Monday, March 2, 2009

Holy Hamantashen!

Today was one of my most favorite kind of days, a SNOW DAY! Apparently people who work in offices don't get to take snow days, so I had the apartment all to myself. I needed a project. After giving it some thought, I decided to attempt to make hamantashen, delicious three cornered cookies eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim.

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)

The Dough
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 ba
lance 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
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 eas
ier) 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.

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