Despite your pet’s inquisitive nature, especially regarding food, do not give your pet a sample of your chocolate delights.
Purim’s coming soon (starting at sunset on March 19 to be exact) and Jews (and non-Jewish friends and family) all over the world are making preparations for this holiday. Last year, I showed you how to make Yujacha Hamantaschen.
This year’s version is still a bit unconventional but certainly not Korean either.
The first step is to make the dough. The recipe I’m using here is adapted from The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York by Claudia Roden. It is one part cookbook, one part history book, which is my favorite kind of cookbook. You will find this recipe on page 192. My commentary is in parenthesis.
1 3/4 cups flour
a pinch of salt (which you can omit if you use salted butter)
2 tablespoons sugar (I used brown sugar this time)
2-3 drops vanilla extract
5 oz. unsalted butter
1 egg yolk (I used the entire egg)
2-3 tablespoons of milk (which I didn’t use)
1 egg, lightly beaten, for glaze
First, mix the flour, salt, sugar and vanilla extract. Cut the butter into pieces (or simply tear it off with your very clean fingers) into the flour and rub it in. Mix in the egg and press it into a ball.
I made two batches and put both of them into a gallon sized zip-top bag and put them into the refrigerator to cool. If you don’t have gallon sized zip-top bags in your pantry, cover the bowl in plastic wrap and put it into your fridge.
The cookie highlighted in red on the far right is what happens when you roll them out too thin. It collapses. However, don’t throw it out, bake it with the rest and keep it as a tasty treat for yourself.
Divide the dough into four equal segments for easier handling. Roll each piece on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch rounds with a pastry cutter. Take the scraps, roll them out again and repeat the procedure until all the dough is used up.
Or you can take a lump of dough a big bigger than a walnut and flatten the dough by pressing it in the palm of your hand, similar to how you’d made hotteok.
Once you have your hamantaschen circles, quickly make the chocolate filling.
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
Melt the chocolate slowly in the microwave, heating it in 30 second bursts until it’s melted, stirring after each heating. ONce it’s belted, add the sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Return to the microwave for about 15-30 seconds to make sure it’s all melted and mixed. Gradually add the beaten egg until it’s completely mixed in as well. Use immediately to fill the Hamantaschen. If you like you can add a cup of chopped walnuts to the mix and it will make it extra-tasty. I didn’t put any in this batch because a couple of my friends are allergic to treenuts.
To shape into triangle, lift up right and left sides, leaving the bottom down and bring both side to meet at the center above the filling. Bring top flap down to the center to meet the two sides. Pinch edges together. Practice makes perfect and since I don’t bake very often, I don’t get much practice.
Arrange on a greased tray (I have a non-stick tray) and brush with the egg glaze.
Bake at 375F (190C) for 15-20 minutes.
Do not try to remove the Hamantaschen while they are still hot. They may crumble. Let them cool first on the tray. Once they are cooled off lift them very carefully with a spatula because they are fragile. The recipe makes about 40 cookies, just over 3 dozen.