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Let's Make Hamantaschen!

Cookies for Purim! flickr/polkaroo

Next week, Jewish families around the world will celebrate the special holiday called Purim. On this day, they celebrate the biblical story of Esther where God protects the Jewish people from harm. It’s a day to celebrate with family and friends and bake traditional Purim treats, such as Hamantaschen!

Hamantaschen, meaning “Haman’s pockets,” is the most popular Purim cookie. This reference comes from the biblical story of Esther. She was married to the King of Persia, but no one knew that she was Jewish. So when Haman, one of the King’s advisors, paid King Xerxes so that he could slaughter the Jews, Esther decided to reveal her faith and ask the King to save her people.

In Hebrew the same treats are called Oznei Haman, meaning “Haman’s ears.” Tradition says that Haman had strange, twisted ears, and these cookies remind us of our defeated enemy.

Learn more about the story and traditions of Purim on our Purim resource page!


1 jar of jam – or a few jars of jam in order to make different flavored cookies.

½ cup water

½ cup margarine

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/3 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg white

Cinnamon-sugar mixture


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat margarine at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well.

Add egg, orange juice, and vanilla.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add to margarine mixture; stir into a uniform dough.

Shape dough into a flat disk. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Working with sections of the dough at a time, roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut circles, about three inches in diameter with either a cookie cutter or a glass cup.

Place a 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the center of each circle.

Shape into a triangle by folding two sides of the circle to the center and pinch the corner together. Fold remaining side toward the center and pinch the other two corners together. Some filling should be visible in the center.

Place Hamentaschen on a greased baking sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 20 to 35 minutes. 

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