Having trouble making hamantaschen for Purim? Maybe your hamantaschen are spreading or opening when they bake. Maybe they’re losing their shape. Maybe the filling is leaking. Maybe you’re having trouble folding your cookies into neat triangles. Or maybe you’re just looking for an easy hamantaschen recipe that will get you perfect results, every time. Whatever your question, I’m here to help!
I compiled this list of tips to help people who are new to baking hamantaschen. It took me several years to master the proper technique and develop some terrific dough recipes. I now have a firm understanding of what it takes to make pretty and delicious hamantaschen. I want to share that knowledge with you, so you can avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve encountered over the years. Hopefully my tips will help obtain a tasty and beautiful result from the very first try!
Tips for Creating Perfect Hamantaschen
1) Find a great dough recipe. Often, the problems people have with baking hamantaschen can be traced to an inferior dough. Here are two foolproof, tasty dough recipes that I highly recommend. They are easy to handle and shape, and they provide great results when baked:
2) Roll your dough out to 1/8 inch thick (or less). You want your dough to be as thin as possible, while still being thick enough to maintain the cookie’s structure. 1/8 inch seems to be the magic number; sometimes I roll mine out even thinner than that. For a more doughy texture you can roll it thicker, but remember– the thicker the dough is, the harder it will be to handle and shape. Thick dough is also more prone to opening/spreading in the oven.
3) Use a thick filling that won’t run/weep from the cookies while baking. Knowing the proper consistency of a hamantaschen filling takes experience, because each type of filling is slightly different. Poppyseed filling has a very different texture than fruit filling, for example. A good filling should be somewhat thick so that it doesn’t run. However, you don’t want it too thick, or it will bake up dry or tough. It’s best to follow a tested and proven recipe. Here are some of the filling recipes available on my site, all of them have been thoroughly tested and I recommend them with confidence:
4) Cut your hamantaschen dough in 3-inch circles (or larger) before filling and folding into triangles. Anything smaller than 3 inches will be difficult to fold around your chosen filling.
5) Most fillings can be chilled before using to fill hamantaschen. I’ve found that fruit, poppy seed, and cream cheese-based fillings tend to be easier to work with when they’re chilled in the refrigerator. The chilling process thickens the fillings and makes them less sticky, which makes them easier to handle with when you’re assembling your hamantaschen. Not all fillings are helped by refrigeration, however– particularly chocolate-based fillings like Nutella, which will harden with prolonged refrigeration. Check your filling recipe to see if refrigeration is recommended.
6) Do not overfill your hamantaschen. Use 1 teaspoon of filling per hamantaschen cookie. Do not use more than 1 teaspoon. However tempting it might be to put lots of delicious filling in the middle of your cookie, using more than 1 teaspoon can cause your hamantaschen to spread open and leak in the oven. 1 teaspoon is plenty, especially when you cut your dough circles to 3 inches… it’s the perfect amount of filling.
7) Fold your triangles the right way! Using the proper folding method will help your hamantschen hold together and create a beautiful shape. I’ve provided detailed, illustrated, step-by-step folding instructions below.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be creating beautiful batches of homemade hamantaschen in no time! What are your favorite hamantaschen fillings?
- Roll dough between 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick and cut into circles with a cookie cutter or glass rim that is at least 3 inches wide. Place a teaspoon of filling (whichever filling you choose) into the center of each circle. Do not use more than a teaspoon of filling, or you run the risk of your hamantaschen opening and filling spilling out during baking. Cover unused circles with a lightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out while you are filling.
- Assemble the hamantaschen in three steps. First, grasp the left side of the circle and fold it towards the center to make a flap that covers the left third of the circle.
- Grasp the right side of the circle and fold it towards the center, overlapping the upper part of the left side flap to create a triangular tip at the top of the circle. A small triangle of filling should still be visible in the center.
- Grasp the bottom part of the circle and fold it upward to create a third flap and complete the triangle. When you fold this flap up, be sure to tuck the left side of this new flap underneath the left side of the triangle, while letting the right side of this new flap overlap the right side of the triangle. This way, each side of your triangle has a corner that folds over and a corner that folds under-- it creates a "pinwheel" effect. This method if folding is not only pretty-- it will help to keep the cookies from opening while they bake.
- Pinch each corner of the triangle gently but firmly to secure the shape.
- Repeat this process for the remaining dough circles. Bake according to recipe instructions.