Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Ultimate Gluten Free Hamantashen Recipe

I have been baking every night this week. It is that time of year. For Jewish families everywhere, the celebration of Purim means dressing in costumes and eating hamataschen. In our house, this requires a bit more planning than usual.

First, there are the hamantaschen cookies to bake. In a gluten free home, this means dedicating a few hours to custom making the dough and fillings. I have perfected my gluten free hamantaschen assembly line and now, it only takes me an hour to bake 4 dozen three sided biscuits filled with jam.

I have posted my not so secret recipe before, but since it is that time of year again, here is the information you will need to make these in time for Purim.

Hamantashen Recipe

There is a bit of a controversy in the Jewish community as to what the perfect hamantashen texture should be. Some like hamantashen crunchy and hard, while others, like myself, prefer the softer, cakey cookie variety. Here is my ultimate gluten free version that is somewhere in the middle, soft and smooth dough with a bit of crunch:

This recipe for the dough is really easy to make and requires no refrigeration time so you are good to go from the start.

3 C white flour (I use the premixed Gluten Free Jules's Nearly Normal brand)
3 t baking powder
1/2 C sugar
1/4 t salt
3/4 C butter, room temperature
3 eggs
zest of a clementine
your choice of filling (seedless jam, nuts, chocolate, or a combo)

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Mix in butter, zest and eggs. The dough will be crumbly like pie dough- grab it to make a more formed dough mixture,then roll out dough on a well floured surface and form triangle shaped hamantashen (see diagram photos)

Bake on a well-greased (butter flavored Pam) cookie sheet or on parchment paper for 12-15 minutes at 400 F.Do not over brown them, especially if you favor the softer variety.

Roll out the dough and use round cookie cutters or the rim of a glass to cut into circles. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.

Next, you'll want to put a dollop of your filling in the middle of the circle.DO NOT put too much filling or it will overflow. Look at the first step's photo to get a sense of the proportion of filling to circle. Follow pictures two through four to fold over the circle, magically turning it into a triangle. Optional - You may want to moisten the edge of the circle with some water before folding. This will help it to stick shut. It's especially helpful if the dough has gotten at all dry. You also may consider brushing the top of the triangle with egg to give it some extra shine. I add a sprinkle of coarse or rough granulated sugar topping to add some sparkle and bling.Cool the cookies on a wire rack then store in an airtight container where your noshy husband can't find them.

Jews seem to have a thing for pinching. Add mental image of a Jewish Bubbie squeezing a baby's plump cheeks and saying, "Oy, vayizmir, Such a shayna punim on this one!" You know the pinch for good luck, the pinch for you have grown so much since I saw you last, and the pinch for generally misbehaving. Oy vay, enough with the pinch already. When you first attempt the task of turning the circles into triangles, your instinct is to simply pinch in the corners shut. DO NOT GO THERE. DO NOT PINCH THEM! The problem, as you can see,they open up during baking. You will have busted tashen if you pinch rather than fold. Fold them then squeeze to seal the edges down- you can pinch at your own risk. Leave the pinching to your Bubbie, for these, "you FOLD them, you don't pat them, they are not human, you FOLD them!" this is in memory of the original Bubbie, Tillie Koch, may she rest in peace, she made blintzes and would give Bimpaw the play by play while he was filming her, and G-d forbid if you did not do it her way, there was HELL to pay. The blintz story is edited for folding, versus ROLLING, which is what you do with blintzes. YOU ROLL THEM! Good times, Good Times. Where was food network back then, Bubbie would have been a superstar!

Thankfully, hamataschen freeze well, so crank them out and store them away for a lunch box treat or two.

Secondly, Purim is the holiday where Jewish kids dress in costumes. It is nothing like Halloween, and since we are not so religious and live in Ohio, we do both holidays. My kids are lucky in that regard. Purim is a second chance at amazing costume photo opps. As a mom of multiples this is the best chance to whore out the kids for visual display and scrapbooking, or in my case; blogging!

All of this celebrating does take some effort you know. In order to properly outfit four kids, hunt and gather all the necessary costumes for a proper theme, I have to start early. For me, the Purim festivities begin the first week of November when Halloween costumes are 75% off. This is like winning the Jewish lottery. Costumes for pennies on the dollar.

As we gear up for a Purim carnival, hamantaschen and wearing our costumes to kindergarten on Friday, I am busy as ever. It is good thing I am not too Jewish to be Irish tomorrow.

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