Wednesday, March 13, 2019

CHOCOLATE CHIP HAMENTASCHEN for PURIM

The Jewish Holiday of Purim is celebrated this weekend, and that means it's time for Hamentaschen. Hamentaschen are three pointed pastries with delicious fillings. Traditionally that means mun (prune), but since this is a chocolate blog, and chocolate is my favorite, I suggest chocolate chip hamentaschen with a variety of chocolate fillings!

Why does the pastry have three corners in the shape of a triangle? That would be because Hamentaschen are shaped like Hamen's Hat. Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Hamen, who planned to kill all the Jews. This took place in the ancient Achaemenid Perisan Empire and is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. It's a fun holiday with food, drink, gifts, and charity -- and costumes. Interesting to note, when I was a child I didn't dress as Queen Esther as most of the other little girls did. No, I was a hamentaschen. I made my own costume out of a paperbag, painting in the filling. It was a surprise to my classmates and family, but certainly foretold my future career and interests.

Here are two recipes for CHOCOLATE CHIP HAMENTASCHEN. The first is from MyJewishLearning. The second recipe is Paula Soyer's recipe and appeared in Hadassah Magazine. They're both great. Let me know which you prefer.

1. CHOCOLATE CHIP HAMENTASCHEN 
(from MyJewish Learning)

Ingredients 

For the dough: 
½ cup butter (or margarine), at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk (or almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
 ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

Filling suggestions: 
Chocolate hazelnut spread
Dulce de leche
Cookie butter
Chocolate chips + mini marshmallows

Directions 
Beat butter and sugars together until smooth. Add egg, milk, and vanilla until mixed thoroughly.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in separate bowl.
Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Dust work surface with flour to keep the dough from sticking. Cut dough in half and roll out in batches. Roll dough to about ¼ – ½ inch thick. Using round cookie cutter, cut dough and place onto cookie sheet. To keep dough from sticking to cookie cutter, dip cutter in flour before each cut. (In place of a cookie cutter, you can also use a regular drinking glass or mason jar top).
Fill cookies with scant 1/2 tsp of chocolate hazelnut spread, dulce de leche, cookie butter or a few chocolate chips + mini marshmallow in each round. Pinch circle into triangle.
Repeat with remaining dough, putting scraps back into dough 3-4 times until all dough has been used. Place cookies on baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper and place entire baking sheet into freezer for 5 minutes before baking (or put in fridge for 10-15 minutes). This will ensure the cookie don’t fall apart while baking.
Bake for 8 minutes.
Allow to cool before serving.

2. CHOCOLATE CHIP HAMENTASCHEN 
(recipe by Paula Shoyer)

Dough 
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
Dash of salt
3 ozs semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces, no larger than 1/4 inch

Filling
6 1/2 ozs semisweet or bittersweet chocolate cut into 1/2-inch squares, or 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions
In large bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix until dough comes together. Gently mix in chopped chocolate. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave in fridge for one hour to firm up.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Divide dough in half.
Take another two pieces of parchment paper and sprinkle flour on one, place one dough half on top, and then sprinkle a little more flour on top of dough. Place second piece of parchment on top of dough and roll on top of parchment until dough is about 1/4-inch thick. Every few rolls, peel back top parchment and sprinkle a little more flour on dough.
Use 2- to 3-inch drinking glass or round cookie cutter to cut  dough into circles. Use metal flat-blade spatula to lift up circle of dough and place on another part of flour-sprinkled parchment paper. Place one, 1/2-inch square of chocolate or 7 chocolate chips into the center and then fold three sides in toward middle to form a triangle, leaving small opening in center. Pinch three sides together tightly. Place on prepared cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining dough and roll and cut any dough scraps, making sure to sprinkle a little flour under and over dough before you roll.
Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned but tops are still light. Slide parchment paper onto wire racks to cool the cookies. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to five days or freeze for up to three months.

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