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Mint Chocolate Hamantaschen for Purim
Saturday, 01 March 2014
By Amy Kritzer

ImageWhen I try to explain the majority of Jewish holidays to my gentile friends, without going into an extensive spiel, I usually say something like this.

A powerful population tries to wipe us out, and by some miracle the Jewish people are victorious, so we celebrate by gorging ourselves with a gluttonous meal (I'm talking to you, latkes) and wine. Purim is a prime example.

The story of Purim tells of how our heroine Queen Esther, a young Jew living in Persia, saves the Jewish people from King Ahasuerus's evil adviser Haman's plan of annihilation. The King took Esther in as part of his harem, but loved her more than the other women and made her Queen. Lucky girl! Esther's cousin Mordechai insulted Haman by refusing to bow down to him, and as a result Haman decided to punish all the Jews. By death. Esther risked her own life to ask the King to stop Haman's plan and luckily it worked. The King orders that Haman be exterminated instead of the Jews. And so we rejoice! Besides the aforementioned eating and drinking, we celebrate with rowdy parties, costumes, and general merriment. Entire carnivals for the holiday with games and treats are popular amongst kids (and many adults). In fact, we are commanded to get so drunk that we can't tell the difference between Mordechai and Hamen.

The most traditional Purim recipe is a triangle shaped cookie named "hamantaschen" after Haman's three-cornered hat. Usually the cookies are filled with jam, prune or poppy seeds, but there is no need to set limits. Somehow prune and carnival don't gel in my book, but mint and chocolate sure do! These hamantaschen have a chocolate base and a sweet cream cheese and mint filling. Making them as delicious as they are beautiful!

Mint Chocolate Hamantaschen

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Inactive prep time: 1-2 hours
Serves: 15-18

For hamantaschen:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, plus 1 for egg wash
2 tablespoons orange juice

For filling:
1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon mint extract
Green food coloring (if desired)
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

Then add the wet ingredients, butter, vanilla, 1 egg and orange juice, and mix with fingers until combined and the dough is a uniform color.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch and cut into circles using a 3-inch cookie cutter (a wine glass also works well!)

To make filling, mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, mint extract and food coloring in a medium bowl until combined with a hand mixer or a spoon. Add a heaping teaspoon of the filling to the center of each hamantaschen. Fold in three corners to form a triangle and overlap the edges to seal.

Wash with remaining egg wash and bake for 12-16 minutes until browned on the edges. Cool, and if desired drizzle with chocolate melted in a double boiler or microwave.

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