Purim is my absolute, hands down, favorite holiday! I don’t only love it because it happens to be my birthday (I was born on Shushan Purim), but for other reasons as well. Getting dressed up in costume is super fun; who doesn’t love to play pretend from time to time! I also love coming up with fun themes for my shalach manot. I don’t go overboard, I keep them simple- Pesach is approaching, after all, and who needs so much candy in the house. Now for my favorite part which should be obvious since I am a pastry chef...I love baking hamentaschen.
Hamentaschen are probably the perfect cookies in my humble opinion. What is better than a sweet cookie filled with delicious jam? When I was younger, my mom and I had to make so many batches of hamentaschen because my family and friends would gobble them up so quickly. My mom tried to hide them so we wouldn’t have to keep baking them every night, but that never worked-someone always found them.
While I love the classic hamentasch, I kind of get bored of the same old thing. I need to mix it up a little, turn a classic recipe on its head. We used to experiment with different fillings a lot when I was younger. We would try filling the hamentasch dough with chocolate chips, marshmallows, chocolate spread and other various creations that didn’t go so well. We also used to try a peanut butter and jelly filling. For some reason, the peanut butter didn’t really bake well. It would dry out and become crumbly. I thought to myself, what if I make a peanut butter dough and fill it with delicious fruit jams! Peanut Butter and Jelly Hamentaschen! This was my mini aha moment. I was so proud of the idea. The only problem was that I hadn’t seen it done anywhere which means there are no recipes available. I was challenged with developing my own recipe and I am so happy with the results. These are a great alternative to the classic and will appeal to the kid in everyone. Chag sameach!