Cherry Chocolate Almond Hamentaschen

by rivka on March 11, 2014 · 4 comments

in cookies and bars, events

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A bit later than I’d hoped to share this recipe, but I’m thinking you may have many, if not most, of the ingredients in this recipe on hand. Cream cheese. Chocolate chips. Almonds. Maybe some dried cherries, from that last batch of granola. Yeah? If so, a batch of my new favorite hamentaschen is within reach.

This started when I went to make Deb’s homemade poppy seed filling. My standard regimen is to make one batch of poppy, one of nutella. This year, the nutella was replaced by Nocciolata, which has less junk and a cleaner, more hazelnuty flavor than nutella. (Full disclosure: the Nociolata folks sent me a sample to try.) But for my third batch, I really wanted something fruity, and for once, I didn’t want to use jam.

I thought back to last year’s chocolate raspberry hamentaschen, which I absolutely adored. I wanted something similar. But I also kept coming back to this idea of a hamentaschen flavored like rugelach: some nuts, some dried fruit, some chocolate, all folded up into a pastry – the two aren’t all that different.

The minute rugelach popped into my mind, I was off to the races. Dried cherries, plenty of chocolate, some ground almonds for texture, a bit of orange zest, and then some brandy, because Purim. Don’t forget a cream cheese dough, essential to that rugelach flavor. The result was perfection.

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Can I tell you a couple other things I so love about this recipe? The dough comes together super easily, and you don’t even need a food processor. I didn’t use one. It rolls out perfectly with just a light sprinkling of flour, and guys, the sides STAY UP. No flat pancake hamentaschen this year. This dough is perfect.

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I’m crowning these my new favorite, just in time for the holiday.

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One year ago: Chocolate Raspberry Hamentaschen asdf
Two years ago: Moroccan Chicken with Apricots
Three years ago: The original Hamentaschen recipe and the World’s Best Almond Cake
Four years ago: Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Shiitake Mushrooms  asldkfh
Five years ago: Hummus and Muhammara and Labneh, oh my!
Six years ago: Vintage Breakfast Biscuits

 

Chocolate Cherry Almond Hamentaschen
Inspired by a couple favorite rugelach recipes
Makes about 50

For the dough:
4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup brandy (can substitute orange juice, milk, or even water with a squeeze of lemon)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
juice and zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond meal
pinch of salt

Make the dough: In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor, cream butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon zest until smooth and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and stir vigorously to incorporate. Honest, you don’t need a food processor – I used a fork.

Add flour and salt, and stir or pulse until dough starts to come together. Dump dough onto clean work surface and fold it over itself a few times until there are no dry pieces left. Gather dough into two disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Dough will keep tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)

Make the filling: In a small pot combine chopped cherries, brandy, chocolate chips, and orange juice and zest. Heat on medium for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly, until chocolate has melted and everything becomes a mostly-smooth mass. Add almond meal and salt; stir to combine. Refrigerate until room temperature or colder.

Make the hamentaschen: Preheat oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment or silpat.

Remove one disk from the refrigerator. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour, and roll out the dough to slightly thicker than 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2.5-inch cutter to cut disks of dough, and immediately plop the disks onto one of the lined baking sheets. When the work surface is floured, the disks will pop right out when you pull up the cutter. If not, don’t worry – just use a bench scraper or metal spatula to lift the disks and put them onto the baking sheet. Don’t worry about spacing the disks evenly; these hamentaschen don’t need much breathing room, and folded hamentaschen take up much less space than the disks.

Prepare your workstation: bring over your cooled filling and two small spoons, fill a small bowl with water, and get out a pastry brush. Use the pastry brush or your finger to brush a bit of water along the edge of each disk, and then use your thumbs and pointers to fold each disk into a triangle shape (see here for pictures).

Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes, until tops are slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before transferring. Meanwhile, fill your second sheet with cookies. By the time round 2 is ready to bake, round 1 will be cool enough to transfer, and that baking sheet will be free for batch 3.

Hamentaschen will keep in an airtight container for at least a week, probably more. They also freeze very well.

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