Saturday, March 24, 2007


The Altitude Adjustment Section
I know there is a story about Purim and Hammen and his hat and thus the hammentachen cookies you eat at Purim, but that is the extent of my Jewish background. All you need to know is this recipe was handed down to me from Aunt Ceil, the best cook in my family who is no longer with us, and who was not terribly willing to share her recipes with me. But once she tasted my carrot cake and asked for my recipe so I said okay if you give me your Hammentachen recipe. She gave it to me but left out the sugar amount. An oversight...? I don’t think so, and she never told me the mixing procedure but I think I got it. By the way, she later said: ”You know that carrot cake, I make it better than you!” Of course she did. Now this is a filled cookie and you can use prune butter (lekvar) which I modify, poppyseed filling (mun), or apricot butter or jam.

Ingredients for filling
1 jar Lekvar (prune butter)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Just combine and set aside!

Ingredients for dough
1 cup Crisco, chilled
1 cup sugar
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
3 eggs
3 to 4 cups A.P. flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Put 3 cups flour, sugar, salt and powder in a bowl. Add Crisco, and blend with your fingertips till mixture resembles small crumbs. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, lemon juice and zest. Add to flour mixture and mix with your hands. If mixture is soft and sticky, add the remaining 1 cup of flour. Bring dough together and wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight. The next day, form ping pong-size balls of dough and pinch them out till they are 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter. Place on floured board. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center and fold up three sides to form a triangle. Pinch edges closed leaving some of the filling exposed in the center. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, till golden brown. All these filling can be bought at gourmet stores, or Zabars if you are in the neighborhood! This recipe makes 3 dozen big cookies.