Purim change of pace: a chocolate dough
NEW YORK (JTA)-Hamantaschen talk is always about the filling: prune, poppy, apricot and strawberry, just to name a few favorites. I love being creative with the fillings, but this year I wanted to change up things with a flavored dough rather than just a fun filling. And what better ingredient to include than chocolate.
Once you have made your chocolate dough, you can still be creative with the fillings, although I recommend two combinations below: triple chocolate, which is filled with nutella and drizzled with white chocolate, and chocolate mocha. You could also try filling the chocolate dough with raspberry jam, peanut butter or even halvah.
The key to making and working with this dough successfully is making it several hours in advance-even a day or two-so that it is properly chilled. It will feel sticky, so add flour as you roll it out to make sure it holds its shape.
Most hamantaschen bakers know that one of the keys to making a cookie that doesn't fall apart during the baking is to pinch the three points very carefully. Another tip is to lay out all the folded and filled cookies on a baking sheet and then pop them into the freezer for five to 10 minutes before baking. Chilled cookie dough simply bakes better.
If you enjoy the custom of handing out mishloach manot, or Purim baskets, in your community, these chocolate hamantaschen would go great with a coffee-themed package: include a small bag of high-quality coffee, a little bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans and the hamantaschen inside a big mug.
For the chocolate dough:
1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon milk (or almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/8 cup cocoa powder (I prefer Hershey's Special Dark)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the mocha cream cheese filling:
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brewed espresso or coffee
Pinch of salt
For the white chocolate drizzle:
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Nutella or milk chocolate chips
Chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)
Instant espresso powder (optional)
To make the dough:
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk and vanilla until mixed thoroughly.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.
Note: If the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by 1/4 cup until firm.
Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
To make mocha cream cheese:
Mix cream cheese, espresso, sugar and pinch of salt together in a small bowl. Allow to chill 1-3 hours.
To make the white chocolate drizzle:
Place white chocolate and vegetable oil in a small glass bowl. Heat in the microwave at 30-second intervals until melted. Mix until completely smooth. Use right away.
To make the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Dust your work surface with powdered sugar or flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about 1/4-inch thick.
Using a round cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in powdered sugar or flour before each cut.
Fill cookies with nutella, milk chocolate chips or mocha cream cheese filling.
Bake for 7-9 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely.
To assemble the mocha chocolate hamantaschen, top with crushed chocolate covered espresso beans or a dusting of instant espresso.
To assemble triple chocolate hamantaschen, use a fork or a small plastic squeeze bottle to drizzle white chocolate sauce back and forth on cookies. Allow to dry completely on a cooling rack before serving or packaging.
Shannon Sarna is editor of The Nosher blog on MyJewishLearning.com.