Hamantaschen: Delicious No Matter How You Spell It

Hamantaschen: Delicious No Matter How You Spell It

Hamantaschen are delectable, triangular filled cookies eaten on the holiday of Purim.

While some think that these tasty folded treats resemble little hats, they are referred to as Oznei Haman in Hebrew and Orecchie d’Aman in Italian, in both cases meaning Haman’s EARS, not hats!

A little reminder of the story:  The Book of Esther or the Megillah is part of the Old Testament. It tells the story of a Jewish beauty named Esther who became queen of Persia and was able to thwart the king’s plan to kill the Jewish population. Her cousin, Mordechai, helped and encouraged her to devise the plan. The story took place during the rule of Ahasuerus (Xerxes), the Persian king who reined from 486-465.

The story is told through two identical readings of the Megillah on the eve of March 7 and the morning of March 8, this year.

Esther and Mordechai are celebrated as heroes while Haman’s (the one who devised the evil plan) name is drowned out with boo’s and deafening noise makers of all kinds, so that his name can barely be heard in the narrative. The kids, especially, love the craziness and noisy celebration along with the costumes and many sweet treats.

So, why are these addictive and scrumptious cookies triangular?


There was a practise of chopping of criminals’ ears before they were hung. As the plot twisted and reversed itself on the evil Haman, he was executed.  Gruesome, I know.

Traditionally, hamantaschen are filled with poppy-seed,  but there are plenty of variations on the dough and the filling.  Most doughs use oil or non-dairy margarine in order to keep this recipe parave (non-dairy).

Options for fillings may include prune, nuts, dates, apple, apricot, fruit preserve, cherry, chocolate and dulce de leche.

I turned to my friend, Melissa Roberts, for her recipe and advice on how to make these treats.

A recent Westport transplant from New York City, Melissa was a food editor at Gourmet developing and testing recipes in the magazine’s test kitchen. She was also a cook and stylist in the Food Network’s kitchen. Melissa now freelances as a recipe tester and writer for various magazines and websites including Bon Appetit, Health, Real Simple, gourmet.com, and ctbites.

Thanks for sharing this fabulous recipe and teaching me your tricks while baking these delicious treats together!



  1. LOL Liz! Maybe in Israel! In the West Bronx it was always about the hat. 🙂

    Well, whatever! They are delicious delicious delicious and my grand daughter Lila and I made some the other day. She’s 5 and actually figured out how to do the triangle. Didn’t have my camera though 🙁 Chag Purim Sameach

  2. A friend of mine made some with NUTELLA…..they were amazing!!! Also check out a facebook page for

    the5humantashen…..a group of men that do a Purim spiel at a local Chabad function!!!!!! fabulous
    My husband is one of the HUMANTASHEN!!! watch the videos!!

  3. These look so good and are very do-able! I actually am going to make these for my friends when I’m in Florida over spring break!. Another great recipe I would love to see on your website is for Babka!

    • Glad you like this recipe for hamantaschen. They are indeed, easy and delicious. I have a great recipe for individual babkes from the Kosher Baker, Paula Shoyer. Will ask her if I may post it. She demo’ed it in an event in Westport, CT. recently and everyone loved it!

  4. Liz, what a great write up on Hamantashen and photos of Melissa and her handiwork! It is a treat to read this blog each week…and I made those Babke cupcakes this week, they are worth the effort…

    • Hi Lily, Sorry your jam is oozing. Be sure to pinch those corners tight and place the jam smack in the middle of the round (not too close to the edges). If you have to use a bit less than a teaspoon, of course, that’s fine, too. LMK if any of this helps.

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