Orange Olive Oil Hamantaschen for Purim

How Did Bubbe Bake It?

Recreating Her Orange-Scented Hamantaschen Dough

Orange Olive Oil Hamantaschen Dough makes the perfect base for any filling you desire in this traditional Purim cookie

Orange Olive Oil Hamantaschen Dough makes the perfect base for any filling you desire in this traditional Purim cookieThis hamantaschen recipe is a long time in the making. I first wrote about these three-sided cookies or hamantaschen in a very early blog post in March of 2010. As a child, I remember eating the baked scraps of orange-scented cookie dough voraciously with all three of my brothers. We didn’t even care about the fillings. But my grandmother’s “recipe” is scrawled on the back of a piece of paper with imprecise measurements. So I have been experimenting on and off trying to replicate that memory flavor. During one round of testing, I had orange olive oil in the pantry and decided to try it. My grandmother always made these cookies with vegetable oil so why not olive oil?

And sure enough, it worked. But orange scented olive oil is not a prerequisite. Regular olive oil enhanced by orange zest works quite nicely. In fact, I use some zest for an extra hit of citrusy aroma even with the orange olive oil. This dough has a tendency to be very soft – a little refrigeration helps with that as well as some flour on your work surface.

Orange Olive Oil Hamantaschen Dough makes the perfect base for any filling you desire in this traditional Purim cookieOrange Olive Oil Hamantaschen Dough makes the perfect base for any filling you desire in this traditional Purim cookie

These three-sided cookies are traditionally eaten for the Jewish holiday Purim where we remember the story of wicked Haman and the hero Queen Esther who saved the day for the Jewish people. Many stories have been woven to explain the name of these cookies — tasch means pocket so these are Haman’s pockets or the triangular shape represents his hat. In any case there is a pocket that is created for the fillings – almost anything will work from traditional fillings like poppy seed or prune or unexpected fillings like Nutella, chocolate ganache, or any jam of your choice. One recipe I discovered places cookie dough in for the filling so you end up with a cookie in a cookie. Favorites in our house are jams of any kind.

Here is a short video showing how the circular pieces of dough are cinched up to make the triangles:

Be sure to visit my Purim Pinterest board with lots of creative ideas for hamantaschen and other Purim goodies to fill your Mishloach Manot. Mishloach Manot are the traditional baskets of goodies that people leave for friends and family during this festive spring holiday.

Orange Olive Oil Hamantaschen Dough makes the perfect base for any filling you desire in this traditional Purim cookie

Have you eaten or baked hamantaschen before? What type of dough do you use and what are your favorite fillings?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Orange Olive Oil Hamantaschen
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Jewish Holiday Baking
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 - 30 cookies
 
This recipe is inspired by my grandmother's recipe-less baking. In an attempt to recreate this childhood memory flavor, I have been inspired by many recipes including Irene Saiger's of the blog Bamitbach and Marcy Goldman's Jewish Holiday Baking bible. I enjoy baking with olive oil so I chose to use that here instead of vegetable or canola. This dough comes together easily and is served well by time in the refrigerator so you can make it ahead of time and then prepare the cookies later. For the olive oil selection, use a mellow olive oil (low-intensity) – even extra virgin – but don’t use your most expensive intensely flavored bottle.
Ingredients
Dough
  • 2½ cups of all purpose flour
  • ½ tablespoon of cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup sugar
  • zest of ½ an orange or whole orange (1/2 if using orange olive oil, whole if using regular olive oil)
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup orange or regular olive oil
  • ¼ cup orange juice (can use the juice from the zested orange)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Egg Wash
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream
Fillings:
  • Your choice - use jams you have in the house or nutella or nutella mixed with tahini - so many great options
Instructions
Preparing the dough:
  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  2. In another medium sized bowl, add the sugar and orange zest and use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until it is mixed throughout. Then add one egg, olive oil, orange juice, and vanilla. Whisk these wet ingredients (and sugar) until thoroughly combined.
  3. Then incorporate the flour into the wet mixture to form a dough. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine and get your hands in there if need be. But it will come together easily. It may be a bit wet - that's ok. Refrigerate it for a half hour (or more) and then be sure to roll it out on a floured surface. It will roll out nicely. If it seems to be falling apart when rolling, add a bit more flour.
Fillings and Egg Wash
  1. While the dough is chilling and resting, prepare your cookie sheet with parchment or a Silpat type of liner. Also prepare your fillings and your egg wash. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Forming and Baking
  1. Take out ½ the dough at a time from the refrigerator and roll it out on a floured work surface to about ⅛ inch thick - really as thin as you can roll it without it falling apart. It doesn't have to be perfectly shaped as you roll it, just fairly even in thickness.
  2. Use a 3" or 2.5" round cookie cutter to cut out as many circles as you can and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Then using a pastry brush, brush each circle with egg wash and then place a scant teaspoon of filling in the center. Then using your hands, cinch up the dough to form a triangle (see the video above) but once you cinch one side, the rest becomes easy but be sure to close it firmly so it remains closed as it cooks.
  3. After your have filled and formed each one, brush each cookie with egg wash and if desired, you can sprinkle with a bit of sugar - totally optional to your taste.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Remove and place on a cooling rack. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea or deliver to your friends in a festive Mishloach Manot basket.

Orange Olive Oil Hamantaschen Dough makes the perfect base for any filling you desire in this traditional Purim cookie

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8 Responses to Orange Olive Oil Hamantaschen for Purim

  1. Deborah Ryan March 22, 2016 at 7:44 am #

    Hamantaschen is a pastry I’ve wanted to make, but haven’t ever given it a try. There are so many different fillings too! The video makes it all so easy! A great post Beth!

    • Beth Lee March 22, 2016 at 8:22 am #

      I know you would come up with some wonderful filling choices Deb! thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the video. Thought it was the best way to show the technique.

  2. Little Cooking Tips March 24, 2016 at 2:05 am #

    We’ve never hear of the hamantaschen before, but they sure look delicious! Plus they’re super versatile, as you can add a gazillion of fillings. We bet these must be amazing with the traditional Greek spoon sweets (fruit preserves), turning those to Jewish-Greek treats:):)
    We LOVED the old recipe on the paper, it looks like many of our recipes from our parents which they wrote down back in the 60s and early 70s. Lots of treasures there.
    As for using olive oil in desserts, it does make the dough a bit softer, so you’re right, you do need to refrigerate it before handling it, great advice.
    Thank you for another delicious idea Beth!
    Sending you lots and lots of greetings from Athens!
    xoxoxo

    • Beth Lee March 28, 2016 at 7:37 am #

      XOXO to you both as well. I hope you had a lovely Easter. We enjoyed the sunshine and some nice family time yesterday – which is rare these days with everybody’s busy schedule. Olive oil is a joy to bake with but it does require a bit of adjustment. Took me a few tries to get the dough right. My favorite part of the cookie is the fillings, especially the jams. Re the recipe – if only I had had digital technology when I watched my grandmother make them but alas, so long ago all I could do was write down what I saw. I probably could have taken film photos but back then, we didn’t always have a camera with us. Just glad I’ve come close to recreating it!

  3. Jael March 25, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    Such pretty hamantaschen:)

    • Beth Lee March 28, 2016 at 7:40 am #

      Great to hear from you Jael. How is everything in Israel and with your blog? Will head over later today for a visit (I wish to Israel but for now, just your blog)!

  4. Hannah March 27, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

    What a treasure to have your grandmother’s hand-written recipe! It looks like you’ve recreated it beautifully. I like your use of olive oil. Favorite fillings in our house are all sorts of jams and chocolate. Years ago I tried a recipe featuring a chocolate dough and peanut butter filling that was pretty tasty. These are certainly versatile little treats. I hope you enjoyed a fun Purim!

    • Beth Lee March 28, 2016 at 7:43 am #

      I thought about trying chocolate in the dough – next year :-). The olive oil makes the dough very soft but with the right amount of flour and a little refrigeration, comes out pretty nicely! I just love all the jam fillings. Thanks, as always for stopping by.

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