There is no substitute for slow food, and for making slow food slowly with kids. Yada, yada, yada all the practical life experience and developmental skills: fine motor, following directions, reading, math, geometry, sequencing,
vocabulary, etc. etc. Make it Jewish holiday slow food and you’ve got a content-rich, unforgettable Jewish education lesson plan.
Like Hamantaschen. There is a world of slow Hamantaschen recipes out there: the soft, the crunchy, the leavened, the dense, the oil-based, the margarine/butter based, and with filling options far beyond the traditional. Great. And to make a triangle out of a circle? What a visual-spatial leap for a little kid!
But what if? What if something BIG comes up and we just can’t make time to craft heirloom hamantaschen from scratch? What if we are baking in a school that, because of building codes, does not have an oven? What if we live in a dorm room? What if we need to bake in the office break room? What if we are 17 and our friends are coming over and they are hamantaschen virgins and will surely spit out grandma’s recipe in favor of a familiar, if inferior, processed product? Or, what if we are utter beginners at all this and are overwhelmed and need a shortcut to just get started?
The answer: Pillsbury cookie dough, jar of apricot jam.
That’s it. The easiest thing is to buy the sheets of raw sugar cookie dough rounds (“Ready to Bake”). Plop jam in the middle of each circle, fold sides into a triangle. Bake in a toaster oven. Kosher. Done.
It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s done. And if it comes down to perfection vs. getting done, I know what I’d choose.
Happy baking, fast or slow.
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P.S. I’ve used logs of Pillbury, too. Pinch a ping-pong sized ball, smoosh it in your palm, smack it down on a pan. Fill, fold, bake.
And, I’ve used tubs of Nestle cookie dough. Same as above. I wrote about this in detail in a 2009 post called Purim Shortcuts.
Note that the stickiness of these instant doughs are not super kid-friendly. Adding a bit of flour helps, but if the thought of buying and adding flour is a stumbling block, forget it.
Less sticky is pre-made, rolled, pie-crust dough, but I haven’t found one in small circles (tart-size). You’ll still have to lay the dough sheet on a surface and use the top of a drinking glass to cut circles. I actually prefer pie-crust dough because it’s less sweet and more dense.
But I really, truly prefer slooooooow cookies made from my husband’s bubbe’s recipe.
Oy. Just saw this post at InterfaithFamily.com: video about making hamantaschen out of pie crust. Great minds.
Note that they use Pepperidge Farm refrigerated pie crust sheets, which they do say are “not heckshered kosher,” but watch out: they contain lard.
If you find a kosher, ready-made pie-crust sheet (not the crimped kind already in a pan), please let me know!! Trader Joe’s perhaps? Whole Foods??
Do see my post (and even big kids can’t resist):
PlayDough Hamantaschen Practice: Make a Triangle out of a Circle.