Monday, March 2, 2015

Caramel Apple Hamantaschen!

Was last week's Puff Pastry Hamantaschen too much of a departure from tradition for you? I'm back now with another fun recipe for the traditional Purim treat - that's a little bit more classic, but with a twist. Yup, here are caramel apple hamantaschen - a classic dough filled with sweet, caramelized apples for an upgrade for your holiday meal. 

My classic sugar cookie dough hasn't let me down yet, and it plays the perfect role here too. Crisp, a hint of crumbly, the right balance of sweetness and easy to work with. I filled them with apples that cooked down in a caramel sauce until just perfect. 


While you don't want to use the liquid from cooking the apples in the filling before baking, for fear it will spill and ooze out of the hamantaschen, keep it for post-baking to add an extra punch of flavor to them. Add a teaspoon or so of the liquid into the center of the hamantaschen right before serving - not before as it could make the dough get soft. Because of the high water content in the filling - as with any made with fresh fruit - these are best day of, but will still be very tasty - just slightly softer - the next day.


Looking for other fun innovations? Try these chocolate, raspberry and coconut hamantaschen. If you want to go very classic, use the dough recipe here and fill with poppyseed filling or fruit jam. Chag Purim Sameach! 

Recipe: Makes about three dozen cookies

Dough:
2 1⁄2 cups (300 g) flour
1 cup (200 g) butter or margarine, softened
1⁄2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 large egg

Filling:
3 medium to large apples, granny smith is ideal
1 cup (200g) sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat to combine, then add the flour and mix until no streaks remain. Gather the dough together into one cohesive ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling start making the filling. Peel and finely dice the apples - keep in mind they will need to be cut quite small to fit inside your hamantaschen. Heat the cup of sugar in a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat until it begins to melt and turn brown. Once it starts, stir gently until all the sugar is melted. Dice the butter or margarine and add in, whisking until smooth. Add in the apples and stir to coat in the caramel mixture. Let cool slightly.

Remove the dough from the fridge, and roll out on a well-floured surface (and continuously reflouring) until about 1⁄2 centimeter thick. Cut rounds from the dough - I used a 2 1/2" cutter - and place about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each - try not to add too much liquid. Do not overfill or they are likely to open up and lose their shape while baking.

Fold up the sides of the dough to form the triangle shape, pressing them together where they overlap and pinching them closed in the corners. You want to add the filling to one round at a time before folding, instead of putting all the fillings in then folding them all, too prevent any liquid from escaping pre-folding.

Place the cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes, until they are starting to brown on the edges. Let cool on a wire rack. If you have remaining caramel liquid from your apples, you can carefully spoon a little into the cooled hamantaschen for extra caramel flavor.

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