Hamantaschen are generally a simple cookie: sweet pastry filled with jam, poppy seed fillings, prunes or other dried fruit combinations in triangular form. They're usually made of a sturdy sugar cookie-type dough. They're also often a little dry and boring.
Last year, I used basic pie dough for my hamantaschen. I really like those cookies because you can never go wrong with good pastry, but this year I wanted to bake more traditional hamantaschen. I did a little research and found the Ovenly recipe. Their pie dough + powdered sugar + egg yolk combination inspired me. I found I needed a little more liquid than the original recipe called for, but otherwise it's very similar to theirs. Next time I would probably omit the honey from the dough as it's plenty sweet with the powdered sugar (if you do this you may need to add a little extra water).
You can fill these cookies with your favorite thick jam, or you can make a poppy seed or dried apricot filling. Ovenly also has a few ideas for inspired hamantaschen fillings.
These hamantaschen are perfect along with a hot cup of tea or coffee, especially during these lingering winter days... They are soft and delicate, buttery and crumbly, small and sweet.
Recipe slightly adapted from Ovenly
Makes approximately 40 hamantaschen
for the dough-
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, cold and cubed
2-3 tablespoons ice water
for the filling-
1/2-3/4 cup thick jam (I used organic low-sugar raspberry jam... or sub with your favorite filling choice)
for the egg wash-
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
for the dough-
Sift together the flour, sugar and salt. This step is critical as powdered sugar is generally lumpy, and this step eliminates the lumps. Cube the butter. Add the flour and butter to a food processor. Pulse until a coarse meal forms. If you don't have a food processor, combine the flour mixture and the butter using a pastry cutter.
Next, make a well in the dough, and add the egg yolks and the honey to the well. Combine everything together with your hands or a spoon. The dough will be crumbly and it will just start sticking together. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water, and combine the dough. If the dough still isn't coming together, add more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time. Be careful not to over-mix or your dough will get tough. Also, be careful not to add too much water. You want to just form a ball of dough without it being too sticky or wet.
Form the dough into a 6-inch dish. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. If you see flecks of butter in the dough that is a very good thing
to assemble the hamantaschen-
Once chilled, roll the dough out until it is about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Using a 2-inch biscuit or round cookie cutter, or using a small glass, cut rings out of the dough.
Combine the scraps of dough, and re-roll it and cut out more rounds.
Add about 1/2 a teaspoon of filling to the center of each cookie. Pinch the sides closed so that you form a triangle. You want to make sure the dough is sealed very well together, otherwise the filling will escape as the cookie bakes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Transfer the hamantaschen to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Freeze the cookies for 15 minutes before baking, or about as long as it takes for the oven to preheat.
Make an egg wash by whisking the egg yolk and water together.
Before placing the cookies in the oven, brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Transfer the cookies to a rack and allow them to cool.