Hi! I know it’s been a while. I’m writing from Israel. I moved here in October and am still settling into my life here- juggling school, a new language, new responsibilities and freelance work. It’s a lot. It’s good. It’s hectic.
OK, yalla, let’s skip the pleasantries and talk Purim. Purim was my favorite holiday when I was a little girl. It comes two days after my birthday and it’s full of costumes and candy and general revelry and chaos- in essence, little kid dreams fulfilled. Anyway, I am no longer a little kid (sigh) but I still do love dressing up and I especially love making homemade hamantaschen.
Hamantaschen are triangular shaped cookies, typically made with a crisp, buttery dough and filled with jam, poppy seeds or chocolate. They’re said to be shaped like Haman- the villain of the Purim story’s- hat- and while I have my doubts about this origin myth, it’s traditional to eat hamantaschen on Purim and I am not one to break with tradition, especially when there are cookies involved.
These hamantaschen have a fun little addition to them: tahini! Two kinds, to be precise: black and white. The dough gets split, mixed with tahini and is then rolled back together to create a marbled cookie. They’re nutty, crispy and just soft enough, and definitely a little more avant-garde than your average hamantaschen. I like filling them with black currant jam and sprinkling them with sesame seeds for a bit of extra glamour.
If you’re a sesame fan- you’ll love these. If you’re not- simply omit the tahini from the dough, skip the marbling steps, and proceed with your own journey. We’re into equality here: hamantaschen for all!
Yields: around 25 hamantaschen
Why I love this recipe: the dough comes together in minutes, but the simple hack of splitting it in two, dyeing it with tahini and marbling it together makes it seem like you spent much more time on it than you really did. The hamantaschen have a nutty flavor and the sesame seeds add visual punch, making for a Purim treat that’s much more interesting than the classic.
Notes: don’t love tahini? Skip it, and simply make the recipe without splitting the dough and marbling it. Other filling ideas: lemon curd, nutella, marshmallows + chocolate, cookie butter, halva mixed with tahini and date syrup, apricot jam.
For the hamantaschen:
- 1 stick room temperature butter
- ⅔ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons white tahini
- 3 tablespoons black tahini
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, optional (to intensify the dough)
- black currant, raspberry or strawberry jam, for filling
- 1 egg, whisked, for egg washing
- black and white sesame seeds, for sprinkling
- Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.
- Divide dough into two parts. Set one part aside. Add the white tahini to the dough remaining in the mixer and beat until incorporated.
- Remove from mixer and set aside. Add the second part of the dough into the mixer and combine with the black tahini and cocoa powder mixing well until almost completely incorporated. Shape both doughs into flat discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours until firm or up to 24 hours.
- Marble your dough: place a large piece of parchment paper on your counter. Alternate dollops of white and black dough over each other, like a checkerboard. Repeat until you have used up all the dough. Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper and roll doughs out into an even 1/8-inch thick slab. If the dough begins to feel mushy, slide it onto a baking sheet and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Using a 2 ½” inch or 3” round cookie cutter, cut out circles and gently transfer onto a baking paper lined cookie sheet. Use an offset spatula to transfer the cookies to the baking sheet if they stick to the countertop.
- Dollop ½ teaspoon of jam in the center of each circle. Fold sides up and over each other, forming a triangular shape. Arrange on baking sheet with an inch or so between cookies. Reroll scraps and repeat with remaining dough and jam as needed.
- Heat oven to 350℉. Brush the hamantaschen with the egg wash, making sure not to skip any cracks- this helps the cookies stay together in the oven. Sprinkle with the mixed sesame seeds after egg washing. Pop the cookie sheet(s) into the freezer for 15 minutes before baking to allow the hamantaschen to firm up.
- Bake the hamantaschen for 12-15 minutes, until they’re crisp and lightly golden at the edges. Let cool on racks. Eat, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.