Leah Koenig is an excellent food writer who has published in Saveur, The New York Times, Gastronomica and many other venues. She also writes the monthly food column for The Forward. Her forthcoming cookbook, The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook: Daily Meals for the Contemporary Jewish Kitchen, is available in March 2011.
Sweet or Savory Hamantaschen
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour, divided
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp milk or soy/almond etc. milk
1 tsp dried rosemary, basil, or oregano, optional (only use with savory filling)Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well until incorporated; set aside. In a separate bowl, sift 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt and herbs (if using) together. Add 1/2 of dry mixture into wet ingredients and combine until smooth. Add milk, then remaining flour, mixing until incorporated. If dough is sticky at this point, continue adding 1/4 cup of flour a little at a time until dough is firm. Gather dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To form cookies: gently roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/8-inch thick. Cut out rounds with a circular cookie cutter or the rim of a wide-mouthed glass and put on a baking sheet. Dot each circle with Negev Nectars jam, Onion and Mushroom filling (see below), or another desired filling. Firmly pinch corners into triangles (use a drop of water on each corner to help seal them shut) and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until delicately browned.
Savory Onion and Mushroom Filling
4 Tbsp Negev Nectars olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 pound mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup red wine
shredded white cheddar cheese, optional
Heat oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Add mushrooms and let cook until fragrant and about halved in size. Add red wine and salt to taste and cook 3-4 minutes, until liquid is dissolved. Let cool slightly before stuffing into hamantashen. If desired, sprinkle each stuffed hamantashen with cheese before baking.