I’ve been on something of a coconut bender lately, so I knew I’d have to do a hamantashen flavor this week that would involve coconut! I debated adding finely shredded unsweetened coconut or coconut extract to the dough and using a chocolate filling, but then I thought, what if I flip it– how could I do a coconut filling? I pondered pastry cream like I used to fill these Coconut Snowball Cupcakes, but didn’t feel like hassling with pastry cream at the moment… Then my mind wafted to thoughts of the upcoming Passover holiday, and it hit me straightaway– friends, brace yourselves. We’re talking about another Jewish pastry mash-up. One of my favorite Passover treats is homemade coconut macaroons, which also happen to be ridiculously easy to make. I thought that could be an excellent filling to tuck into chocolate dough triangles, and thus were created Double Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Hamantashen. Except for one thing… I forgot to add the chocolate chips. I was going to fold some tiny chips into the macaroon filling and totally spaced. Because Thursday night. I didn’t want to break the 10-day hamantashen chain, so I’m still posting them, but I’ll be remaking them this weekend *avec* chocolate chips and a little more cocoa powder in the dough.
What I wasn’t sure about was whether the dough and filling would both bake through in the same amount of time and at the same temperature. My go-to macaroon recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, without whom I would have no Jewish holiday food. Thanks to her, I’ve got my chicken soup, matzah balls, and latkes down, and she upended all previous macaroon-making with her technique of blending the batter in the food processor to smooth it out. Only thing was, they are supposed to bake for about 25 minutes at 325°F, whereas the hamantashen dough bakes at 350°F for about 16 minutes. I decided to go with the latter, hoping that the increase in temperature would bake the filling more quickly. Fortunately this worked fine; while the filling is softer than when I am baking standalone macaroons, it was definitely cooked through. One difference between these and my other flavors: the macaroon filling does not budge, meaning that you can put in more than the usual ½ teaspoon that I always recommend because it will not expand and bust open the hamantashen.
Okay, so um, BRB, I’m gonna go make these again… 😉
Start here for the beginning of “10 Days of Hamantashen”.
Double Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Hamantashen
Yields 30-40 cookies
The first time I made these, I used a melon-baller to portion out my filling (rounded scoops), and I had enough left over to bake off a half-dozen standalone coconut macaroons. But that batch felt a little scant on the filling, so for the second batch I used the next size up ice cream scoop (about 1½ teaspoon or so), leveling off the scoops. This time I ran out of filling with enough dough left for 3-4 more cookies. You can adjust the filling amount to your liking; if you have leftover dough, use fruit jam, nutella, or any other filling of your choice.
For the chocolate almond shortbread (adapted from Breaking Breads by Uri Scheft):
- 375 grams (3 cups + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
- 50 (½ cup) grams blanched almond flour
- 21 grams (¼ cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder (such as Valrhona), sifted
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 225 grams (2 sticks/1 cup/8 ounces) cold unsalted butter
- 100 grams (scant 1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1½ large eggs, beaten, at room temperature
- ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the coconut-chocolate chip macaroon filling (adapted from Smitten Kitchen):
- 14 ounces (400 grams) sweetened, flaked coconut
- ⅔ cup (130 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon flaked sea salt or level ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (100g) micro or mini chocolate chips
To make the almond shortbread dough:
Line a rimmed quarter- or half-sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl and keep it nearby.
Lay a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and place 1 stick of butter on top. Smash the butter with a rolling pin several times to soften it, then transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Repeat with the remaining stick of butter.
Add the confectioners’ sugar and granulated sugar to the bowl. Mix on low just until the loose sugar is incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and the beater, and mix again for about 30 seconds on medium-low speed. You want the butter to still be cold, and you’re mixing minimally here to avoid aerating the butter.
Pour in the beaten eggs and paddle on low speed until the mixture looks like wet scrambled eggs– the butter chunks should all be coated in egg liberally.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl (gradually if making a double batch) and mix on low speed until most of the flour has been incorporated; it’s helpful to stop and scrape down the bowl and beater midway through.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and finish bringing it together by hand or with a flexible bench scraper. Roll it out to about ½” thick and transfer it to the prepared half-sheet pan. (It will not fill the pan.) Cover it tightly with a piece of plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or until firm), or overnight.
To make the filling:
Pour the flaked coconut into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; process for 1 full minute and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar and blend for 1 minute. Add the egg whites, salt, and vanilla and process for another minute. The mixture will be the consistency of a chunky paste. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
To assemble & bake the hamantaschen:
When you’re ready to roll and cut the dough, preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center position. Line a rimless cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it soften for 5-10 minutes.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of about ⅛” (tiny bit thicker is okay), flouring and moving the dough around as needed to avoid sticking to the work surface and rolling pin. If making a double-batch, cut off pieces of dough as needed with a sharp knife or bench scraper.
Cut out circles with a 3″ round cutter and transfer them to the prepared cookie sheet. Try to cut them out as closely as possible to avoid having a lot of scraps. Re-roll the scraps and repeat until you’ve filled the cookie sheet. If the dough has warmed up and softened too much to work with it, place the pan in the freezer for a couple of minutes to chill the dough circles. (You can put any warm dough scraps in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.)
Dollop about 1 – 1½ teaspoons coconut macaroon filling in the center of each circle; I use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop for uniform portions. (See my note above the ingredient list.)
To create the hamantaschen triangle shape, use your fingers to curve up the edges of each circle to meet at three points. Gently press the corners together to seal the edges. Shape the sides of the triangles around the macaroon scoop– the rounded top of the filling will be largely exposed and will more or less stay just like you shaped it because the filling does not expand or soften during baking. Place the triangles on the prepared baking sheet. Put the pan in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Bake the hamantashen for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan 180° and bake for another 6-8 minutes until the coconut tops are lightly golden and the cookie dough is firm and a bit darker. Set the pan on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days or so.
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2020.