We Jews like to eat things in shapes. Round braided challah, perfectly shaped matzo balls, square sheets of matzah, the thinnest slice of pastrami possible and of course triangle hamantashen for Purim. There are several theories as to how the cookies got their shape—Haman’s three-cornered hat, his pockets full of money or even his ears before being cut off during his execution! One thing’s for sure, though: they’re impressive looking.
Traditionally, hamantashen are made from thinly rolled cookie dough circles filled with a fruit jam or poppy seed filling. While apricot and raspberry are required in my family’s baking each year, there are some other more interesting fillings that add new flavors to the holiday. Couple that with the holiday’s tradition of misloach manot (giving gift baskets), and you have the perfect opportunity for a fun cookie swap. Ask each friend to bring one kind of hamantashen (sweet or savory, with enough for all attendees), and then gather to taste, swap and prepare your own take-home misloach manot.
If savory pies are your jam, then savory hamantashen are right up your alley! Similar to a galette, these Spinach and Gruyère Hamantashen use cheesy pastry dough as the base, only to be filled with even more cheese and spinach for a gooey bite. These would be great served with some soup as a fun alternative to a boring roll or grilled cheese sandwich.
Another triangle-shaped creation is the calzone, which is basically a pizza version of hamantashen! A yeasted dough filled with cheese and sauce gets shaped into a triangle for a Purim pizza party. Choose your favorite vegetable filing, or try out this Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Calzone for an Italian–Jewish Purim you’ll be shaking your grogger (noisemaker) at.
Sweet filling lovers, don’t worry—there are so many options to delight your taste buds! If Valentine’s Day didn’t ruin chocolate for you, try out these Chocolate and Peanut Butter Hamantashen. By adding cocoa powder to the dough, you get a chocolate base that gets filled with creamy peanut butter. Experiment with other nut butters or add a dollop of jam to get even more creative with these cookies.
Since you’ve got the savory pie, why not include a sweet one at your Purim party, too? Adding some warming spices, these Gingerbread Apple Pie Hamantashen are the perfect way to use up the homemade apple butter in your fridge. These would also be great filled with a pumpkin pie filling or your favorite jam.
The belles of the ball might be these fun and festive Marzipan Sprinkle Hamantashen. Instead of traditional jam, you fill these cookies with a homemade marzipan (store-bought works, too) and lots of sprinkles. Sprinkles are a sure-fire way to get compliments on your baking skills!
Maybe you’ve heard of matcha; these days it’s everywhere—in lattes, cookies and even ice cream. This green tea powder is a powerhouse of antioxidants and adds a beautiful green hue to your hamantashen. Catcha ride on the matcha train and try out these Green Tea Hamantashen. The malty tea flavor pairs nicely with an apricot filling, but you could easily substitute it with another jam or date spread.
Sweet, savory or just up for a new challenge, these hamantashen recipes are sure to make your Purim one to remember. Now all that’s left is to do is decide which you’re going to make and invite some friends over for the Jewish answer to a Christmas cookie swap!