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Classic Hamantaschen

By Molly Yeh
Created January 10, 2017
Celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim by baking up a batch of traditional jam-filled cookies.

I have this horrible memory of going to my first Purim celebration at age four and being completely and utterly freaked out by the noisemakers that partiers were using at the name of Haman. It was the worst. I covered my little ears and begged to go home. I swore off that darn “holiday” and never celebrated again until the day I rediscovered Hamantaschen. 

During my college years, the mom of one of my friends would always send a care package with a big batch of homemade Hamantaschen right around Purim. We’d sit on his couch, devouring the soft, buttery, slightly smashed bits of homemade love. They were so yummy and covered in sugar. Suddenly Purim wasn’t so bad and I found myself looking forward to it. 

Hamantaschen are said to represent the pockets, ears, or hat of the evil Haman from the Purim Story in the Biblical Book of Esther. They are often filled with jam or a poppyseed filling, but I’ve seen people get pretty wild with savory fillings and other non-traditional sweets. Following is a recipe for basic Hamantaschen, but if the urge strikes you, I encourage you to get creative with your fillings! Here’s the basics on how to make them. 

In large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until blended. Add egg yolk, vanilla, almond extract and salt; beat well. Gradually add flour, beating until well combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate 2 hours. Then, heat oven to 400°F. Line cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper.


Dust work surface with powdered sugar. Working with half of the dough at a time (keep remaining half refrigerated), roll out dough with rolling pin. With 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out rounds.


Spoon 2 teaspoons jam in center of each. Moisten edges of dough rounds with water; pinch each into 3-cornered shape. Place on cookie sheets.


Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Cool completely on cooling racks. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.