Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Grandmother's Triangle Cookie (Hamantaschen) Recipe!

Hamantaschen (Triangle) Cookies
With Raspberry Jam Filling
This winter I've really been thinking about my late paternal grandparents, and how they both brought happiness to my brother and I.  My late grandfather was a quiet man with a generous heart, and he loved taking his grandkids to see the latest movie and enjoying a nice meal out.  My grandmother loved feeding her family, and I so fondly remember the green salads she served at dinner, her brisket with roast potatoes and candied carrots at special occasions, and her chicken soup with "window" shaped egg noodles.

Every so often I caught a "whiff" of my grandmother's cooking, although she's been gone for a decade and my nose is playing tricks on me.  I always stop in my tracks and smile, as I'm transported back in time to my grandma's kitchen.  In my mind, I can see her yellow soup simmering on the stove top, as she calls to me to help set the dinner table with small wooden bowls for salad.  In the fridge, I know that jell-o is chilling for dessert in red glass goblets.

Grandma and grandpa, I'm thinking of you with love.
Ingredients for Hamantaschen (Triangle Cookies)
Fill with jam, poppy seeds, prunes or chocolate (untraditional)
I also have a wonderful set of maternal grandparents, who are now in their late 80s.  Up until last year, my grandma would accept special requests and cook a special dish for the great-grandkids' birthday parties.  Unfortunately, she has retired from cooking now and we all miss her dishes very much.  

One day, as I stood in my empty kitchen, I remembered a dessert that my maternal grandmother had taught me as a child in her own kitchen over 30 years ago: Hamantaschen, or triangle cookies.  Poof: the cookies just popped into my head after 3 decades!  This is a dish that is often made for a holiday called Purim, which is celebrated today and tomorrow.  Why did I think of this dish so many years later?  I believe it was because I was missing the wonderful cooking that I'd grown up with, missing my paternal grandparents, and that Purim is now upon us.
Making Homemade Dough for Triangle Cookies
So I decided to look up a recipe for Hamantaschen on the internet, and make the triangle cookies with my own kids.  After 30 years, my grandmother no longer had her old recipe for Hamantaschen, so I found a great one for Buttery Hamantaschen from Shiksa In the Kitchen!  The recipe I found, just like my grandmother's, required that you make the cookie dough ahead of time, and let it sit in the fridge overnight (or at least 3 hours).

I showed my kids how to make homemade dough, how to carefully wrap and refrigerate it--and then patiently let it chill for at least 3 hours.  Then, I sprinkled flour on our cutting board and on the rolling pin, and I showed my children how to roll out the dough and work the dough with their hands--just like my grandma and great-grandma had shown me as a child.  Then I showed the kids how to use the circular "mouth" of a glass cup to cut the dough into perfect circles, and to carefully lay the circles out on the cookie sheet.
Make Circles Out of Dough & Pinch 3 "Corners" Together
to Make Hamantaschen Cookies
The kids enjoyed filling the cookies with 1 teaspoon of jam, or with a spoonful of chocolate chips (although I noticed that many chocolate chips were "casualties" and never made it into the cookies).  I showed the children how to pinch 3 corners and make the "points" on the triangle cookies, and how to wet the dough if it became too dry and would not stick.  I also taught the kids how to add more flour if the dough became too wet.  Lastly, I encouraged the children to space out the Hamantaschen on the cookie sheet so the filling would not spill over and "melt" the cookies together.  Good times!

The recipe was delicious, although my cookies did not turn out the same as the ones from Shiksa In the Kitchen.  There was a reason for it: I decided to make the cookies from memory, making the triangle shape of the cookies exactly as my grandmother had shown me.  Needless to say, my memory had failed me, but at least the cookies were delicious!  I think that the butter and the grated orange zest made this cookie dough recipe FANTASTIC.  Even my own mother said so, and of course she's unbiased.

Hamantaschen Almost As I Remember Grandma Making
In my Hamantaschen cookies, I prefered to use 1 teaspoon of jam as the filling, because that's the way my grandma used to make them.  My favourite triangle cookie filling is raspberry jam, but some bakers prefer a prune filling or poppy seed.  To change up my batch of Hamantaschen, I filled some of my cookies with chocolate chips.  My kids loved these, and they would have been tasty with a chocolate filling like Nutella!  This is definitely not the traditional way of making these.  

Note: my own grandmother made the 3 corners of her triangle cookies by pinching the "sides" together, but my technique did not work well because the corners would not hold together properly--and was very time-consuming.  Next time I make Hamantaschen, I would like to use Shiksa In The Kitchen's method to seal the triangle cookies and make 3 clear points to each triangle.
The Kids Loved The Triangle Cookies!
Below is the recipe for Buttery Hamantaschen from Shiksa In the Kitchen.  Please visit her website to see how to prepare and assemble the recipe.  You will definitely need a rolling pin to make the dough properly.

Buttery Hamantaschen Cookie Dough Recipe
By: Shiksa In the Kitchen  See full recipe HERE

3/4 cup butter - unsalted (room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange zest - grated
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1-5 tsp water (if needed)

Have you ever tried triangle cookies before (Hamantaschen)?  What would you like best in the centre of your cookies: jam, prunes, poppy seed, chocolate or something else?  Do you have a favourite recipe from your mom, grandma, or great-grandma that's dear to you?               


  1. I have never tried that kind of cookie before - I am not a fan of jam filled ones. I do have wonderful memories of baking with my grandmother though - and she used to make a great desert for family dinners (pineapple whip, but she would make a second one with strawberries instead becasue I didn't like pineapple!) I haven't found a recipe that is anywhere close to what she made though - and she has been gone for many years

  2. these sounds soo yummy! I love the jam filled cookies our church used to serve on coffee Sunday. Im totally gonna give these a try.

  3. This cookie looks delicious! I've never seen anything like it! Cant wait to try it out!

  4. These would go perfectly with my coffee right now! How fun for the kids too.

  5. I bet these taste great! Always fun getting the kids involved too

  6. These sounds delicious. It's amazing how recipes can hold a special place in our heart. In my family that's perogies and Ukranian Breakfast.

  7. These look yummy and a great way to spend some quality time with the kids. My girls love cookies so I'm sure they would love these.

  8. Wonderful memories - my grandmother always had jello in the fridge too. I love jam and these cookies look yummy!

  9. Those look so good. My grandmother used to make these too! Amber

  10. I love to think back on the recipes my grandmother made too. These look fun to make, and delicious to eat!

  11. I've never heard of a recipe like this before. They look good though.

  12. I have never had these cookies, but love cookies of any kind. I can just imagine a poppyseed filling - my grandmother loves poppyseed cake, and I imagine these would taste similar. I'll have to surprise bake her some. Pinning for later!

  13. I love these kind of cookies. They look beautiful & it is a nice thing to share with your kids

  14. Yep, grandparents are special. So glad you got to spend some special moments with your kids making cookies...just like grandma!!

  15. My grandma use to bake some amazing treats for us! She made a cheesecake that was nothing like the traditional kind. I've never seen or had it anywhere else and unfortunately I don't have the recipe.

  16. Those look so yummy. Filled cookies are my favorite and it's always great when kids can help you bake. They looked like they were having fun, but prolly more fun eating them :)

  17. There is nothing like Grandma's cooking!! I love sharing recipes that I use to do with my Grandmother with my kids. It feels like she is alive and beside me while i'm doing so. I have never had this type of cookie before but they look delicious!

  18. What a fun baking activity to do with the kids! Those looks really delicious. They remind me a bit like bird nest cookies, minus the toasted coconut on the outside.

  19. I totally needed this last week. ;) But I'll have to pin it and save it and maybe try it when it isn't the holiday anyway, just because they look really good!

  20. Awwww this takes me back to the days I spent baking with my adopted grandmother. Sounds like a delicious recipe, thanks for sharing.

  21. What a perfect looking cookie,bet they are delish !!

  22. I love how the kids can help make them and they seem to be so versatile as far as what you can stuff them with. I think the kids will have fun making these.

  23. These looks so delicious,bet you could stuffed them with lots of different products


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