Baking with my Father


Contains eggs, gluten, and dairy. Low-nickel and nut-free. And a family heirloom.

Hamentaschen are a traditional folded-over sugar cookie filled with jam, usually made in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim. This recipe is so easy and delicious that it stands on its own: a cookie you’ll want to make all year round, not just on Purim!

My father and I inherited a recipe card, basically a list of ingredients proportions with an oven temp, in an email from our cousin Nancy. Nancy knew about my love for baking and thought we might enjoy recreating a cookie recipe from my Great-Grandmother. It took us two tries to puzzle through the list of ingredients with its lack of actual instructions in order to come up with a viable cookie. But once we did, it was EPIC! I figured I’d make it easier for you all and give you real, clear, detailed instructions. I can only imagine based on the excellent results they yield, that the directions I write for you below are what Great-Grandma Julie had in mind!


You will need…

2 sticks of butter

1 cup of sugar

4 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

4 cups of flour

1 tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt

jam for the filling, such as apricot, strawberry, or raspberry




Cream butter and sugar until smooth in the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add eggs in two separate additions, beating well between each addition. Next add sour cream and mix until incorporated. Mixture might curdle, so don’t worry if it does; life happens.


Add 1 cup of flour at a time, mixing on the lowest speed. Add the baking powder and the salt along with the second cup of flour. To avoid over-mixing, turn off the mixer when the mixture is almost coming together into a dough, and finish the remaining mixing with your largest wooden spoon.


Divide the dough into two discs and place each in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for at least one hour and up to overnight. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


Roll out the dough on your floured counter, using a floured rolling pin and floured hands. You want to achieve a very thin width of dough. Cut out circles using the top of a large glass, and place each circle on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Dollop a small spoonful of jam in the very center, then fold three sides up into a triangular shape around the jam.


Re-roll the scraps and continue until all of the dough has been used. I like to create variety by using two different types of jam, for extra fun.


Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Buon appetito!

2 thoughts on “Baking with my Father

  1. Love the recipe and the sentiment. Makes me think of sitting in Grandmas kitchen with cookie sheets in the oven.


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