Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking
Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking

Don’t hate me, but my favorite cookie holiday is Purim. Not Christmas. Not Valentine’s Day. Purim. I love a hamantaschen almost more than any other cookie. Is that weird? I don’t care.

Jump to the recipe!

Why do I love these cookies so much? I think it’s because Purim means that spring is FINALLY here. I reached the nadir of my winter depression last week but we’re making our way back. I can see grass again! We have an extra hour of light! We have green buds popping up despite still-freezing temperatures!

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking
Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking
Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking

I rejiggered my hamantaschen dough recipe from last year because I wanted the cookie to be slightly more crumbly. I also left out the baking powder because my (and probably everyone who’s ever made hamantaschen) biggest pet peeve about this cookie is that it can open up during baking and lose it’s shape. Whelp, if you leave out the baking powder, there’s a lot less leavening happening. Problem solved.

Also, I stand corrected about one hamantaschen-related statement: Last year I didn’t think that freezing the dough after forming the cookies made a difference, but this year, it did. Go figure.

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking

A couple of notes:

  • I used a store-bought lemon curd, but feel free to make your own. It will bubble out while the cookies bake, but you can always fill in any holes that develop with a bit more curd once the cookies cool.

  • There is a teeny amount of cardamom in this recipe because I didn’t want the cookies to taste too strongly of cardamom. The little hint of it actually makes the lemon taste more lemony.

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen


6 Tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Heaping ¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp poppyseeds
1/8- 1/4 tsp cardamom
2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp lemon curd per cookie

Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl in the microwave until half melted (heat on high for 30 seconds and then in 10 second bursts until your butter is only half formed). Stir the butter to let the residual heat of the melted half take care of the half that is still solid. Let cool slightly.

Add the sugar, vanilla, and eggs and whisk to combine thoroughly.

Add the salt, poppyseeds, and cardamom, and stir again.

Add ½ of the flour and stir with a spatula until just combined. Add the rest of the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Use your hands to get the last bits of flour to come together in the dough. If it feels too flaky or dry, mix in some water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until the dough feels slightly wet, all of the flour is easily incorporated, and there are minimal cracks along the edges of the dough when squished down.   

Divide the dough into two discs, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for 20 minutes in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 350.

After 20 minutes, roll out the dough to 1/8th of an inch on a floured surfaced with a floured rolling pin. (Be liberal with the flour as this is a sticky dough. If it feels too sticky to work with, put back in the freezer for 5 minutes and try again.)

Cut out 2.5-inch circles and transfer them to a parchment-covered baking sheet.

Fill the center of each circle with ½ tsp lemon curd.

Fold the cookie dough into a triangle by folding and pinching three sides of the circle together.

Bake the cookies for 5 minutes and rotate in the oven. Bake until the bottoms of the cookies are browned but the tops are still light, about 4-5 minutes more.

If lots of the filling has bubbled out, let the cookies cool and add another ½ tsp of the lemon curd.

Yield: 36 cookies

Lemon poppyseed hamantaschen | Me & The Moose. These hamantaschen are a twist on a classic and a quick-cooking spring-y cookie. #meandthemoose #hamantaschen #lemonpoppyseed #cookies #cookierecipes #purim #Jewishrecipes #baking #easybaking

Almond cookies

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Easter and Passover fall during the same weekend this year, so why not bake a dessert that fits the bill for both? They're a little like a French Macaron, but with a lot less work. They're also a little merengue-y, but much less tricky and far quicker to bake.

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I first made these Chewy Almond Cookies for the holidays a few years ago. My mom loves a Linzer torte and my father-in-law loves anything with marzipan, but I needed something a bit simpler to add to the cookie tray. The original version called for store-bought almond paste, but it's expensive and sometimes hard to find, so these cookies sub in almond flour (NOT almond meal) and powdered sugar.

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Skipping the almond paste also makes these kosher for Passover because the paste uses some kind of gluten-derived syrup as a sweetener.

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I've fiddled with the technique a bit as well. Adding the egg whites to the food processor first and whizzing them until they're thick and white makes the cookies lighter, airier, and more chewy. You don't need to go for stiff peaks or even soft peaks, but just a frothy milky mixture.

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The only tricky part of this recipe is getting the texture of the batter right. Too thick, and it's hard to pipe, but too thin and the cookies spread out and get too crunchy. You want to be able to run a finger through the batter and the indentation stays put. (See the photo below.)

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The original recipe also calls for raspberry jam, which is delicious. But I used lemon curd here because it felt more springy. Also, it seemed like an apt use of the leftover egg yolks. However, I confess that I've never actually made my own lemon curd before and my first try was...not great. The taste was delicious, but it was entirely too runny. So, I bought some at the grocery store and called it a day. No shame.

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Almond Cookies

2 large eggs, white and yolk separated
1 cup almond meal
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp almond extract
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom
¼ tsp salt
2 cups sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make 9 small piles of almonds roughly the size of a quarter. Set aside.

Add the egg whites to a food processor. Whiz on high speed until the whites look frothy and milky, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients and whiz to combine. The batter will likely form a ball. Keep processing until the ball smoothes back out. If the batter is too thick (stays in a ball after another minute of processing), separate another egg white and yolk and add ½ of the egg white to the batter and process again.

Add the batter to a large zip lock bag or a piping bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.

Once chilled, pipe about 2 Tbsp of batter in a circle over each pile of almonds. The batter will be thick, so feel free to use your fingers to help it out of the bag.  Don’t worry if the batter looks a little wonky because the cookies spread out while baking.

Top with more sliced almonds.

Bake for 5 minutes and rotate the pan. Bake for 5 minutes more. Be careful not to overbake these cookies. They’re done even when they look slightly raw in the middle. You want just a hint of color around the edges. Let cool for 5 minutes on the pan and move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 18-20 cookies

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Halva Hamantaschen

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I meant to post this recipe yesterday, but after turning my kitchen into a veritable Hamantaschen factory testing different dough recipes, I had to take a break.

I love love love a good hamantaschen, the traditional cookie of Purim. When done right, the cookie part isn't terribly sweet and hovers somewhere between tender and snappy and, most importantly, lets the filling shine. My personal favorite is plain old apricot jam, but I was inspired by Molly Yeh's sprinkletaschen and knishentaschen to make my own frankentaschen with a halva filling.

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I'm always intrigued by halva, but never really like it. The dry, chalky texture really throws me, but I like all of the ingredients, which is what leads me back time and again. Instead of making actual halva or using a store-bought version, I just used the basic ingredients (honey, tahini) and added some other favorites like lemon zest and pistachios. I also threw in an egg and the tiniest bit of flour and baking powder to make the filling more batter-like.

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The real trick was finding a dough recipe that I liked. I nixed all of the cream cheese-based doughs because reviewers complained that the dough often doesn't hold its shape in the oven. I also thought the tang would compete with the filling.

Helpful!

Helpful!

Next, I tried Bon Appetite's and Smitten Kitchen's hamantaschen doughs. I liked them equally, but I ultimately prefer Smitten's because the technique (with some of my lazy-person changes) is quick and easy.

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Internet research led me to fiddle with oven temperatures and try resting the formed cookies in the fridge for 20 minutes before baking, but ultimately, neither significantly changed anything for the better. My cookies aren't going to win any beauty contests, but the all more or less stay together.

Halva Hamantaschen

For the dough:
4 Tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Heaping ¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 ¼ cups + 2 Tbsp flour

Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl in the microwave until just melted. I like to melt the butter about 2/3 of the way and then stir it to let the heat from the melted part take care of the rest. Let cool slightly, about 3 minutes.

Add the sugar and vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Let the teaspoon runeth over slightly to add extra vanilla flavor.

Add the eggs one at a time and whisk each one until fully combined.

Add the salt and baking powder and stir with a spatula.

Add 1.5 cups of flour and stir until just combined. Add the other 3/4 cup of flour and stir again. Add the final 2 Tbsp and, either working hard with the spatula or using your hands, mix until just combined. The dough should feel very dense and not sticky.

Divide the dough into two discs, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for 20 minutes in the freezer.

 

For the halva filling:
1 cup raw, shelled pistachios, toasted
¼ cup tahini, well mixed
5 Tbsp honey
1 large egg
¼ tsp baking powder
1.5 Tbsp flour
Zest of 1 large lemon

Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the nuts for about 5 minutes or until they become fragrant and slightly darker. Transfer to a food processor

Add the other ingredients and pulse until the mixture becomes a paste. Some of the pistachios will remain whole or in large pieces, which is absolutely fine. The batter will seem too loose, but don’t worry: This is about to chill in the fridge while you roll out and cut your cookie dough and will tighten up quite a bit.

 

To assemble the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 350 (if not already done when toasting the nuts).

Roll out your cookie dough on a lightly floured surface or a piece of parchment paper until about 1/8 inch thick. You want the dough thin-ish because it puffs up in the oven, but not see-through because it will become crunchy.

Cut out 2 ½ inch circles. Each disc of dough should yield about 24 circles. I would discard the rest because it will likely be overworked and have too much flour after being rolled 2-3 times.

Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place 1 SCANT tsp of the halva filling in the center of the circle and then pinch all three sides together to form a triangle. Pinch the corners tightly so that no seems are left and a fair amount of the filling is covered by dough to avoid spillage during baking.

Sprinkle the tops generously with coarse sugar (demarara or turbinado work best) and bake for 110-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. You are looking for light browning on the corners and a puffed up, dry-looking center. These cookies go from perfectly cooked to overbaked quite fast, so if your oven runs hot, you may want to check them at 8 minutes.

Yield: 48 cookies

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Apples and honey breakfast cookies

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Oh apple season, how I love you. However, baking with you in your natural state sometimes leads to a soggy mess. So, dried apples it is. I like the Trader Joe's version the best because they're dry (obviously), but not so dry that they're hard to eat. Though I still have to cut them up for M because he shoves so many of the whole ones into his mouth that he chokes. When will he learn??

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Anyway, these cookies are ever-so-slightly sweet thanks more to the dried apples and golden raisins than the honey, though the honey is necessary for binding everything together. These cookies are sort of like if granola, oatmeal, and a cinnamon raisin cookie had a baby, but with less refined sugar than most granola or cookies and more portability than oatmeal.

 

This is also a great place to sub in some store-bought sunflower seed butter to make these lunchbox appropriate. Pretty sure the rest of the ingredients would mask the sometimes glue-y taste of store-bought versions. Using gluten-free oats also makes these safe for kids with gluten allergies. And I haven't tried these with egg substitutes, but I'm assuming that two or three flax eggs would also work to bind these together. If using a flax egg, directly reduce the amount of flax seed meal that goes into the batter, but keep the baking powder the same. I would also use a full cup of honey as an increased binder. But note that I'm speculating here as I haven't tried these changes myself. I'll update the post if I do!

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Apples and honey breakfast cookies


8 oz natural peanut, almond, or sunflower seed butter
¾ cup honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup flax seed meal
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups dried apples, chopped (plus 12 whole ones for decorating the tops of the cookies)
½ cup golden raisins
Olive or coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the peanut butter, honey, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until all have been incorporated into the wet ingredients and no streaks remain.

Wet hands and form the dough into 12 large balls and gently press down onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. The dough will be sticky and crumble-y, which is why wet hands are helpful. Don’t worry if the dough feels like it will imminently fall apart. As long as it mostly sticks together, they’ll bake and cool into a solid cookie.

Press a round dried apple onto the top of each cookie and spray or brush with coconut or olive oil.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the sides just begin to brown. 

Let cool completely before removing from cookie sheet. (The cooling also helps bind the crumbly cookie together.)

Yield: 12 very large cookies

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