SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The Jewish festival of Purim is almost here, which means it’s time for hamantaschen! 

The traditional triangle-shaped cookies have a reputation of being a little dry, but Shannon Sarna, cookbook author and editor of The Nosher, swears by the recipe below.

The South Orange mom of three said her children love getting creative while helping her bake lots of hamantaschen to give out to friends for the holiday.

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“Hamantaschen are the thing they look forward to making the most all year,” she said.

For your fillings, Sarna recommends something thick, like pie filling (not jelly) or cream cheese mixed with something. Fillings that are higher in sugar are also less likely to run and leak out of the corners, she said.

“I like easy fillings,” she said. “I love cookie butter — that’s my favorite.”

Another tip for preventing a mess when it comes to fillings: Don't overfill. “Less is more,” Sarna advised. “And don’t forget to chill them.”

Best Hamantaschen Recipe (republished with permission from The Nosher and Modern Jewish Baker)

½ cup unsalted butter (or margarine)

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 Tbs. milk (or other non-dairy milk)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. grated lemon zest (optional)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour plus more flour for rolling

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth.

Add egg, milk, vanilla and lemon zest until mixed thoroughly.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated. Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by a few Tbs. at a time until firmer.

Form dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Dust surface with flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about ¼ 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 flour before each cut. 

Fill each round with 1/2 tsp. of your favorite filling, and using your favorite method, pinch corners together tightly.

Pop into the fridge for 10 minutes, or freezer for 5 minutes, to ensure hamantaschen hold their shape.

Bake at 400° for about 7-9 minutes. 

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