Chef Michelle’s Ginger-Apricot Hamantaschen

With the Jewish holiday of Purim around the corner, Chef Michelle whipped up her favorite holiday treat: hamantaschen!

As a young Jewish girl who attended Hebrew school three times a week, I was taught about all sorts of holidays, traditions, champions, scholars…you know the rest. There are few things that have stayed with me in my adult life, but the holiday of Purim is undoubtedly ingrained in my brain.

Reason 1: The story surrounding the holiday of Purim has a queen named Esther, which also happens to be my mom’s name. Easy. Done. Remembered.
Reason 2: The villain in this story was a guy named Haman. He was a bad dude and we celebrate his downfall by eating cookies shaped like his triangular hat. Purim. Forever. Sealed.

I always made hamantaschen with my mom that had orange juice in the dough (store bought, no doubt), so, I chef’d that up with some fresh orange juice and zest, to stay true to my mom’s recipe (*Tradition*), and to keep that little zing in the cookie dough. As for fillings…the options are endless (poppy seed, raspberry, prune, chocolate, even nutella), but I’m an apricot lover. Something about the tart-and-sweet combo, and bright orange color speaks to me. I’ve jazzed this recipe up a bit with candied ginger and warm spices like cardamom and cinnamon. This citrusy, bright, fragrant, and sweet cookie will make sure you never forget Purim again!

For hamantaschen dough:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange
2¼ cups all purpose flour + extra for dusting
¼ teaspoon salt

For apricot filling:
8 ounces apricot preserves
¼ cup candied ginger
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon cardamom
Turbinado sugar (for sprinkling)
1 egg (for egg wash)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place butter in a large bowl and allow to soften at room temperature. Alternatively, heat butter in microwave at 10-second intervals until softened, but not melted. Rinse orange, zest up to ½ teaspoon (if desired), and halve orange. Squeeze 1 tablespoon orange juice into a small bowl. Separate 2 eggs into a small bowl, discarding whites.

2. Add powdered sugar to bowl with softened butter and whisk until fluffy and fully combined. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and orange zest (if using) to bowl. Whisk until fluffy. Add flour and salt to bowl and stir until combined. Add ½ -1 tablespoon of fresh orange juice as necessary, until dough is moist and slightly sticky. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes, but no longer than 1 hour.

3. While dough chills, finely chop candied ginger. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl and whisk vigorously. Place apricot preserves, cinnamon, cardamom, and candied ginger in a small pot over medium heat. Stir until apricot preserves have thickened, and flavors have melded, about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in a pinch of salt and remove pot from heat.

4. After dough has chilled, sprinkle flour for dusting on a clean work surface. Place dough on surface, and, using a rolling pin, roll dough into a large ¼-inch thick disk. Using a cookie cutter or glass, cut 3-inch circles of dough and place them on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all dough has been used.

5. Spoon 2 teaspoons of apricot mixture into the center of each circle. Pinch 3 sides of the circle towards the jam, and pinch to seal at the ends, leaving it open in the center. Brush egg wash over edges of cookie, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

6. Transfer baking sheet to oven and cook until edges of cookies are golden, and dough no longer looks wet, about 14-18 minutes.

Story contributed by Plated Culinary Producer Michelle Kresch.

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