Friday, March 7, 2014

Gluten & Allergy Free Jewish Hamantaschen Cookies for Purim #Recipe

Purim is considered one of the most fun & joyous Jewish holidays. (It's often referred to as the "Jewish Mardi Gras"). It celebrates when the Jewish people were living in Persia and saved from a plot to destroy them. The story is recorded in the Book of Esther (you can read my previous post on it HERE)

In 2014, Purim begins at sunset on March 15th and ends at nightfall on the 16th. 

A common treat during this time are Hamantaschen (Hamantashen) cookies. The triangular fruit-filled cookies are suppose to represent Haman's hat. 

Just because you're gluten free or have food allergies doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to enjoy this traditional treat just like everyone else! Here's my take on this yummy cookie, made gluten & top 8 allergy free

Growing up, I had many Jewish friends. I always loved learning about different religions and beliefs - and still do to this day. I attended synagogue on many occasions and a handful of Bar Mitzvah's (coming of age ceremonies). 

Fast forward, I try to instill the same curiousity and understanding in Little Miss for others religions and beliefs. The Fella's best friend also happens to be Jewish, so it's been a fun journey the past few years teaching her about their beliefs. 

The Book of Esther is one of Little Miss' favorite Bible stories. I knew that Purim would be a Jewish holiday she could easily understand and we could discuss while making our Hamantaschen cookies. 

There are really two different type of Hamantaschen cookies - some prefer a more cake like dough, while others more of a crunchy cookie textures. Growing up, my girlfriend's mother always made them more on the crunchy side... and super sweet with extra sugar sprinkled on top just before baking. 

Having this memory, but knowing that Little Miss isn't such a fan of really crunchy cookies, I decided to combine the flavors of the versions I grew up with and my "go-to dough recipe" to create a yummy gluten & allergy free version for us and our friends. 

The dough is simple and egg free, as written. We kept our recipe allergy free by using Earth Balance Soy Free Vegan Buttery Sticks and King Arthur's Gluten Free Flour

You'll need to have patience as it's best when chilled 1+ hours. The longer chilled the better, actually. Once it has reached that point, I suggest breaking the dough in half and keep the other half refrigerated until needed. Note: It is crucial you roll out the dough as thin as possible, without getting holes in it, to get the right texture and for the cookie to hold its shape. 

Use a 3 or 4" cookie cutter to cut your circles. Or, if you're like me, and couldn't find yours in a sea of cookie cutters you own *ahem* you can also use a glass. Just sayin'. 

Each cookie only needs a small dollop of filling in the center. And you want your filling to be thick, so hopefully it won't run or make a big ol' mess of your beautiful cookies - got it? 

You can fill it with anything like jams & jellies, many traditionally use a poppyseed or prune filling, but you could even try something fun like Chocolate Soy Butter or Nutella, if you can tolerate either. 

Little Miss prefers strawberry jam, but I love apricot filling. Yum, yum!

I did a step-by-step visual on folding your Hamantaschen (Haman's Hats), photographed above. The trick is to wet the edge of your dough with water, fold, and repeat. I like to lightly wet my finger and run it along the edge again and make sure the corners are nice and stuck together. You'll be tempted to only pinch the corners, but don't - you want to make sure they're actually sticking together thanks to the water, because if you just pinch it only, they'll split open when baking. Trust me, I've done it before. You're welcome.

After they've baked for about 25 minutes, remove them from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. Stand over them and admire your adorable cookies, cringing at any that leaked, and swat your child's hand away when they try to grab them. ...True story.

The recipe yields 22-24 cookies, so that gives you plenty that you can "taste test" or ones that need "disposed of" if they split open - Oh the pity! You have to eat a cookie. Hehehe... again, you're welcome. ENJOY!!

Printable recipe link is below.



Let me know your thoughts!

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