Making vegan hamantaschen isn’t much of a stretch from the original recipe for the delicious traditional Purim cookies. Here we replace dairy butter with vegan butter, and use applesauce instead of egg. Instead of using white flour, whole wheat pastry flour or light spelt flour make these more wholesome as well.
Though poppyseed and prune hamantaschen are more traditional, I like to make them with at least two, or even three types of jam for variety and color. If you’re looking for a vegan version of the kind using poppyseed, see the recipe on Post Punk Kitchen. If jam is more your jam, read on …
About the Purim holiday
The Jewish holiday of Purim is all about fun and festivity. It falls on the 14th day of the month of Adar on the Hebrew calendar, which ends up being in late winter or early spring — usually some time around March.
The story of Purim, from the Biblical book named for the young Jewish woman Esther, who defeated the evil Haman, adviser to the Persian king, to save the Jewish people of Persia.
Hamantaschen literally means “Haman’s ears” — not a very appetizing image, but the cookies themselves are amazing.
Legend has it that while Queen Esther was (unwillingly) a part of the Persian king’s court, she ate only legumes, grains, nuts, and fruit as a way to maintain a Kosher diet. She loved seeds, too — caraway and poppy in particular, which is likely why poppy seed hamantaschen are a tradition.
A few tips on making vegan hamantaschen
The recipe box will give you all the information you need to make these cookies, but I wanted to give you a few extra notes on the variables.
Consistency of the vegan butter will affect the texture of the dough: The more commercial brands are softer and a bit easier to work with; the artisanal varieties are firmer and harder, more like dairy butter. But they all work, as long as they’re well integrated into the dough.
If you’re a fan of coconut oil, some vegan recipes suggest using it instead of vegan butter. It needs to be solid when used.
Make sure the dough is cold when you roll it: Many recipes say to place the dough in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes, and you can cut the time down by popping it into the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
The size of the cutter will affect the yield: I think the ideal size for a round cutter to make hamantaschen is 2 1/2 to 3 inches. So if you use a smaller one, obviously, you’ll get more cookies (though don’t go smaller than 2 inches), and fewer if you use a larger one. That’s why there’s a rather wide range in terms of the yield.
No cookie cutter? No problem. Truth be told, I used a wine glass whose diameter is a bit shy of 3 inches.
Once your dough is cut and arranged on a parchment-lined baking sheet, it’s time to add the jam. Place about a teaspoon full in the center of each round of dough.
To close up the cookies, start by pinching one end, then two other ends to form a triangle. It doesn’t hurt to do this with slightly damp fingers.
Pinch the cookies over the jam a bit more than what you think you’ll need to, as they open up a bit during baking. As you can see, I’m not the most skillful baker when it comes to working with dough, but no matter, they look great once they’re baked, and more importantly, they’ll taste amazing!
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry or spelt flour, plus more as needed
- 3/4 cup natural granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup vegan butter
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fillings (use any, or a combination)
- Apricot or peach all-fruit preserves
- Strawberry all-fruit preserves
- Blackberry or blueberry all-fruit preserves
- Prune butter
- Combine the flour with the sugar, baking power, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine completely.
- Add the vegan butter, divided up into bits, along with the applesauce and vanilla. Work together with a pastry blender or large fork; or, truth be told, it’s easier to work together with clean hands. If the dough isn't holding together, add a little more vegan butter or apple sauce until it does.
- Once the dough holds together smoothly, wrap it in plastic wrap or a produce bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes; 15 minutes in the freezer works, too.
- When ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Divide the dough in half and roll out evenly on a well floured board to about a 1/8-inch thickness. With a cookie cutter or the open end of a glass, cut into approximately 2 1/2- to 3-inch circles. Repeat with the remaining dough; combine scraps of dough together until it’s all used up.
- Put a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle of dough, then pinch the dough into a triangle with the filling securely inside, yet open to view (see photos above the recipe box). Pinch closed a bit more than you think you’ll need to, as the cookies open up a bit as they baked.
- Arrange the cookies on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden. Don’t overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly on racks or plates before serving.
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