Hamantaschen (pronounced “hah-muh n-tah-shuh n”) are filled cookies that are traditionally made and served during Purim. This joyful holiday celebrates the defeat of the evil Haman, who was the advisor to the king of Persia. Hamantaschen represent the triangular-shaped hat that Haman wore.
Growing up I only ever ate one type of hamantaschen — a bland, often tough dough filled with one of three fillings: apricot, prune, or (oh the horror!) poppy seeds. But in recent years I’ve noticed a growing (and welcome) trend toward experimenting with both the fillings and even the dough itself. I now have fun each year riffing on the traditional, and going for unique twists on the same-old cookie (take a look at these Rainbow Hamantaschen!).
This year I challenged myself to take one of my favorite treats, s’mores, and turn them into hamantaschen. After a bit of experimentation I wound up with the perfect hybrid treat. The base is a graham cracker dough (inspired by the popular One Girl Cookies Bakery in New York), and the filling? A bit of marshmallow spread and some chocolate chips.
I baked up the first batch and they were good — the flavors and textures of that campfire snack were all there. But something was missing. So I cranked the oven up to broil and ran the cookies under the flame for just a bit.
The chocolatey marshmallow filling caramelized, and the cookies turned a rich, dark shade and crisped up perfectly. NOW they were exactly like s’mores!
I’ve been making hamantaschen for YEARS, and if you’ve made them yourself and found that they open up in the oven or the filling overflows, I’ve got some tips for you:
1. Don’t roll the dough out too thin. 1/4″ thick is perfect and helps the cookie keep its shape.
2. A little water around the edge of each circle acts like a glue, keeping the triangle intact.
3. Don’t overfill! This is a tough one. I always want to put a lot of filling in. Don’t! Trust me. A teaspoon is all you need.
4. Though not necessary, if you have time, a quick freeze (about 15 minutes prior to baking) helps keep the hamantaschen from opening up in the oven.
graham cracker dough adapted from One Girl Cookies Bakery
Makes: 30-40 (depending on size of cookie cutter or drinking glass to shape each)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup marshmallow spread
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until well combined. Add the butter and beat until mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly add the water just until a soft dough forms. Divide dough in half and roll each half out to 1/4″ thickness between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Stack all rolled dough on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from fridge and place on your work surface. Using a cookie cutter or drinking glass (I used a 2 1/2″ cookie cutter), cut out rounds and transfer to one of your prepared baking sheets. Gather scraps, roll, and cut again. Brush the edges of each circle with a little water. Place a teaspoon of marshmallow spread in the center, along with 3-5 chocolate chips.
3. Bring the sides of one circle inward, at diagonals to make an upside down “V” shape, and pinch the top closed. Bring the bottom edge up and pinch the two remaining corners closed. Repeat with remaining circles. Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven but leave cookies on the sheet. Repeat with remaining sheets.
4. Turn oven up to broil. Working with one sheet at a time, place cookies under broiler until marshmallow center is caramelized and cookies are a deep golden brown, about 30 seconds. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.