This Purim, Drink Your Cocktails and Eat Them Too

Espresso martini-inspired hamantaschen are just the thing!

By: Amy Kritzer Becker

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As a new mother, it’s important to me to share Jewish rituals with my three-month-old daughter. I have fond memories of cooking and baking for the holidays with my own mom and Bubbe and wasted no time continuing the tradition. Soon after her birth, we made potato latkes and dreidel-shaped cookies and watched a cheesy made-for-TV Hanukkah movie together. (If I’m being honest, she mostly napped). I knew come Purim, I wanted to make classic hamantaschen with her too. However, after 10 months of not drinking while I was pregnant, I felt this year’s recipe should have an adult twist. After all, my daughter is not even on solid food yet, so we can do a kid-friendly recipe next year.

First, a brief recap of Purim: Many years ago (around 400 BCE), the Persian queen, Esther, saved all the Jews from the murderous plot of the king’s advisor, Haman. She courageously revealed her hidden Jewish identity and shared Haman’s evil plans with the king, under the guide of her cousin, Mordechai. So, we celebrate her bravery on Purim!

Even though Purim is commonly thought of as a “kid’s holiday,” drinking alcohol is ironically one of the requirements of the day. Seriously! We are supposed to imbibe until we cannot tell the difference between the bad guy, Haman, and our hero, Mordechai. We celebrate with lots of fun traditions too. We have Purim carnivals, costumes, shake noisemakers, and give gift baskets to friends. And did I mention the cookies?

We eat hamantaschen as a nod to evil Haman’s triangular-shaped hat, but these cookies often get a bad reputation for being dry and uninspired. I’m here to say it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are my top tips for making perfect hamantaschen every time.

  • Do not overmix the dough; this leads to dry, dense cookies.
  • Do not add too much flour; the dough should be slightly sticky before chilling.
  • I like to use a recipe with baking powder, which adds a fluffy, chewy texture instead of dry and crunchy.
  • Pinch or fold the corners to ensure the cookies don’t open while baking.
  • I also freeze them briefly and add an egg wash to further ensure perfectly shaped cookies.
  • Don’t overfill, just a teaspoon of filling will do.

And speaking of filling, make sure you have a gooey filling to balance the cookie. Jam is a classic and Nutella a modern classic, but this year, I was inspired by one of my favorite of-the-moment cocktails and the drinking-on-Purim tradition when making this specialty.

Instead of pairing my hamantaschen with a boozy drink, I decided to put the alcohol in the classic holiday cookie. I’ve made boozy hamantaschen before, like Strawberry Champagne Rainbow and Bananas Foster varieties. But this year, I went with the trendy and sophisticated Espresso Martini. Espresso Martini Hamantaschen are an adult-worthy treat on their own, with a coffee chocolate cookie stuffed with Kahlua cream cheese and sprinkled with a sweet vodka-based drizzle. And don’t forget to pair it with a cocktail or two.

Amy Kritzer Becker is the founder of the modern Jewish cooking blog What Jew Wanna Eat and author of the 2016 cookbook Sweet Noshings. She is also the owner of the cool Jewish gifts store ModernTribe. After a stint in NYC as a conference producer, Amy moved to Austin, TX to escape cold weather. Soon after, Amy left the business world to attend culinary school to work on her true passion. As she worked as a personal chef and did live cooking demos and classes at a local supermarket, her blog grew and gained recognition. Amy has had the opportunity to develop recipes, such as Avocado Latkes Breakfast Tacos or Pumpkin Fig Rugleach for numerous publications and she has spoken on the topics of culture, entrepreneurship, and food at events around the world like SXSW and Nosh Berlin. Amy and her recipes have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Today Show, Food & Wine and now The Food Network. In Fall 2017, she appeared on an episode of Guy’s Grocery Games on The Food Network. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband.

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