Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Heart Hamentashen

It's almost Purim time, and I wanted to post the BEST Hamentashen recipe.  It comes from ma belle mère (Mother-in-law), Leah Rosenberg.  It sounds so much nicer in French.  Anyway, she is a great baker and it's her recipe that I made gluten free and if you don't need it to be gluten free you can just replace the gluten free baking mix with regular flour - cup for cup.  They are so tasty - if there was a contest, I think I might win a blue ribbon ;)  The dough is great.  It's sweet and light and it rolls out really well. The best part is that you can create your own customized Hamentashen.  Pictured above are apricot (my personal favorite) and chocolate chip with Nutella.  I've also made strawberry chocolate chip with strawberry jam.  Other ideas are peanut butter and jelly, lemon meringue, blueberry, or caramel.  It's fun to experiment and come up with different flavor combinations and it's also a great recipe to do with kids - very hands on.  Happy Purim!  Even if you don't celebrate, it's a delicious cookie so try it out and enjoy!

A few important notes when making this recipe and working with gluten free dough in general:

1.  All pastry dough needs to be cold, but this is especially true with gluten free dough.  When it gets too warm, it will just fall apart.  So these cookies in particular require a lot of in and out the the freezer/fridge.  I'll explain more below.  Don't get discouraged.  Once you get the hang of it, it's not hard at all.
2.  Once the dough is initially refrigerated and ready to be rolled out, you need to work quickly.  Place the dough in-between two sheets of parchment paper.  Starting from the center and working out to the edges, roll the dough out, turning occasionally.  It should be about an 1/8 inch thick.  Don't worry to much if the dough starts to crack around the edges.  If the cracks seem to work their way to the center, just push the dough back together with your fingers.
3.  Once you have made the round disks with a cookie cutter, put the filling in the middle and use a spatula to help left the disk onto the baking sheet, then you can fold the edges.  If the dough seems to be  too warm at this point put it in the freezer for 5-7 minutes or the fridge for about 20 minutes and start again.
4.  Once the cookies are folded and before baking, I put them back into the fridge or freezer for the amount of time listed above.  I find that it helps the cookies hold their shape.

La Recette:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 extra large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups gluten free baking mix
2 teaspoons baking powder
*Have whatever filling you want to use on hand.  For the Hamentashen listed above you'll need 1/4 - 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips and Nutella.  Also, I used apricot jam.  I use 1/2 teaspoon for the filling.   It's just enough.

*You'll need a rolling pin, a least two baking sheets, parchment paper, and a 3 -inch round cookie cutter.  I use a glass from my kitchen.
-Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a small bowl, combine the gluten free baking mix and the baking powder.  Set aside.
-Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
-Slowly add the egg, vanilla and milk.  Make sure it is all incorporated well, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times with a spoon.
 -Add in the gluten free baking mix and mix until just combined.  For the recipe above, I roughly split the dough in half and removed half from the mixer.  I then added 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips and mixed until just combined.  If you want the entire batch with chocolate chips, use 1/2 cup and don't split the dough in half.

-Shape the dough into two disks and cover with plastic wrap.  It would classify it as a heartier dough, so it should not be loose.
-Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.  The dough will also keep in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for up to a month.
-In between two sheets of parchment paper, roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick.
-Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter make your flat disks.  *The first disk gave me 6 rounds, so I had 6 chocolate chip with Nutella and 6 apricot from the first roll.  I gathered up the extra dough, put it back in the fridge for about 20 minutes and re-rolled it.  This gave me 6 more.  *This recipe will give you 16-18 cookies but it can be doubled if you need more.

-Top each round with 1/2 teaspoon of filling.

-Using a spatula, lift the rounds off of the parchment and place them onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

-Shape into triangles by pinching the edges (3 corners).

-Put in the freezer for 5 minutes or the fridge for 20 minutes.
-Bake for 16-18 minutes until lightly browned.
-Remove from the oven and let them cool completely on the baking sheet.
-Store in an airtight container.
*Try not to use a warm baking sheet when working in batches. The colder the better.

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