The first time I made hamantaschen was last March. My then-fiance and I had snack duty that week in our Intro to Judaism class, and I wanted to make something that was both delicious and showed just how much I was learning in the class. Yes, I wanted to be the teacher’s pet, skipping grabbing hummus and pita chips at Trader Joe’s and instead making a from-scratch seasonal treat for the upcoming Purim holiday.
I did my research on foods associated with Purim, decided on hamantashen and found a few recipes that seemed easy enough. My fiance assured me that he had made hamantashen many, many, many times. Of course, he neglected to tell me that all of those times had been before the age of six and at Hebrew school with much adult supervision.
For those in need of a refresher—or an introduction—hamantashen are triangular cookies traditionally filled with fruit jam or poppy seed filling and served during the raucous holiday of Purim. The three-sided shape is intended to symbolize the three-cornered hat that was said to have been worn by Haman, the villain of Purim in the Book of Esther. As with all good treats, they have now been adapted to suit every type of taste, so there are many takes on the classic, one of which I’ll introduce later in this post.
Back to my hamantashen story, though: my first foray into hamantashen was with a Nutella-filled recipe. You can’t go wrong, right? Well, yes, yes you can. We cut the dough too thick, couldn’t fold them correctly into triangles and ended up with what I would call dough clouds rather than cookies. Delicious, but not quite right. So, this year, I knew that I had to try it again, but I wanted to get even more creative with my own spin on hamantashen.
As a chocolate lover, there was no doubt I would bypass the fruit fillings once again for another attempt at chocolate. This time, however, I wasn’t going to restrict my chocolate touch to the filling. In a nod to another traditional Jewish cookie, I wanted to take it to the next level with a variation inspired by black-and-white cookies. I made a buttery dough, rolled it out thinly, added chocolate chips for the filling, formed them into actual triangles, baked them, let them cool…and then, it was time for the step that makes them extra. I mixed up black and white icings and dipped each side of the cookie. Sweet icing on the outside and chocolate filling on the inside. My second attempt at hamantashen? 100% a chocolate success.
Looking for other chocolate hamantashen ideas? Fill them with Nutella or dark chocolate ganache, or make a chocolate dough. Alternatively, mix mini chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate into the dough and fill with more chocolate for a chocolate-chip cookie version. The chocolate options are endless.