Hamentashen are a traditional Jewish cookie served at Purim. Wikipedia does a decent job of summarizing the Purim story if you’d like the background of the holiday, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim. The (extremely) short version is that Hamen is a bad, bad man. During Purim, small children dress up and twirl groggers (noisemakers) and boo when his name is mentioned during the telling of the story in synagogue. Hamentashen, a Yiddish word that translates into “Hamen’s pockets”, are filled cookies. Growing up, hamentashen were always quite bland and boring. Usually filled with chocolate chips or fruit, I was always less than thrilled when this holiday treat was brought out. When trying to make these for my family I decided I would make them better, more flavourful, and fun to eat. I adapted my mother’s original cookie recipe and went on the hunt for better filling ideas. I decided on a chocolate cream cheese filling: a little tart and very rich. Jewish or not, I think everyone will enjoy these delicious, fun shaped cookies.
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
⅔ cup white sugar
1 egg, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 ¼ cups flour
¼ tsp salt
Slice your butter into small chunks and place in a large bowl. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Next, add the egg, vanilla and almond and mix until creamy. Finally, sift your flour and salt into the bowl and mix until a soft, crumbly dough forms.
Switch implements and knead with dough hook until a smooth dough forms but make sure not to not over knead.
Wrap your in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. While your dough is resting you can prepare your filling.
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 ounces cream cheese (about 1/3 of a package), room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Whip your cream cheese until smooth then add your brown sugar and vanilla and mix until blended. Fold in your chocolate chips by hand and chill until ready to use.
Pre heat your oven to 350 F. Roll out your dough on a floured surface. You want it to be thin otherwise it will open during baking. Fold over the left side.
Next, fold the left corner over right corner over to make a point.
Finally, fold up the bottom piece and tuck the left corner under, leaving right corner over; making a pin wheel.
Pinch corners to seal. Bake hamentashen for 15 minutes until edges are slightly browned.
Let cool and enjoy!