New Recipe: The YouTubers, The Bakers, The Hamantaschen Makers

Purim will always have a special place in Nina Safar’s heart. Each holiday, Safar’s mother would prepare big batches of hamantaschen dough and create her own mixture of sweet prune jam to stuff them. She would bake with her 11 children and then her grandkids.

Lotus Cookie Butter Cheesecake Hamantaschen
Photo courtesy of Kosher in the Kitchen

“It was such a warm, loving experience to be in her kitchen,” Safar, a kosher chef who runs the Kosher in the Kitch website, Instagram and YouTube channel said. “I baked them with her a couple weeks before she passed [away on Purim in 2020]. I knew it would be the last time she would make anything in the kitchen, and I wanted to just freeze that moment forever. Now, when I’m missing her, I bake a batch with my son, and it almost feels like we are baking with her.”

All Jewish holidays are attached to food in some way. And Purim, perhaps, has the most literal food connection. The shape of the cookie represents the triangular hat supposedly worn by Haman, the villain of the Purim story in the Book of Esther. In Hebrew, hamantaschen are known as oznei Haman, which translates to “Haman’s ears.”

Safar started her Kosher in the Kitch blog to share easy and modern kosher recipes with family and friends. One of her innovations? Savory hamantaschen.

“I thought it would be fun to stuff hamantaschen with the unexpected,” she said. “A few of my favorite savory versions would be my barbecue chicken stuffed pizza hamantaschen, fig jam and candied beef facon hamantaschen and taco hamantaschen. I personally love those flavors.”

Safar also has a sweet tooth; she enjoys sweet hamantaschen just as much as the savory ones. “My favorite stuffing would be cookie butter cheesecake,” she said. “It’s addicting.” 

When discussing the savory versus sweet hamantaschen debate, Dan Messinger, owner of Bibi’s Bakery & Cafe and The Kosher Cookie Company in Pico-Robertson, said he is partial to the traditional sweet ones. 

“Unlike sufganiyot for Hanukkah, I think the best hamantaschen keep it pretty simple,” he said. “I personally like a fruit filled hamantaschen.”

At Bibi’s, the biggest sellers are chocolate and poppy. Israelis especially like the latter. “The challenge, of course, is making sure that the poppy and the chocolate don’t get mixed up because people are very sensitive when they get the wrong one,” Messinger said. 

At Bibi’s, the biggest sellers are chocolate and poppy. Israelis especially like the latter. 

“The challenge, of course, is making sure that the poppy and the chocolate don’t get mixed up because people are very sensitive when they get the wrong one,” Messinger said. 

Messinger’s earliest memory of hamantaschen is baking them with his mother who, he said, enjoyed the prune versions.

These days, Messinger said, “I don’t have much time to personally bake them. But I find time to eat them.”

Marti Kerner over at the Everyday Jewish Mom website has been making hamantaschen with her two kids since they were little. 

Kerner was raised Reform, and is bringing up her kids the same. Almost five years ago, she started her blog and YouTube channel to share the accessible way she practices Judaism – and celebrates holidays – with her family.

“Sometimes they’re triangles, sometimes they’re blobs. The most important part is that we enjoyed the time together.” – Marti Kerner

One thing she focuses on is memory building and not necessarily the outcome when it comes to baking hamantaschen. “Sometimes they’re triangles, sometimes they’re blobs,” she said. “The most important part is that we enjoyed the time together.”

Photo courtesy of Everyday Jewish Mom

Want to start making hamantaschen with your kids? Kerner suggested practicing the folds with Play-Doh around a checker. Then, when you are ready to try it with actual ingredients, use a chocolate candy in the middle, “since there’s no wet filling to spill out,” she said. 

Every year, Kerner creates fun new flavors. For instance, she’s made cotton candy hamantaschen with raspberry filling, white chocolate, cotton candy and Pop Rocks.

“I think it’s really in the spirit of the holiday to go as wild as possible, but my heart will always be with sweet hamantaschen in the traditional flavors,” she said. “My favorite is prune. I love the idea that I’m eating the same flavors as my grandparents and their parents.”

Kosher in the Kitch Lotus Cookie Butter Cheesecake Hamantaschen

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cheesecake filling (recipe below)
1 cup Lotus cookie butter icing (recipe below)
Crushed Lotus cookie for garnish

Cheesecake Filling:
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1/3 cup of sugar (you could use 1/2 cup if you like it very sweet)
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
Combine ingredients until smooth. Makes about 1 cup.

Cookie Butter Icing:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon almond or soy milk. Water can also be used.
1 tablespoon Biscoff Lotus cookie butter
Combine until smooth.


Cream together sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly add flour and baking powder. Mix together. The dough might be crumbly, so use your hands to smooth it out and combine it. Roll out dough on floured surface to about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick and cut out circles using a large circle cookie cutter or the rim of a large glass cup or Mason jar. 

Fill the center of each circle with about 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp cheesecake filling and then add a 1/2 teaspoon cookie butter on top. Fold over one side, then the next, and finally bring the bottom on top. Gently pinch the corners. You can also simply bring up the sides, forming a triangle by pinching the corners together. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how soft or crispy you want them. (I like them super soft so I bake them for about 12 minutes). Allow hamantaschen to cool and then drizzle cookie butter icing on top and sprinkle lotus cookie crumbs over glaze.

*These hamantaschen freeze well.

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