If you've ever asked me for some nontraditional uses for jam you've probably heard "jam cookies" as a go to in my home. When most people think of jam cookies it may be a thumbprint cookie or linzer, but for me it is always hamantaschen.
March 9th is the start of the lesser known Jewish holiday of Purim; a day to celebrate the defeat of "Haman's plot to massacre the Jews as recorded in the book of Esther." As a child it was basically a "Hebrew Halloween" and always one of my favorites in school; we'd dress dress up, read from The Book of Esther, and make hamantaschen in class.
This almost shortbread like dough is make ahead friendly, so easy to prepare, and the assembly of the cookies has proven to be the perfect job for a little helper. Hamantaschen are great with any flavor of jam, amazing for any holiday, and great for everything from Purim, to a Christmas or Hanukkah cookie swap.
3/4 cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
2/3 cup White Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
2 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1-5 tsp Water, As Needed
1 Jar of Your Favorite Jam, Room Temp
Sift together flour and salt, set aside. Cream together butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla to sugar mixture, combine. Add flour mixture into wet ingredients in 2 batches, making sure to combine completely.
If dough is a little stiff add water, 1 tsp at a time, until dough resembles a thick sugar cookie type consistency. You may not need any water, or you may need to add the full 5 tsp. I find it usually depends on the weather and time of year.
Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap or tea towel and rest in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Once dough is rested preheat oven to 350*F.
Flour your work space and rolling pin. I like to cut dough in half to work in a small batch. Roll dough out to 1/8 in thickness and cut circles out using a cookie cutter, drinking glass, or ring twist from a canning jar. Spoon 1 tsp of jam into center of circle and prepare to fold into triangle shape.
The cookie should be a triangle shape with a jam center showing. Fold over the left side of circle at an angle, followed by the right side- overlapping at the top to form a point. Resist the desire to pinch the dough corner together. Now fold the bottom of the circle up to form the two bottom points of the triangle. There should be a jam center, also in the shape of a triangle, if folded correctly. Simply press down slightly on the corners to bond, pinching will come undone during baking.
Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-11 minutes, depending on your oven. The cookies will not spread, though jam may leak slightly. The cookies should still be very light in color with just a hint of golden brown at the corners. If 1 tsp of jam is too much for the size of your cutter feel free to adjust accordingly.
Allow hamantaschen to cool slightly on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack as jam is VERY hot. cool completely before eating.
For a Vegan Cookie: Margarine or vegan butters work perfectly, but oils have not held up to maintaining cookie shape while baking. For egg substitute with a flax or chia seed egg alternative (for binding).
For a Keto Cookie: Alternative flours have worked perfectly in testing, but recipe may be a bit drier and require the addition of more water during mixing.