halva + jam hamantaschen

the whole time we were in europe, whenever my phone would get a little bite of wifi and refresh its facebooky self, a new outrageous form of hamantaschen would pop up on my screen and my jaw would drop and i would take eggboy's attention away from his maps and tell him all about them. cheddar biscuit hamantaschen. hand pie hamantaschen. manischewitz hamantaschensprinkle (!!!!!!!) hamantaschentaco hamantaschen!!!!!

like, i'm sorry, original sacher torte, you need to hold on, i'm having a hamantaschen emergency. being present and living in the moment, it's what i do best (?)

fascinatingly, i found a hazelnut filled triangle cookie in the back of a dainty pastry case in lucerne that looked almost exactly like the massive hamantaschen from new york delis. i asked the baker what it was called, curious if lucernians had a different name for it, but she didn't know and i already had a mouth full of marzipan so i didn't get one and now, talking to you, i'm embarrassed by my poor research skills. 

needless to say, i had a big list of things to make as soon as i got home and hamantaschen was number one. (goulash was number two, knödel was number three.) it was a true sign that leah koenig's new book, modern jewish cooking, was waiting for me when i returned. and there are some sexy hamantaschen in that book, both savory and sweet. 

there are a lot of sexy things in that book in fact. a sundae with tahini, pistachios, and figs. jalapeño-shallot matzo balls. savory french toast with za'atar butter. it's like leah asked me what all of my favorite ingredients were and then fancied them up in the most inspiring and beautiful ways. there's already a stain on the hamantaschen page, and i look forward to getting the rest of it all dirtied up and loved to bits. 

these hamantaschen use the dough from leah's book, which is extra convenient because it doesn't require softening butter or cream cheese, and so you don't need to use an electric mixer. it's also totally dairy free. for the filling, i took some of my own liberties and used halva spread from sesame story, which is the creamiest halva i've ever had, but you can also make your own and do what leah does and add a brilliant pinch of cayenne. and then any jam will do. i pulled out blueberry, blackberry, apricot, and strawberry... the more kinds you use, the more you get to taste test :)

halva + jam hamantaschen

makes about 36 cookies


dough (from leah koenig's modern jewish cooking):

2 1/2 c/315 g all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tb fresh orange juice

1/4 c/60 ml vegetable oil

2/3 c/130 g sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp lemon zest


halva spread



whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. 

in a large bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest until combined. slowly stir in the flour mixture until the dough begins to come together. turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead a few times with your hands until it is smooth, but not sticky. (if the dough appears too dry, knead in more orange juice, 1 tsp at a time. if it looks too wet, knead in up to 1/4 c/30g more flour, 1 tb at a time until you reach the right consistency.)

divide into two flat discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

preheat oven to 350f/180c and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. remove half of the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-in/4-mm thickness. use a 3-in/7.5-cm round cookie cutter or glass to cut out circles and transfer them to the baking sheet, 1/2-in/12-mm apart. re-roll scraps and cut out additional circles.

spread about 1/2 tsp of halva spread in the center of each circle and then add a small dollop of jam. fold the left side over on an angle, followed by the ride side and then the bottom, forming a triangle-shaped pocket. pinch the seams firmly to seal. repeat this process with the remaining dough.

bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned. let them cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.