Why hamantashen you may ask? First off, I have never made them before. Second, I know I will be tempted with many a non-vegan hamantashen cookie at school in the week ahead, and I thought it might be a good idea to be armed with my own vegan version. Unfortunately, my beautiful baby-pink Kitchenaid mixer in currently in-transit from Colorado to Brooklyn, so this project proved to be a little more difficult than I had intended.
The dough recipe is hodge-podged from a few different places, but mostly inspired by a Barefoot Contessa recipe for rugelach I have veganized and used in the past which is so good it's addictive, with a few modifications (mostly because I was running low on some ingredients).
Hodge-Podge Vegan Hamantashen
(makes a dozen cookies)
3/4 cups Tofutti Cream Cheese (at room temp)
1/2 cup Earth Balance or any vegan margarine (at room temp)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5-6 tsp. vanilla soy milk
Cream together tofutti, earth balance and sugar in a mixer (I had to do this in the food processor, which was a bit more tedious but worked). Mix in flour, salt, and vanilla until combined. The dough will be crumbly, so just as you would when making a pie crust, add soy milk one tsp. at a time until it just comes together. Dump onto a floured surface, knead until it sticks together in a large ball, and throw in the fridge or freezer for an hour or so. While it is chilling, you can make the poppy seed filling.
Poppy Seed Filling
1/2 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp. corn starch
2 1/2 tbs. agave nectar
1 tbs. earth balance
zest of 1/2 lemon
Simmer soy milk and poppy seeds together in a small sauce pot for about 10 minutes. Add cornstarch and earth balance, whisking to prevent as many clumps as possible. Simmer for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and add the lemon zest, and let cool.
Other (and easier) fillings include jellies and jams. In addition to the poppy seed filling, I used some raspberry jam I picked up at the farmer's market last week.
Take dough out of the fridge, and roll out with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut circles a couple of inches wide out. Put a teaspoon of whatever filling you are using in the middle of the circle, and fold three sides up to form a triangle. Pinch the corners closed very tightly (especially if you are using jam) and put on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-50 minutes until just brown.
Conclusion: if you are looking for a project to take up half of your day, make hamantashen filled with jam (which I found to be the tastiest anyways). If you are looking for a project to take up all day and drive you slightly crazy, make hamantashen with poppy seed filling.