My Mother-in-Law’s Hamantaschen

My mother-in-law always rolled her dough fairly thick—about a quarter-of-an-inch. She filled her hamantaschen with jarred prune or apricot butter, with some lemon juice and about a quarter cup of breadcrumbs added. This is delicious. Or you could try the wonderful prune and apricot filling below, adapted slightly from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies.

For the dough
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 cups flour (approximately)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp lemon extract

Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add some flour and blend. Add milk and extract and blend. Add remaining flour, baking powder, and salt, and blend. Divide into 4 portions, approximately 10 oz. each, and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for one hour or more (or even all day). This is a very soft dough. Roll out about 1/4-inch thick and cut in rounds (an upside-down glass works—or a 3-inch cutter). Place about 1 tablespoon of filling on each circle, depending on size of rounds. Draw up three sides of each circle, pinching together to form a triangle. Transfer to greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until as brown as you like them.

For the filling
12 oz. unsweetened pitted prunes
6 oz. unsweetened dried apricots
1 1/4 cups water
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup mild honey

Chop all the dried fruit into small pieces, and place it in a saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes until very soft. Add more water and cook a bit longer if the fruit is not yet soft. Add the lemon juice and honey. Cook, stirring almost constantly, for about 5 minutes. Don’t let the mixture get too thick, as it will thicken more as it cools. Mash lightly with a potato masher for a smoother consistency. You may have some of the mixture left over after filling the hamantaschen. It keeps well and is tasty on crackers with cream cheese.

If you are going to freeze the cookies before baking, fill and shape them first, then place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer until they are hard, at which point they can be placed in a Ziploc bag. If baked cold, they may need another minute or two in the oven.

Makes about 54 cookies

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