In recent months, I have become obsessed with baking. I have purchased more baking supplies in the past few months than most people buy over the course of several years. I bought so much in fact that I had to get a commercial-sized shelving unit just to house all of it.
I have baked everything from red velvet cupcakes — on three separate occasions, with the first failed attempt using beets to color them naturally — to a cake I carved into a tooth (for a dentist's birthday), to chocolate chip brownies, to oatmeal raisin cookies, all of which were baked from “scratch.”
This is a far departure from the boxed cakes and cookies I have made most of my life. I now find that the remaining boxed cakes and frostings are going to sit on the shelf until they expire, and for once in my life that doesn’t bother me one bit.
My most recent venture was my first-ever attempt at hamantaschen, a traditional treat for the Jewish holiday of Purim — coming up sundown tomorrow. As with most of the recipes I have attempted, I wanted to do a practice batch before I needed to make them, in case it ended in disaster (like the beet-colored red velvet cupcakes). Also, as with all of the newer recipes I’ve attempted, I found it on allrecipes.com, my new favorite place on the internet.
Since I am a perfectionist, and like everything to be done right the first time, I always take much longer to prepare and complete a recipe than each one indicates. If a recipe claims the finished product will be ready in two hours and 15 minutes, as this one does, it will probably take a minimum of three; I call this “Nikki time.” I think it ended up taking me even longer this time, as I had never worked with such a thick and sticky dough before. The dough was so thick that I ended up breaking my favorite spatula in half.
Although it took quite a bit longer than anticipated, and my feet were killing me by the end of the night — as my wonderful anti-fatigue foam kitchen mat was not at my disposal — I was very pleased with the finished product. I find it funny just how difficult it was to roll out the dough, as I ended up using a great deal of flour on my prep surface and the dough itself; “lightly floured” my butt.
I did make a couple of minor tweaks to the recipe. While the recipe called for a poppy seed filling, I happen to hate poppy seeds and went with three different flavors of my favorite preserves (Bonne Maman wild blueberry, strawberry and apricot). I also used non-dairy margarine to keep the cookies parve. Lastly, the recipe said to roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness, but I rolled it out much thinner (about 1/8 inch) and was very pleased with both the cookies themselves and the overall yield; the recipe was supposed to make only 36, but I got 59 delicious cookies.
You can find the recipe at this URL: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Hamantashen/Detail.aspx?scale=36&ismetric=0