Pinch the sides of the dough together to form a three-cornered shape:

Into the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.

You want them to be golden at the seams:

I plated mine six to a paper plate.  You can wrap the whole darn thing in saran wrap and stick in the freezer, then pull it right out for easy gifting.

Not all of them made it to the freezer.

A Freilich Purim to everyone from our home (in OHIO!) to yours!


  1. "I'm talking $1 or so apiece. Ouch. "- Your kidding they are that expensive in the USA too- I reviewed Oznei Haman from a local bakery, on my blog, and was shocked that they were 4 NIS each which is about $1.12 each but I thought that was just an Israeli craziness - unreal to hear its like that in the US too!

    yours look amazing and anyway there is nothing like home-baked!!!

  2. Oh gosh, the pictures of the children are adorable!!! And yes, they look very addictive!!! And the nerve of the calendar...time has no mercy does it? Good on you for pushing ahead Leigh Ann!

  3. Gonna be whipping up a batch of these lovelies either tonight or tomorrow! I can't wait!!

  4. sounds like my kinda celebration...and the cookies look right up my alley too. great pics! (and always adorable kiddos)

  5. Now that Halli and you have set the bar high... 1/2 a what of margarine? Cup? Tablespoon?

  6. ACK! Yes! Half a cup. (I actually used butter flavor Crisco....)

  7. thanks for the shout-out! i love your pictures and your hamantaschen - so beautiful with all the multiple colors/fillings...just wonderful. And of course, the beautiful noshers!!! :-)

    This sounds like a yummy recipe. I like my recipes that I usually use but I'm always game for trying a new one :-) Some day I might settle on just one.

    Glad you're back home! Happy Purim!!!!

  8. I can't believe that you are already cooking! You crazy, amazing woman! And how appropos since guess what my Recipe Exchange for tomorrow is all about??? Hamantashen! When you have a sec, come link up. Or I'll do it for your.

    I'm stalking your FB page. Hope all is well. Missing you even though I never saw you in KC!


  9. I remember they ate Hamantashen on the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer hosts a Jewish Singles' Night with George's dad. That's the only contribution I have to this topic.

  10. Just came across your blog on Kosher on a Budget and am so glad. What beautiful hamentash photos, especially the ones that show the assembly process. We tried Mara's sprinkle recipe and they came out so nice. We also love Nutella (very non-traditional, I know) in ours. Thanks for a great post and such lovely pix. So glad to meet you!

  11. A friend just pointed this recipe out to me on twitter and I wanted to say thank you. These sound great -- I'm going to try your recipe this year! Happy Purim to you and yours.

  12. Would like to contact you about featuring your Hamentashken recipe on our website. Is there a way I can reach you?


Thanks for your comments! They make my day.

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