Tag archive for "Hamantash"

Egg, Nut, and Dairy Free (Vegan) Hammentashen for Purim

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

Egg, Nut, and Dairy Free (Vegan) Hammentashen for Purim

3 Comments 03 March 2015

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.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the vanilla and blend again.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. 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.
  6. Place the dough into a Ziploc bag, or wrap in saran wrap and chill in the freezer for an hour.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Bring the sides up over the filling and press into a triangular shape. Pinch the seams closed so the filling doesn’t ooze out.
  12. 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.
  13. Remove and cool for about 1 minute on baking tray, then transfer to a cookie rack.




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Hammentashen Challah for Your Purim Seuda

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

Hammentashen Challah for Your Purim Seuda

2 Comments 06 February 2012

This year, our Purim meal is traditionally a meat one, and its a great time to have the entire family over and join in on a festive meal. This pareve challah recipe is a take on Haman’s triangular hat in which the Purim story of Queen Esther’s trial and tribulation is read to all men women and children on this happy and commemorative Jewish holiday.
Thank you Sara for helping us all out with our Purim menus! Love the variation on the challah recipe- Perfect for our Purim Seuda and so easy to make in advance!
“Hi Marlene,
These hamantashen challahs were a big hit at my Purim table so I’d like to share the recipe with you.
Sara Kasten.”
  • 5 large onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  •  salt and pepper to taste
Chop the onion and garlic and saute in the olive oil until a golden brown.  Season with salt and pepper and let cool.
Use your regular challah recipe and when ready to shape, tear off medium pieces of dough and form into balls.  Use a rolling pin  to flatten the dough into a circle making sure it is not rolled too thin.  Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the onion mixture into the center of the circle.  Pinch 3 sides together and form a triangle shape, but leave enough of an opening in the triangle so that the filling shows through.  Place on your baking sheet with the filled side down so that it will not split open as it rises.  Let the filled dough rise and brush with beaten yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake as usual for a small challah and cool on a wire rack. These may be frozen and reheated in a warm oven for 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy the challah and the compliments!!
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Fresh and Wholesome DIY Purim Baskets

at home, DIY, purim recipes, baskets, and decor

Fresh and Wholesome DIY Purim Baskets

2 Comments 01 January 2012

Hello Hostesses!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been bustling around this week, making lists of…well, darn near everything. Groceries, to-dos, important events… and of, course, with one of the most festive holidays fast approaching, you may also be making lists of people you’d like to include in your celebrations, and what you plan to give them.

I’ve received mishloach manot on Purim that were supremely elaborate and packed to the brim, and I’ve also received bags of goodies that were extremely thought provoking and personal. One in particular that comes to mind was a bag given to me by one of the ushers at my temple, a lady whose friendship I am lucky to have. Her gift certainly showed how much thought she’d put into it, maybe in a little less conventional way. Her pointedly plain, brown paper bag included one small bottle of kosher wine, one apple, one bag of carrot sticks, one bag of prune hamentashen, and one bag of ribbon candy. Included was a note about how each item in the bag requires a different blessing, and that in the midst of all the revelry, we should take the time to remember the holiness in each item. It was a very touching sentiment, one that I will remember fondly for years to come.

There are many ways to put together your gifts of Purim food items. A popular way to arrange your baskets is to create themes, based on whatever strikes your fancy–the season, the recipient’s hobbies or passions, a sports or movie theme, a springtime theme if it’s warm where you are, or a chilly weather theme if you’re still getting snow. It can be  kosher foods based on a favorite movie or play, a color theme, anything your heart desires.

I made a few different theme baskets to show you this year.

This happy hostess is stuck in Saint Louis, where we got another inch of ice and snow last night. While hunkered under my blanket with my husband, I thought about some of my warm and cozy comfort foods. And thus, the Snuggle Purim Basket was born:

This basket was super easy to put together. I bought:

  • Some 1-quart canning jars
  • A bag of raffia
  • A rectangular basket, about 4″ deep
  • A small 1-cup jar with an airtight lid
  • Pre-made ciabatta rolls from a local bakery
  • A tin of chocolate chip cookies

I made a large batch of basic vegetable noodle soup. You can also simply buy cans of your favorite ready-to-eat brand. Because the cookies and ciabatta contain dairy, I’d stick with vegetarian soups like vegetable barley, tomato, split pea, etc.

I ladled the soup into the clean canning jar, place the lid tightly, and wrapped with raffia to make a decorative bow. Because this should be eaten quickly, there’s no need to actually “can” and pressurize the soup unless you think the recipient will want to store it. It will keep, refrigerated, for 2-4 days. For artistic purposes, I removed the packaging from the ciabatta and cookies, but you can keep yours on if your baskets will be sitting out a while.

I spooned about a cup of cappuccino mix into my smaller jar. You can use instant coffee, hot cocoa blend, teabags, whatever you like. You can add a note if you like, by writing out mixing instructions on a small tag and tying it to the jar with a strand of raffia or ribbon.

Ray of Sunshine Purim Basket:

To battle some of this cold, I thought–“What’s the most bright, summery activity there is?” The answer was immediate–picnics, of course! What says summer cheer better than red and white checked tablecloths, fresh fruit, and sunshine? Nothing I can think of.

So I put together the “Ray of Sunshine” basket.

This is arranged in an actual picnic basket, and though the photos are too close to see, all the food items are nestled in red and white checked cloth napkins. A trip to Hobby Lobby allowed me to pick up some silk sunflowers and some fuzzy little bees for decoration. They attach with wire, easy peasy.

In this basket, I arranged all your summer picnic staples.

  • Cold fried chicken– picked up at a local deli.
  • Fresh fruit
  • A large bottle of lemonade A canning jar filled with Fresh Garden Salad, decorated in a gingham ribbon.
  • Corn on the cob, wrapped in aluminum foil
  • Chocolate chip cookies– if your recipient keeps kosher, substitute a non-dairy dessert, such as macaroons or pareve hamentashen.

Even though summer is quite a ways away here in St. Louis, one can always daydream about it. One of my favorite things to do when the weather is warm is visit one of our many beautiful vineyards. My husband and I used to make a monthly tradition of visiting a local winery and enjoying an afternoon on the terrace. So when I asked him for a basket idea, he suggested perhaps revisiting one of our favorite themes.

The “Afternoon at the Vineyard” Purim basket:

This is a smaller basket, but absolutely packed with decadence and deliciousness.

Everything is snuggled nicely into a green satin cloth napkin. You can use raffia or cotton batting underneath to help keep everything in place and fill in any extra spaces–not that you’ll have extra room with all the goodness in here!

This basket contains:

  • Two single-serving bottles of sweet Riesling. Any bottle of your favorite wine will work. Or you can give juice.
  • Bunches of grapes, both green and red
  • A wheel of Gouda (again, any cheese will be fine–just make sure it’s a hard enough cheese that it can withstand room temperatures if it will be sitting out for a while. You can find kosher cheese at any local Whole Foods or kosher market)
  • A small tub of hummus. I chose sundried tomato and basil flavor.
  • A package of water crackers. I chose “vegetable medley” flavor.

I stuck a few cookies in there to fill out the space, and I also had a small tub of olives–greek and italian, packed in oil, but they somehow got swiped. I think my husband forgot I was making baskets and helped himself to a snack.

Purim Brunch Basket:

And of course, if you or your little ones will be delivering baskets in the earlier hours, nothing beats a Purim Brunch Basket! Give your recipient the best gift of all–a full gourmet breakfast with no dishes and no cooking!

I picked up a few things for this basket, but it’s all super easy stuff to make yourself, too.

I used a basket I had around the house, and just lined it in a remnant of pretty pastel polkadot fabric I bought at a craft store. With prices usually less than $5 a yard, check out your local fabric or craft store’s clearance racks for interesting fabrics. You don’t have to buy a lot, and it always comes in handy for lining gift baskets, wrapping jars, anything!

This one is so versatile. You really can put anything in it.

I chose to add a 2-serving spinach and mushroom quiche. You can make your own, or make a dozen little mini-quiches, instead.

I also bought a couple miniature loaves of pumpkin raisin bread from my favorite Mom-n-Pop bakery, and accompanied these with fresh fruit and two bottles of Simply Pure orange juice.

You can mix and match whatever you like into such a basket:

  • Dry cereal and bottles of milk
  • Homemade bread, scones, or muffins
  • Hard boiled eggs, in the shell
  • A wheel of cheese
  • Pastries
  • Homemade granola bars
  • Jars of instant coffee or teabags

Oh, my head is reeling from all the choices!

Whether you copy one of these, or if one item inspires you and you run with that idea into a whole new world of possibilities, your recipient is going to adore your gift and the thought that accompanies it. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. Even if your goodies are simple and tucked into a plain paper bag, if you put a little thought and meaning into it, the person who opens it is sure to remember it for years to come.

Enjoy, and happy eating!

Charlie Michelle

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Sweet and Savory Hamentashen by Leah Koenig

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

Sweet and Savory Hamentashen by Leah Koenig

3 Comments 01 January 2012

Leah Koenig’s Sweet and Savory Hammentashen:

“Nothing brings out the baking spirit in me like Purim.  Several weeks before the holiday, I start dreaming up new exciting fillings to spoon onto my cookies before pinching them into the familiar tri-cornered shape recalling Haman’s hat.  Never a fan of mohn (poppy seeds) or artificial cherry pie filling, my hamentashen fillings tend to skew either towards the sweet-tart – things like lemon curd, apricot marmalade or homemade pear and ginger compote (see below for a kosher recipe) – or the all out, hands-down decadent – think spoonfuls of Nutella, or white chocolate chips swirled with raspberry jam.

But a few years ago, while in the midst of one of my pre- Purim daydream sessions, my thoughts drifted from sweet to savory.  What would it taste like, I wondered, if I cut back on sugar in the dough and replaced it with dried herbs?  And what sort of filling combinations might compliment this savory foundation?  After a few excited rounds of testing, tweaking and tasting, I hit the Purim jackpot: a rich, herb-flecked “cookie” encasing a medley of lightly caramelized mushrooms and onion, browned in the oven until golden and unbelievably fragrant (see below for a kosher recipe)

One bite was all it took to know that I’d stumbled on a new annual tradition – for me anyways!  Lest one think that savory hamentashen sounds too unconventional to try, consider the spinach knish, the Middle Eastern bureka or the Italian calzone.  All of these delicious pastries combine dough with meat, vegetables and any number of tasty fillings – so why should the hamentashen be left out of the fun?”

Savory Hamentashen

Directions, Dough:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, basil, oregano, or rosemary
  • 2 tbsp milk

Cream butter, egg and sugar. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and herbs together and set aside. Add 1/2 of dry mixture into wet ingredients and combine until smooth. Add milk, then remaining flour mixture, stirring until incorporated. If dough is too sticky at this point, continue adding flour until it is firm enough to withstand being rolled out.

Gently roll out dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds with a circular cookie cutter or the rim of a wide-mouthed glass and transfer to a baking sheet. Dot each circle with filling (see below).  Pinch corners into triangles. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until delicately browned.

Variation 1: This dough can be used for sweet hamentashen too.  Increase the sugar to 3 Tbs and omit the dried herbs.

Variation 2: If you would like to eat these hamentashen after a meat meal, replace the butter with non-hydrogenated margarine (e.g. Smart Balance) and the milk with soy or almond milk.

Savory Onion and Mushroom Filling

  • 3/4 pound mushrooms (white cap or cremini)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (optional)

Chop mushrooms and onion into small dice. Heat oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat and brown onions. Add mushrooms and salt and let cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and about halved in size. Add red wine (if desired) and salt and cook 2-3 minutes, until liquid is dissolved. Let cool before stuffing into hamentashen.

Sweet Pear and Ginger Compote

  • 2 bosc pears, chopped
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 Tbs water
  • 1 1/2 tsp crystallized ginger, chopped

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring regularly until the pears soften and soak up the fragrant liquid, about 8 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before using as hamentashen filling.

Happy Purim!

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Queen Esther Reigns and Entertains With Regal Purim Decor!

at home, parties, purim recipes, baskets, and decor, purim table settings

Queen Esther Reigns and Entertains With Regal Purim Decor!

No Comments 17 December 2011


The Queen Reigns & Entertains!


Why not go all out this Purim for your special guests? Details, details, details– that’s what it’s all about! Pull out your finest wines and most creative ideas, and share the celebration with special friends and loved ones.
Your guests’ eyes deserve a feast as well! Achieve a regal and festive effect through antique golden dishware with matching glasses and utensils. The bright gold carving on each contrast and mirror blood red tablecloth with intricate details of its own.
Stained glass lanterns and candles provide a warm, inviting glow, beckoning to your guests to sit and enjoy each other’s company in front of the flickering light. A variety of masquerade masks and handmade Hamentashen help lighten the mood and bolster the festive atmosphere. Happy Purim!

Lanterns and masks from Pier1 Imports (pier1imports.com)
Design by Salut Event Planning (
Hamentashen by One More Bite Signature Desserts, 646 207 7019
Photography by Morris Antebi Photography (http://www.morrisantebi.com/


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