February 17, 2021
Hamantashen are a special triangular cookie eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim. While they have symbolic meaning to the Jewish people, they are a delicious cookie that can be eaten year-round. Traditional fillings are often prune, apricot, or poppyseed butters. These old favorites are certainly delicious, but I have put a new twist on the classic cookie.
Who doesn’t love a cinnamon bun? Crunchy pecans mixed with brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins make up the inside of these triangular beauties; sweet icing glazing the tops. One of the great things about this recipe is that while a cinnamon bun hamantashen is intriguing, if you want a more traditional cookie, just use the dough recipe and add your own fillings. (see note at end)
I have distinct memories of making hamantashen as a child with my mother and my sister. I loved how a circular shape could magically make a triangle, pinching the sides together with my small hands. You never know what your own kids will remember, but I’m sure my kids will remember eating them!
Cinnamon Bun Hamantashen
Makes about 24 cookies
Dough adapted from Chanie Apfelbaum of Busy in Brooklyn
For the Dough
1 stick butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Filling
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecans pieces, toasted (optional according to my son)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
For the Icing
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water, or as needed
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Dough:
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugars together until fluffy. You will need to scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat until smooth. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until combined. Press the dough together to form a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate while you make the filing.
For the Filling:
Toast the pecans in the oven for 4-5 minutes
In medium bowl add the brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, pecans and butter. Mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon. (I used my hands which worked much better and was easier - you can even use disposable gloves.) Set aside
To Form the Cookies:
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thick. Cut circles out with a 3 inch round cookie cutter or a glass. With a spatula or pastry scraper, pick up each circle and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bring all the dough scraps together and roll out again, repeating the process until you’ve used up all the dough. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling into the center of each circle, and pinch corners closed to form a triangle. If you are having trouble getting your corners to stick together, dampen your fingers with water and try again. (see note about fillings)
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the bottoms start to turn light brown. Transfer to a cooling rack.
For the Icing:
Put the confectioners sugar into a small bowl. Add the vanilla. Add the water and stir. You are making a soft pourable glaze. If you need more water to do this, add the water a teaspoon at a time, stirring the mixture well in between each addition. When the hamantashen are cool, pipe the icing onto each cookie, or you can use a fork to drizzle the icing over each cookie. (see note about piping icing)
If you are using a different filling such as prune butter, or apricot butter, only use 1/2 teaspoon of filling, otherwise the filling will run. In this case, less is more! Jam will usually leak no matter what. I have heard that the brand Bonne Maman is thicker and will not leak out of the pastry as much.
You can make a pastry bag from a ziplock bag if you want to pipe the icing. Fill the ziplock bag with the icing. Push it all to one corner so it forms a triangle. Make a small cut in the corner and use as a piping bag.