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Ma’amoul Hamantaschen

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

If I had one word to describe these hamantaschen, it would be #proud. Yes they’re melt-in-your-mouth delicious, super buttery and also crispy, but the word I would use to describe them has nothing to do with how they taste. It has to do with how they make me feel.

I’ve always felt that food does so much more than nourish us. It connects us to our past, our present and our future. Traditional food, especially, has the power to bridge generations. Preparing the same dishes that my mother made, and my grandmother before her, allows me to pass on the flavors and smells of my childhood to my children in a way that nothing else can.

That’s why these hamantaschen mean so much to me. Not only do they reflect the traditions of my Ashkenazic heritage, they also represent the flavors and culture of my husband’s Sephardic hertitage.

While my husband is Ashkenazi like me, his mother was born and raised in Argentina, but her roots trace back to Syria. She grew up eating ma’amoul, rosewater-scented cookies filled with either date or walnut filling. When I got married, ma’amoul always made an appearance at parties and simchot and their interesting shape always intrigued me.

Traditional ma’amoul is molded into different shapes using a special cookie press. The cookie is shaped differently, depending on the filling. My mother in law always used tweezers to decorate her ma’amoul, which I found really interesting. When I came up with the idea to fuse the classic hamantasch with Syrian flavors, I went to my husband’s aunt, Esther, for a cookie baking class.

Esther is a cook after my own heart. She likes to do things simply, without fancy tools or supplies (which explains the tweezer method!). She mixed up the ma’amoul in no time, while I attempted to measure her pinches of spice and sprinkles of flour. She expertly shaped the dough faster than I could follow and before long, they were out of the oven and covered in a snowfall of powdered sugar.

Of course I went back home and it wasn’t all that simple. For starters, traditional ma’amoul dough does not have egg, so it wouldn’t hold as a hamantasch. I was determined to make it work, and 6 batches later, I struck gold (or should I say rosewater?!). These ma’amoul hamantaschen are the perfect blend of buttery and crispy, thanks to the butter and semolina, respectfully. I’m super proud of this Sephardic-Ashkenazi fusion and I hope I’ve started a new trend in my family tree.

Now that we’ve got the Purim party started, stay tuned for lots of other exciting holiday recipes, coming soon!

Related Recipes:

baklava hamantaschen
date and almond hamantaschen
healthy thumbprint hamantaschen

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Baklava Hamantaschen

Sunday, February 17th, 2013


“Good, better, best; never let it rest till your good is better and your better is best.” 

Have you ever heard that quote before? Well I don’t know who came up with it, but it should be my motto. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been trying to outdo myself. It’s like I’m in competition with me. And the funny thing is, I’m not even a competitive person. I couldn’t care less what the next person is doing. I just want to outdo ME.

Nothing brings this out more than Purim. I spend an entire year thinking about what kind of crazy, amazing. blow-your-mind kind of idea I can come up that will outdo what I’ve done the year before. Since last year’s sushi hamantaschen were such a huge hit, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It had to be a twist on a classic, a creative reversal of the expected, and it had to resemble hamantaschen. Not an easy feat, I tell you!

I surfed pinterest for inspiration, flipped through cookbooks for ideas and wracked my brain until I hit the finger-‘lickin jackpot. BAKLAVA HAMANTASCHEN – oh. em. gee.

To really capture the spirit of the story of Purim (set in Persia in the year 3392), I turned to a classic Persian recipe: baklava. Traditional Persian baklava uses a combination of chopped almonds and pistachios spiced with cardamom and a rose water syrup. Since I really wanted to turn things upside down (VeNahafoch Hu, right?), I switched up the rose water for apricot jam syrup (a’ la classic hamantaschen) and cut my baklava into true hamantasch shapes. The result is a decadent sweet and adorable treat that will be the talk of your Purim seudah!

Now if you’re the type who doesn’t mess with tradition, you may go ahead and prepare your baklava a’ la classique, rose-water syrup and all. Just make sure to cut them into hamantasch shapes, to really capture the Purim spirit.

Now tell me, how on earth will I outdo myself next year?!


1 year ago: sushi hamantaschen (onigiri)
2 years ago: savory puff pastry hamantaschen

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Butter Rum “L’chaim” Cake

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

I don’t remember where or when my mother got this recipe. All I know is, it’s been in my family for years. Since it’s soaked in rum, we aptly call it the L’chaim cake. Whenever there is cause for a simcha, we make this cake and send it over to our family or friends who are celebrating.

While I wouldn’t normally bake with a cake mix, this recipe is the exception. It’s so easy to prepare, you’ll want to start making it for all your family get-together’s too. Your Purim seudah is the perfect place to start.

 

 

1 year ago: mocha bundt cake

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Sushi Hamantaschen (Onigiri)

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I’m just not that big a baker. So when Purim comes around, I’m not about to make my own hamantaschen. The bakery stuff is good enough for me. I still like to get into the Purim spirit, so coming up with something that has three corners (reminiscent of Haman’s three-cornered hat) is a must. Last year, I made these puff pastry ones, filled with sauteed spinach, cabbage, and pumpkin fillings. This year, I knew I had to step it up.

Sushi has become a staple (read: obsession) in many Jewish homes. You can find sushi bars at most kosher restaurants, groceries, and even pizza shops. We Jews just can’t seem to get enough. So what better way to celebrate Purim, and enjoy everyone’s favorite food than with these adorable sushi hamantaschen.

It turns out that triangular shaped sushi is not my own creation. It’s a popular street food in Japan, named Onigiri, meaning “rice ball”. Onigiri can be made by hand, or using a rice mold. Either way you do it, these adorable hamantaschen are sure to be the talk of your Purim seudah table.

Onigiri can be stuffed with all different sorts of fillings including vegetables, fish, or meat. Fill them with whatever suits your fancy, or take some inspiration from your favorite sushi spot.

Onigiri Filling Ideas:

scrambled eggs
pickled vegetables
pickles
guacamole
portobello mushrooms
umeboshi (pickled plums, Eden makes a kosher version)
marinated tofu
tuna
lox
mock crab
flaked salmon
caviar
hot dogs
meatballs
chicken nuggets
gingery chicken
diced cold cuts

1 year ago: Savory Puff Pastry Hamantaschen

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