Hamentashen – Allergy-free and (almost) perfect

6 Mar

Purim is one of the most fun and exciting holidays on the Jewish calendar, but also one of the most overlooked in America. It is a celebration of the survival of the Jewish people living in Persia (long ago) from extermination.

Each Purim, we read the biblical story of Esther. The heroes of the story are two jews, Esther and her cousin Mordecai, while the villain of the story is Haman. Loooong story short, Esther is able to save the Jews and we celebrate her victory. We eat cookies shaped like triangles, that are the same shape as the villain’s (Haman) hat – thus the name hamentaschen. We also give gifts of food (enter cookies again) to friends and loved ones and donations to charity.

The reading of the book of Esther is a celebratory occasion, where the story can be acted out and people dress in costume. Every time Haman’s name is read, we make loud noises to “blot” out his name. It is also commanded that we eat, drink, and celebrate – it is suggested that one drinks until they cannot tell the difference between Haman and Mordecai – though opinions vary on how drunk this is.

Yesterday, I made cookies for the students that participate in our school’s Jewish affinity group to celebrate Purim. Baking for kids with allergies can definitely prove trying, so these cookies prevent (almost) any issues – they are gluten, soy, egg, nut, and dairy free!

Even if you aren’t Jewish, or in need of allergy free treats, these are tasty cookies for anytime of year, so give them a whirl.

BakedCookies

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose baking flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup arrowroot powder

1 3/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted before measuring (or canola oil)

1/3 cup light agave syrup

3 tbsp vanilla extract (gluten free – I use Singing Dog vanilla)

1 tsp lemon zest

1/4 cup to 1 cup warm water

1 cup of fruit preserves and/or allergy safe chocolate chips (EnjoyLife makes a pretty tasty one)

Directions:

Sift together flours, arrowroot powder, xanthan gum, baking powder and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, agave, and vanilla.  Add to dry ingredients, stirring lightly with spatula to combine. It should form a thick, dry mixture.  Stir in 1/4 cup warm water.  Dough should come together and be slightly tacky.  Add additional water, a tablespoon at a time until it is not crumbling, but is not too sticky when touched. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll out half of the dough between two sheets of parchment paper until it is 1/4 inch thick.  Peel up one side of the paper and then replace it.  Flip dough over and remove bottom parchment paper (this side will be stickier).

Cut dough using 2″ round cutter – I used one with a scalloped edge for fun.  Remove excess dough to re-roll later.

Place teaspoon of jam/fruit preserves or a small heaping of chocolate chips. Dip your finger in water and lightly wet the edge of the circle.

Take three equidistant points on the circle and fold up to create a triangle, pinching two sides together at a time to form a point.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 12 mins and then rotate and bake for 8 additional minutes.

If you forget to wet the edges or don’t pinch hard enough, some of your triangles will open.  This happens to me every year.

Adapted from BabyCakes Covers the Classics.

Easier to print version:

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose baking flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup arrowroot powder

1 3/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted before measuring (or canola oil)

1/3 cup light agave syrup

3 tbsp vanilla extract (gluten free – I use Singing Dog vanilla)

1 tsp lemon zest

1/4 cup to 1 cup warm water

1 cup of fruit preserves and/or allergy safe chocolate chips (EnjoyLife makes a pretty tasty one)

Directions:

Sift together flours, arrowroot powder, xanthan gum, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, agave, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients, stirring lightly with spatula to combine. It should form a thick, dry mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup warm water. Dough should come together and be slightly tacky. Add additional water, a tablespoon at a time until it is not crumbling, but is not too sticky when touched. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out half of the dough between two sheets of parchment paper until it is 1/4 inch thick. Peel up one side of the paper and then replace it. Flip dough over and remove bottom parchment paper (this side will be stickier). Cut dough using 2″ round cutter – I used one with a scalloped edge for fun. Remove excess dough to re-roll later.Place teaspoon of jam/fruit preserves or a small heaping of chocolate chips. Dip your finger in water and lightly wet the edge of the circle. Take three equidistant points on the circle and fold up to create a triangle, pinching two sides together at a time to form a point.Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 12 mins and then rotate and bake for 8 additional minutes. If you forget to wet the edges or don’t pinch hard enough, some of your triangles will open. This happens to me every year.

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2 Responses to “Hamentashen – Allergy-free and (almost) perfect”

  1. Lillie Mae Stone (@faylynne) March 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Yum! They are beautiful!

  2. Kate Gompert March 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    I can confirm: these are delicious.

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