Purim is a joyous Jewish holiday in which we celebrate how Queen Esther helped outsmart and thwart the evil Haman, who had plotted to destroy all the Jews in ancient Shushan (in Prussia). We celebrate by reading the Megillah (Scroll of Esther) and drowning out Haman’s name with noisemakers. We also dress in costumes, play games at Purim carnivals and eat hamantaschen, which are triangular fruit-filled cookies shaped like Haman’s tri-cornered hat.
In past years, I’ve struggled with making gluten-free hamantaschen. One year I had so many failed batches that I laid down and cried. This year, I once again set out to make gluten-free hamantaschen for Purim, so my daughter could have treats to bring to her class parties and family celebrations.
I originally wanted the recipe to include ancient gluten-free grains like quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, because they have significantly more protein and fiber than standard gluten-free flours. But no go. The taste was too strong and color too dark. That was two batches down, plus one batch that ended up on the kitchen floor when the parchment paper slid off the cookie sheet. D’oh.
I’m glad I kept trying. The dairy-free version below has a delicate taste without a gluten-free grittiness. The brown rice flour and sorghum subtly add extra protein and fiber, and the fruit filling provides the perfect sweetness.
If you’re unfamiliar with hamantaschen, they are somewhat similar to the Central European kolache (or is it kolachki?), in that they are cookies with fruit centers. Traditional hamantaschen fillings are prune, poppyseed and apricot, but you can fill them with anything, including any kind of fruit preserves, chocolate chips, M&Ms or Nutella.
For a short video on how to shape the hamantaschen, see my Noshin’ on Hamantaschen post.
On Purim, we eat, drink and be merry. Enjoy!
(gluten-free, dairy-free, pareve, kid-friendly)
- 4 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (I used: 1-1/2 cups superfine brown rice flour, 1 cup potato starch, 1 cup tapioca starch, 3/4 cup sorghum flour, 1/4 cup sweet rice flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup safflower or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In large bowl, combine gluten-free flours, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- In mixer, beat eggs on high for 1 minute until thick. Add sugar and beat for 1 more minute.
- Add oil, orange juice, zest and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add flour combination slowly to mixture. Mix until well combined and dough begins to gather together (dough will not be stiff enough to form a ball).
- Remove dough from bowl, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate overnight. Dough can be stored in refrigerator for several days before baking.
- When you’re ready to bake the hamantaschen, preheat oven to 350.
- Work with a quarter of the dough at a time, leaving the remainder refrigerated until needed, so it doesn’t get too soft or sticky. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough between two pieces of waxed paper to about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness. If dough is sticky, sprinkle some gluten-free flour on the work surface and knead it into the dough.
- Using a wide juice glass (or biscuit cutter), press the top of the glass into the dough to cut out 3-inch circles of dough. Gather scraps and reroll for more circles. With a spatula, move dough circles to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Put approximately 1 teaspoon of filling (see options below) in the center of each circle. Fold up the sides of the circle to form a triangle (symbolic of Haman’s three-cornered hat). Leave an opening at center of the triangle to let the filling peek through. Pinch edges together to prevent filling from leaking out.
- Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Let cool slightly before transferring to cooling rack.
Yield: About 18 to 24 hamantaschen
Use your choice of fillings for the hamantaschen. Anything goes, with one caution: liquidy cherry pie filling makes hamantaschen mushy. Options include:
- Apricot preserves
- Raspberry or strawberry preserves
- Prune butter (lekvar), mixed with chopped prunes and walnuts
- Poppy seed filling (canned)
- Chocolate chips, M&Ms or Nutella