I’ve been wanting to make Hamantashen, the traditional cookie for the Jewish holiday of Purim, for YEARS, but I had never actually taken the steps to make them. I grew up with my mom’s apricot-filled delights every single year, a treat I always looked forward to. Perhaps I was afraid that mine wouldn’t live up to these… at any rate, I have never tried. Every year I consider making them, and every year I get busy (or the holiday has come and gone without my realizing it), and this year was no exception… until I remembered something. Last year right after Purim, I discovered a post for S’mores Hamantashen from Couldn’t Be Parve. Yes, that’s right, I said ‘s’mores’ and ‘hamantashen’ in the same sentence. While I love the traditional, homey version of these filled, triangular cookies, I’m always looking to change up my favorite desserts with a little twist. This recipe made me stop dead in my tracks. Are you kidding me with the s’mores?! How brilliant– it was one of those “I wish I had thought of that!” baking moments. Nevertheless, I am perfectly happy to borrow this splendid idea and make it my own. So although I wasn’t necessarily going to bake hamantashen, I felt that it was an excellent life choice to drop everything and try this recipe!
In addition to an affinity for hamantashen, I love me some s’mores! I am not the first by any means to try making a homemade version, and it is one of those treats that is never far from my mind. After many graham experiments, I landed on a graham cracker recipe posted on Smitten Kitchen, originally from Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery cookbook. Now, how does this relate to hamantashen, you ask? Well, it just so happens that the S’mores Hamantashen recipe uses this very same graham cracker recipe for the cookie part of the hamantashen! However, because the Couldn’t Be Parve blog is devoted to non-dairy recipes (in keeping with Jewish dietary laws), it’s been adapted to use margarine and non-dairy milk. I have very strong feelings about margarine that I won’t go into here (no need for an unnecessary tangent about the evils of food substitutes), but suffice it to say that I used the original recipe with rich, creamy, delicious, god-given butter and milk!
Though all the classic s’mores ingredients are included in the Couldn’t Be Parve version, the only thing I felt was missing was the “toasted” element, so I decided to add a marshmallow fluff glaze, which I then toasted with my handy kitchen torch.
A word about marshmallow fluff… This recipe calls for marshmallow FLUFF, which is apparently different than CREME. I thought that these two terms were pretty much synonymous and was not aware that they are actually two different products. Fluff is, well, fluffy, while creme is softer and creamier. (This may sound obvious, but there really is a textural difference.) Apparently, what I previously thought was fluff is actually creme, and I had never seen real fluff because it’s is not available on the West Coast! Fluff is the stuff of fluffernutter dreams, the legendary peanut butter-marshmallow sandwiches that fill people’s childhoods (others’, not mine). Clearly I need to investigate this phenomenon further, but that’s another blog post for another day. In the meantime, I was thrilled to be able to acquire the precious fluff, courtesy of the ever-helpful Amazon, purveyor of anything you want on your doorstep in 48 hours! Anyway, the reason I am yammering about marshmallow fluff is because it’s important to use fluff, not creme, in this recipe because the creme is too soft to hold its shape inside the hamantashen, which may cause them to flatten out in the oven. (Mine still flattened out a bit, but kept their general shape.) Similarly, using regular marshmallows will not result in the proper ooey-gooey filling consistency. Either of these woeful predicaments will make you very sad. In other words, try to get your hands on some fluff!
A few important notes for success with this recipe:
- You can use milk, semisweet, or dark chocolate here– the chocolate of your choice! I opted for milk chocolate, the traditional chocolate of campfire s’mores. The quality of chocolate is more important than the darkness– a good quality chocolate will really make these shine with chocolaty depth.
- Only fill 4 cookies at a time, because the filling with start to spread if you lay out too many and don’t close them up quickly enough.
- Don’t overfill the cookies, as they will open during baking because the marshmallow fluff expands a bit.
Adapted from Couldn’t Be Parve, Smitten Kitchen, and Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery
Yields 30-40 cookies, depending on size
For the dough:
- 1 recipe Graham Crackers (without cinnamon-sugar topping)
For the filling:
- 12 tablespoons marshmallow fluff
- 2-3 ounces chopped good-quality chocolate (milk, semisweet, or dark)
For the marshmallow glaze:
- ½ cup marshmallow fluff
- ½ tablespoon very hot water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookies sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Generously flour your work surface. Remove one dough round from the refrigerator and roll it out to a thickness of about ⅛ – ¼ inch, depending on how thick you like your cookies. This dough is very soft and sticky; make sure to keep your surface and rolling pin well-floured, and rotate the dough to keep it from sticking as you roll. Using a 2 ½- to 3-inch round or fluted cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut out as many circles as you can, re-roll the scraps and cut again, repeating until you’ve used up the dough. Transfer the circles to one of your prepared cookie sheets and place the pan in the freezer for a few minutes to re-chill the dough; it warms up and softens quickly while being handled.
Meanwhile, prepare your fillings. If you overfill the hamantashen, they will open up while baking (marshmallow fluff expands) and possibly spill their filling, so use less than you think looks right. If using a 2 ½-inch cutter, use about a scant teaspoon of marshmallow fluff.
Remove the sheet pan from the freezer. Working in batches of four circles, place a small dollop of marshmallow fluff in the center of each one, followed by a sprinkling of chopped chocolate. (The fluff is very sticky, and you can use a slightly wet finger to push it off your spoon and onto the dough.) Fold up one of the circles in two places to form two sides of a triangle and pinch them together. Lift the third side and pinch its two corners closed. Repeat the filling and pinching with the other three circles, working quickly.
Fill and shape the remaining cut circles, filling up your cookie sheet. Place the pan in the freezer for a few minutes if your triangles have softened. Bake the hamentashen for 8-10 minutes, or until set and slightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before glazing.
Remove each additional dough round from the fridge one at a time, and repeat this whole process. (You will be a triangle master by the time you’re done.)
When the cookies have cooled, make the marshmallow glaze. Combine the marshmallow fluff and hot water in a small bowl, and whisk until the mixture is the consistency of a pourable glaze.
Transfer the glaze to a pastry bag fitted with a small round decorating tip or a squeeze bottle. (Alternatively, you can drop the glaze off of a spoon onto the cookies. This is what I did, and I will use a bag or bottle next time for more uniform glaze application.) Drizzle a few hamantashen at a time with the glaze in any pattern that you like; I prefer a simple zig-zag.
Now comes the really fun part– bust out the fire! With a kitchen torch, lightly “toast” the glaze to your desired darkness, being careful not to burn the cookie dough. Hover over each spot no more than a few seconds, as marshmallow catches on fire quickly! (If you don’t own a kitchen torch, you can simply omit the glaze, or drizzle and let it dry without toasting. I’m not sure how these would hold up if you put them under a broiler…)
Repeat with the rest of your gooey hamantashen and enjoy with other hamantashen and/or s’mores lovers!
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2014.