Navigate to Food section

Joan Nathan’s Chosen Hamantaschen

June 18, 2021
Joan Nathan’s Chosen Hamantaschen

Hamantaschen, Purim’s traditional triangular cookies, are relatively new to the Jewish gastronomic scene. They most likely originated in Bohemia, in what is now the Czech Republic, just two or three centuries ago. The earliest American recipe I could find for mohn maultaschen (poppy seed tartlets, which we would recognize as hamantaschen) was in 1889’s “Aunt Babette’s” Cookbook: Foreign and Domestic Receipts for the Household—published by Edward Bloch, who was from the Bohemian village of Grafenried. There aren’t that many ingredients, but that doesn’t stop bakers from having intense preferences; you’ll hear about mine in the video. However you make them, though, there’s one rule to follow: Save a few for yourself.

Featured in: How To Make the Ultimate Hamantaschen for Purim

Great for: Purim


For the dough

  • 2 ½sticks unsalted butter or coconut oil, softened
  • ½cup sugar
  • 1large egg
  • ½teaspoon vanilla
  • 1tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 ½-3cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1teaspoon baking powder
  • ½teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 1cup toasted walnuts
  • ½cup sugar
  • ½teaspoon vanilla
  • ½lemon, quartered and seeded
  • ½orange, quartered and seeded
  • 1tablespoon Triple Sec or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 2dried figs, roughly chopped
  • ½teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½cup orange marmalade
Yield: Makes about 30 cookies


To make the dough

  • Step 1

    Cream the butter or margarine with the sugar in a food processor or standing mixer.

  • Step 2

    Add the egg, vanilla, and orange juice and continue to cream until smooth.

  • Step 3

    Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until the dough comes together, adding flour until the dough is pliable. It will be slightly sticky.

  • Step 4

    Roll into a ball, using the remaining flour if needed, flatten, and wrap in plastic wrap.

  • Step 5

    Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

To make the filling

  • Step 1

    Place all of the filling ingredients in a food processor and process until chopped but not pureed. You should have approximately 2 cups.

  • Step 2

    Set aside until the dough is chilled.

To make the hamataschen

  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a cookie sheet.

  • Step 2

    Fill a small bowl with water.

  • Step 3

    Roll the dough out on a slightly floured board until it is 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 3-inch circles.

  • Step 4

    Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle.

  • Step 5

    To shape the hamantaschen, first brush water around the rim of the circle with your finger. Pull the edges of the dough up to form a triangle around the filling and pinch the 3 corners together, leaving a small opening in the center.

  • Step 6

    Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are golden.

Support Our Podcasts

In addition to Unorthodox, the world’s No. 1 Jewish podcast, and Take One, our daily Talmud meditation, we’re hard at work on exciting new Jewish audio series.