Meet my favorite Mom with a Mission- Rachel Orenstein Packer. Last year Rachel and I met somehow via the web, and Rachel graciously offered to write up some recipes for adults and kids that have egg, nut, and dairy allergies, which oddly seem so prevalent nowadays. Rachel was so passionate about the topic, she then started her own blog, Life is Good, Lick the Bowl and her recipes and valuable advice have been featured in many magazines, newspapers and blogs. Try this Hammentashen recipe which uses moist tofu as a useful substitute for eggs.
Egg, Nut, and Dairy Free (Vegan) Hammentashen
By: Rachel Ornstein Packer
As you may know, my youngest, Ari, was diagnosed with food allergies to eggs and nuts three years ago. At the time, Purim was just around the corner and it painfully dawned on me that he wasn’t going to be able to eat any of the hamantashen. Ari usually begins asking for hamantashen in September. Clearly, this was going to be difficult.
My attempts to distract him by focusing on Purim’s non-food related activities such as the costume and the carnival, ultimately failed. After all, food is the cornerstone of every Jewish holiday and the iconic hamantash is the defining food of Purim. I hated the fact that food allergies had so quickly dampened Ari’s joy of Purim, and I was very determined to change that.
It has been three years since that fateful day at the allergist’s office, and while there have been plenty of adjustments, mistakes, questions, and frustrations along the way, one thing is certain…Jewish holidays feel joyful again.
This recipe for Chocolate Hamantashen is my family’s favorite creation thus far. It’s a kosher recipe thats egg, nut and dairy free, and if you have any vegan friends or relatives on your mishloach manot list…these are perfect. For those who are faint of heart when they hear the word “tofu”, please don’t be. These hamantashen are so filled with chocolaty goodness, honestly, you can’t even taste it…really.
If you are baking for a nut allergic individual, make sure that your ingredients (especially the chocolate) are truly nut free. Please be aware that not all chocolate is the same. Some people are highly sensitive to chocolate products even if they don’t contain nuts because they are made on the same product line as nut candy. To play it safe, always check your products carefully and ask questions. If you would like to know more, check out www.foodallergy.org.
Rice Dream Semi Sweet Baking Chips, (these aren’t made in a nut free facility, but they use very good manufacturing processes to avoid contamination). They are also completely gluten free but do contain soy. They pack a nice chocolate punch. They work better as a filling for larger hamantashen. OU Pareve.
Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. These chips are manufactured in a nut, gluten, egg, and dairy and soy free facility. Can’t go wrong with these and they are great for a chocolate ganache. They melt very well and taste amazing. They only come in mini form.
HASHAHAR H’AOLE Cocoa Parve Spread. This is my go to for filling hamantashen. The container specifically states that they are nut free. Their website indicates that there are no nuts in any of their products. Again, if you aren’t sure, ASK! Chag Sameach.
Cocoa Powder- I use Hershey’s without any problems, but again…some people may be sensitive. Always check the labels.
Chocolate Hamantashen- Makes approx. 3 dozen small hamantashen
- ½ block Soft Silken Tofu (I use Mori-nu brand)
- 1 cup sugar (I use Florida Crystals)
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
A Word about Tofu
Tofu is very easy and versatile. In fact, I use it in many baking recipes for various holidays. Below are a few tofu pointers.
- It comes in different consistencies. For this recipe, soft, silken tofu is best. Drain the tofu for a few minutes to remove any excess water.
- Tofu comes in a vacuum-packed box in the refrigerator section of your grocery store (usually in the produce section).
- Cut along the dotted lines at the top and the tofu will easily slide out, just gently guide it into the strainer.
- After draining, cut the block in half.
- Before placing it in the food processor, cut the ½-block piece into smaller pieces to distribute it more thoroughly in the food processor.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, blend the tofu, oil and sugar until ingredients are smooth and creamy. Make sure to scrape down the sides in order to get all the little bits of tofu blended.
- Add the vanilla and blend again.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Combine the liquid ingredients with the dry and mix. You will have to switch to using your hands until it becomes dough. The dough will be sticky. If it is too sticky, just sprinkle with some more flour while you work it into smooth dough.
- Place the dough into a Ziploc bag, or wrap in saran wrap and chill in the freezer for an hour.
- When you are ready to roll out the dough, work with what you need and keep the rest in the freezer. The dough softens rather quickly and is delicate so you have to keep it cold and work fast.
- Place the dough on a floured surface (I usually cut a gallon size Ziploc bag in half and place the dough between the two sheets with a little flour, I find that the dough doesn’t stick to the bags as much.
- Roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness and use a round cookie cutter to make rounds. I actually use a small juice glass that is 2 ½ inches round. You can make them bigger if you so desire.
- Fill the hamantashen with a ¼ to ½ tsp. of filling. You can use fruit preserves, jellies, chocolate ganache, plain old chocolate chips (use mini chips for mini hamantashen because they don’t tear the dough), or my favorite…Israeli chocolate spread.
- Bring the sides up over the filling and press into a triangular shape. Pinch the seams closed so the filling doesn’t ooze out.
- Space the hamantashen out about an inch apart on your baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes. Remember, if you want them crunchy like a cookie; keep them in longer than 15 minutes. If you are a cakey hamantashen lover, then begin checking them at around 13 minutes to see how well cooked they are.
- Remove and cool for about 1 minute on baking tray, then transfer to a cookie rack.