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Arthur Schwartz's Hamantaschen (for Purim)

Dough

  • 3 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter or pareve margarine, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate filling

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons of sugar for the egg wash
 

Method

To make the dough, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Pulse several times to combine.

Add the butter and pulse several more times, then process for a few seconds to form mealy crumbs.

In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla.

Pour this egg mixture into the processor and pulse several times to mix it in, then process for about 10 seconds.  With a rubber spatula, stir the mixture up from the bottom, then process again until the dough begins to clump together, about another 10 seconds.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and, with floured hands, press the dough together, divide in half, and form into 2 disks.  Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days.  (The dough may be frozen for up to 4 months.)

To prepare the filling, in a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring until perfectly smooth.  Add the salt, vanilla, sugar, eggs, flour and walnuts, and stir until well blended.

Any unused portion of the filling can be frozen for up to 4 months, or it can be baked into brownies in a 325°oven for about 35 minutes.

If baking all the hamantaschen at once, on two baking sheets, position the racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven.  If making only one sheet at a time, the rack should be in the center of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Dab the corners of the baking sheets with butter and line them with parchment paper.

If the dough is coming straight from the refrigerator, let it warm slightly at room temperature (for about 20 minutes) so it can be rolled out.  On a lightly floured board, roll the dough to a thickness of about 3/16 inch.  Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut circles of dough and place them on the prepared sheets.

When all of the dough has been cut, place about 2 teaspoons of filling tin the center of each circle.  Brush the perimeter of the circle with the egg wash.  Using a dough scraper, lift the dough to partially cover the filling, spacing it at one-third intervals, like a tri-cornered hat.  Brush the tops of the formed cookies with the egg wash.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.  If baking more than one sheet at a time, to ensure even browning, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back toward the end of the baking time.

Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheets for 2 or 3 minutes.  Loosen the cookies with a thin metal spatula and transfer to wire cooling racks.

Store the cookies in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 5 days.  These cookies may be frozen.

NOTE:  When re-rolling the scraps, do not gather them in your hand.  Stack the scraps on a 12-inch long piece of plastic wrap, bring the four sides to the middle, and using t he plastic wrap as an aid, press the pieces of dough together, forming a small rectangle.  Refrigerate before re-rolling.

Makes about 36

Reprinted with permission from ©Arthur Schwartz, Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking, published by Ten Speed Press      click for book review

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