A Purim party is incomplete without Purim cookies also called Hamantaschen or Oznei Haman cookies, which are an absolute addiction. This simple, easy and effortless recipe for festive Purim cookies, are filled with naturally sweet delicious dates and pecans. Then, folded in a shortbread cookie dough to get a traditional triangle shape before being baked until they are lightly golden on the edges.
The festival of Purim is almost here. So, you can imagine how excited the kids are. Usually, festivals are all about family. And yet with Purim, the kids are all about costumes, parades, and gift baskets. In addition, these Purim cookies are everywhere in plenty.
Yes, it is all about the costumes. This year, Aadi plans to dress like a scary clown and Rhea wants to be an Indian princess. She actually has a pretty new Indian dress my sister sent her. So, she's just using Purim as an excuse to wear it. While Aadi has spent hours browsing costume shops with a friend since they plan to wear the same outfits. Finally, they found what they were looking for.
I'm not a big sport when it comes to dressing up in costumes. So, usually when the kids ask me what I am going to be this Purim - I always say I'm going to be a mama - nothing else. I know I'm so boring!! This year, however, Aadi has been nagging me to wear a costume. So, I got myself a Maleficient hairband and plan to wear all black. That should do it - what do you think?
The Purim cookies
Over the years, Purim cookies have evolved from being just filled with traditional poppy seeds to unlimited new modern variations, including chocolate, Nutella, apricot and other fruit fillings. I love making these, and yet, not necessarily with traditional fillings. These dates and pecans are Ziv's favorite filling and I make them every single year along with some Strawberry Hamantaschen cookies, which are Rhea's favorite. Mine is the Apple Pie Hamantaschen and Pecan Pie Hamantaschen.
I have also previously shared another Purim cookie recipe with you. While this is quite similar in shape and technique, the cookie dough is different. You know I love to experiment and make new recipes all the time. So, these are quite similar to shortbread cookies, with that melt in the mouth sensation, unlike the traditional butter cookie dough.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Dates - I love using Medjool dates. They are naturally sweet and are also soft and can be mashed beautifully into a filling.
- Nuts - This is optional and can be omitted if you want to keep them nut-free. Personally, I like the combination of dates with either pecans or walnuts. And yet, almonds and pistachios work too!
- Butter - I always use unsalted butter because I like to control the amount of salt. And yet, if salted butter is all you have, go ahead and use it. Just omit salt from the recipe.
As I explained about butter in my Tip Thursday - how butter affects cookie baking - use room temperature, not soften butter for better results.
- Sugar - I highly recommend you use fine grain sugar to shorten the creaming time. Always cream the butter and sugar well. And fine grain sugar works best.
- Cornstarch - Also called cornflour, makes the cookie dough crisper and gives it that crumbly texture we love in cookies.
- Eggs - I use large eggs about 65 to 70 grams each.
- Extract - Orange is quite traditionally used in Purim cookies. And yet, if you don't have some go ahead and omit the orange. Vanilla always works like a charm.
Step by step instructions
Make the filling
- Remove the pits from the dates and roughly chop them.
- Place them in a saucepan with orange juice, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
- Cook on low until the dates are soft enough to be mashed with a fork (3 minutes).
- Once all the dates are mashed completely, add the chopped nuts and stir well to combine.
- Let cool completely before you fill the cookies.
Making the dough
- Sift and combine together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
- Cream butter, sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla or orange extract.
- Next, add egg and egg yolk, one at a time.
- Add flour and orange juice.
- This is a soft dough.
- Divide the dough into two.
- Form each into a flat disc.
- Wrap in cling/plastic wrap.
Chill dough /roll cookies
- Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll.
- Roll the dough using as little flour as possible.
- Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter cut as many discs as you can.
- Place the circles on a baking tray.
- If the dough has softened place in the fridge to chill again.
Add filling and fold (see video below)
- Place a small teaspoon of filling in the center of the disc.
- Dampen the disc edges very lightly with water or egg white ( very lightly - just to secure them).
- Overlap one side edge over the other.
- Then, overlap the second over the third.
- And lastly, the third overlaps the first.
Chill cookies and bake
- Preheat the oven at 180 C / 360 F.
- Chill the cookies for at least 20 minutes while the oven is preheating. (Chilling helps the cookies hold their shape better).
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 12 to 14 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack completely before you store in a cookie jar.
- These cookies will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks but they taste best in the first week of baking.
- The cookie dough can be chilled for a week in the fridge or frozen for up to three months in the freeze.
- Fruit fillings will last for a week in the fridge.
8 Tips - How to make the perfect Hamantaschen
- Chill the dough as required. This will prevent the cookies from spreading too much.
- Roll the disc fairly thin so the cookies do not look bulky.
- Thick cookies tend to open up when baking.
- Use the right method for the right technique. The pinch method works with firm cookie dough, but if you are unsure use the overlap method.
Alternatively, test a few cookies with the pinch method first before you do the whole batch.
- keep the filling thick so it won't bleed out of the cookies.
- Do not overfill the center to prevent overflow. The cookie dough is shortbread based so it's delicious just as well.
- Make the disc no smaller than 3 inches because one folded they tend to be smaller in size.
- Bake until they are starting to get slightly brown on the sides - not too much to prevent them from going hard.
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