If you’re teaching young ones about Esther, why not add a simple Purim cookie to your lesson plan? This two-ingredient Easy Hamantaschen for children is a fun and simple hands-on project as you learn together about this Jewish holiday.
What Are Hamantaschen?
Hamantaschen are small, triangular pastries that are filled with something sweet. Most traditionally, the filling is a sweet poppy seed paste, but they can also be filled with other fruit fillings or chocolate. They are the traditional cookie of Purim which celebrates the Jewish deliverance from annihiliation at the hand of Haman.
The triangle shape is said to represent either Haman’s hat or Haman’s ears. You can read more about the Jewish holiday and link to a traditional Hamantaschen recipe at My Jewish Learning.
About the Recipe
I developed this recipe for Easy Hamantaschen for Children to accompany a Sunday School lesson on Esther for three to six-year-olds. I wanted them to be able to experience the entire shaping, baking, and eating of the cookies without taking a trek to the kitchen on the other side of the building. Using my toaster oven provided an easier way to bake the cookies in the classroom safely, and provided a nice baking window for the children to enjoy.
Rather than make a cookie dough to roll and cut, I decided a prepared pie crust would do nicely. For Easy Hamantaschen for Children, you simply unroll the pie crust, cut with a cookie cutter and fill with a dollup of jelly. Then let the children help you fold up three sides and pinch three corners to hold your filling.
I can get about 10 cookies from the unrolled pie crust using my 2 5/8″ round cutter. 10 to 12 hamantaschen are about all you can fit on a toaster oven pan.
For more cookies you can
- Roll the pie crust out thinner before cutting
- Use a smaller cookie cutter
- Reroll the pie crust and cut more circles.
This recipe has only been tested with jelly and jam. Raspberry jam would most closely resemble the traditional poppy seed filling. But if you have children who will baulk at the seeds, you may want to choose something seedless. I have both raspberry jam and strawberry jelly pictured.
Suggestions for child participation
Of course, you’ll want to have the children wash their hands first before handling food. And be sure to explain that the toaster oven will be hot. Also, that they won’t be licking their fingers or the jelly spoon.
Letting the children help you cut the circles is fun, but will result in fewer cookies since they are unlikely to space the circles close together. Depending on how many children you have, you may choose to cut the cookie circles yourself.
Place each circle on a napkin or plate. Then place about a teaspoon of jelly in the center of the cookie circle before passing the cookies out among the children.
Demonstrate how to fold up three sides of the cookie and pinch the corners. Let the children pinch and shape their own corners as you explain that the triangle resembles Haman’s hat.
Place the cookies closely together on your toaster oven sheet and repinch any loose cookie corners. Sometimes these can unfold as they bake so help shape the corners tightly and adjust any folds to fall inward.
Let your students watch as you set the timer and then return to other parts of your Sunday School lesson while the cookies bake!
- 1 premade pie crust
- 4 oz raspberry, strawberry or apricot jam
- Unroll pie crust and cut into 12 circles using a round cutter (mine measured 2 5/8")
- An adult can place 1 tsp. of jam onto the center of each circle.
- Have children fold up the edges slightly and pinch in three corners, forming a triangle. (Make sure corners are pinched tightly so that they don't unfold during baking.)
- Bake at 350°F in and oven or toaster oven for 10 minutes.
- An adult can remove cooked Hamantaschen from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 77Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 61mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g
I hope you enjoy making these Purim cookies as much as we did! Be sure to rate the recipe and share your experience in the comments!