There was a casual knock on the door not unlike any I haven't heard. Out of habit, I swung the brown wooden door wide open and did not expect to see 30 of the building's children dressed up in costumes and grins. They waltzed into the living room and broke into song and dance, in celebration of the happiest month of Adar. I couldn't stop smiling at their contagious joy and collaborative scheming. My daughter borrowed a sailor dress and my son donned his policeman costume. All I could see was their wide smiles and full bellied laughs. That's how Purim is done here in Israel. All out. The stores have glimmering hats and scarves, costumes galore, and colorful accessories. At the market, they play dance music loudly enough that I find my head bopping to the beat and if the song is really fun I might throw in a dance move. It's festive and energizing and a reminder to me to look for joy in the small moments every day because isn't that where true happiness lies? In the warmth of a kiss from my toddler that I didn't even ask for, or the sparkle in my son's eye after I've expanded his world with the answers to why and how. It's also right there when I cut into a bright red juicy grapefruit that's both sweet and bitter in perfect proportion. And of course, in a cookie but with chocolate. Joy is chocolate and you can't refute that. So naturally I had to make hamantashen with chocolate, because Purim.
Orange Zest Hamantashen with Dark Chocolate Filling
yields about 30
for the filling
1/3 cup chocolate spread
60 grams dark chocolate, very finely chopped
for the dough
3 medium eggs or 2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest or the zest from a whole orange
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Prepare the filling first. Mix the chocolate spread with the finely chopped chocolate and refrigerate until the dough is ready. Refrigerating the filling makes it easier to scoop and fill.
For the dough, mix the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and zest in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and knead well until a dough forms. If the dough is sticky, add more flour. You should have a smooth, pliable dough.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and using a glass cup or a round cookie cutter that's at least 3 inches, cut out round shapes. Transfer to a parchment lined baking pan and fill each round with 1 teaspoon of the filling. To shape the hamantashen, fold the left side of the circle until it slightly covers the filling, fold the right side towards the center with the top part overlapping the left and pinching firmly so you get the tip of a triangle. Fold the bottom upward, with the right side of the flap overlapping the right fold and the left side of the flap under the left fold. This prevents the hamantashen from opening while baking. Line all the hamantaschen on the baking sheet, fitting as many as you can since they don't spread. Continue this process until you've used up the dough.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking up on them by the 10 minute mark. You want them barely golden, not overdone. Let cool and sprinkle powdered sugar. Store them in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 week. They freeze well, too.
You should also check out my Pizza Hamantashen and my Dukkah Hamantashen