You know what’s been missing from “10 Days of Hamantashen”? If you were thinking, “Yeah, these flavors are decent, but what I’m really craving is something sweet and salty…”, then we’re on the same page. Which is why I thought Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Hamantashen should be included in this collection. Like the Ugly-Delicious S’mores from the other day, these are a bit more finicky because I tinkered with the dough recipe significantly. To add some pretzel-y flavor to the dough, I crushed pretzels and mixed them in with the dry ingredients. This worked well, though the dough was a little more brittle than the other versions. I thought the pretzel flavor was more pronounced in the unbaked dough, but still traceable. The other non-traditional ingredient in this dough is powdered peanut butter. I wanted to put some PB in the dough as well as the filling, but I didn’t want to mess with the dough recipe too much (a handful of crumbs is one thing, but PB seemed a little risky), so this was a great option.
When I first made these a couple of years ago, I used a brownie filling similar to this one, but since I’ve already used brownie filling twice in this series, I wanted to do something else, preferably a peanut butter ganache. My only concern was how ganache would behave in the oven– would it seize up? overflow? do nothing? It re-liquified and then firmed up again while cooling; at first I thought it was ruined because the texture was quite different than before, once the hamantashen had fully cooled, I decided it was a-okay. In the future I may look to bump up the pretzel flavor a bit more, but in general I liked these, despite not being the prettiest. I think this dough would also be tasty with your favorite fruit filling.
Want to start at the beginning? Check out Day 1 of 10 Days of Hamantashen!
Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Hamantashen
Yields 30-40 cookies
This recipe doubles very well if you want to avoid splitting beaten eggs and/or have lots of dough for multiple fillings. I strongly recommend using weight rather than volume to measure ingredients.
For the almond shortbread (adapted from Breaking Breads by Uri Scheft):
- 285 grams (2¼ cups + 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (115g) finely ground salted pretzels (ground in a food processor– okay to have some small pieces)
- 50 grams (½ cup) blanched almond flour
- 2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 230 grams (2 sticks/1 cup/8 ounces) cold unsalted butter
- 100 grams (scant 1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
- 50 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 1½ large eggs, beaten, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the chocolate-peanut butter ganache:
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons (50g) smooth peanut butter
- ½ cup (113g) heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
To make the almond shortbread dough:
Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, pretzel crumbs, almond flour, powdered peanut butter, and salt in a bowl and keep it nearby.
Lay a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and place one 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 the parchment paper on your work surface and finish mixing it by hand or with a flexible bench scraper. Transfer the dough to the prepared half-sheet pan and flatten it out with your hands or a small rolling pin to a thickness of ½-inch. 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 chocolate-peanut butter ganache:
Place the chopped chocolate and peanut butter in a medium bowl and keep it nearby.
In a small saucepan, combine the heavy whipping cream and corn syrup. Heat the mixture to a boil, then remove the pan from the burner and immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate and PB. Let it sit for about 5 minutes undisturbed. Start whisking the cream into the chocolate, beginning in the center and working your way outward to the edges of the bowl, until the chocolate is fully blended and shiny. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ganache and put the bowl in the fridge for about 1 hour or until firm.
To assemble & bake the hamantashen:
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” (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 ½ teaspoon ganache in the center of each circle; a spring-loaded melon-baller yields a perfectly-sized portion. Do not be tempted to put in more filling– the cookies will spill over or open up in the oven.
To create the hamantashen 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 together, leaving the top open for the filling to peek out. If the dough cracks on the bottom, gently smooth it back together with your fingers. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. Put the pan in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Bake the hamantashen for about 15-16 minutes, or until the corners are lightly golden, rotating the pan halfway through. 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.