Monday, February 26, 2007

Gluten-Free, Cane-Sugar-Free Hamantaschen

It's getting close to Purim, which means it's time for hamantaschen! These three-cornered cookies are made to look like villain Haman's tri-cornered hat, and are filled with delicious things - Growing up we had them with apricot, prune or poppyseed filling. I think they are one of the most delicious of all Jewish foods, and they are as much a part of Purim as costume-wearing, cross-dressing, and drunken raucousness.

This is a recipe for gluten-free, cane-sugar-free hamantaschen. It works great with most gluten-free baking mixes, such as Better Batter Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour (Orthodox Union certified), Arrowhead Mills All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Mix (OK certified) or Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix
(kosher ingredients, non-certified) or my Rice Flour Mix. I was inspired partly by a recipe by user "debmidge" on, as well as by my own instincts as to what would taste right and work for my gluten-free, no cane sugar diet. A warning to those who, like me, grew up with the crumbly, crisp sugar-cookie variety of hamantaschen: These do not have a sugar-cookie consistency. Instead, they have a thicker, softer, more cakelike texture, which is traditional for some Jews. Think more buttery pastry than crumbly cookie. Whether or not they're the kind you grew up with, I think you will find them quite delicious!

A word about hamantaschen fillings: I filled half of my hamantaschen with no-sugar-added apricot preserves. The other half I filled with lekvar, a puree of dried prunes that have been softened in boiling water. You can buy canned lekvar, which has sugar or corn syrup in it, or you can try making it yourself. Try a recipe such as this one, but replace or omit the sugar. Don't be scared of the prune filling - In my humble opinion it is by far the tastiest filling for hamantaschen - It is sweet but also has a nice tartness to it. Other kinds of jams can be used, or a poppy seed filling.

*A note about agave: Agave nectar is controversial in that it is billed as "unrefined" but it actually goes through quite a bit of refinement. What is known is that it naturally contains fructose it is much lower on the glycemic index (GI) than other natural sweeteners, which supposedly makes it more suitable for diabetics, sugar-sensitive people, low-carbers, and hypoglycemics. I've noticed it doesn't give me the same kind of strung-out feeling and anxiety as I get from cane sugar. Please remember, however that it does still affect one's blood sugar, so it's not something that diabetics can eat in large quantities and it will affect their blood sugar in a way that truly sugar-free non-caloric sweeteners (like Splenda) won't.



1 stick (8 tbsp) margarine or butter, softened
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 egg
2 T lemon juice
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp corn starch
2 1/2 cups gluten-free baking mix (rice-flour based)
1/2 cup potato starch
1 additional egg, well beaten and set aside

With an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter or margarine with the agave nectar. Add the unbeaten egg, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and continue combining. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry mixture into the liquid mixture. Mix until combined into a cohesive ball of dough. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Flour a counter or other surface thoroughly. Remove dough from refrigerator and immediately roll into a ball and roll the ball in flour before placing it on the floured counter. Roll out until 1/4" to 1/8" thickness. Using a juice glass or biscuit cutter, cut into 3-4" circles. Immediately move dough circles to parchment-lined cookie sheets. If the dough begins to stick to the counter, use a pastry scraper to gently transfer the disks of dough. Place approximately 1 teaspoon of filling (apricot preserves, lekvar, poppyseed filling, raspberry jam, etc) in the center of each circle. Using a pastry brush, apply well-beaten egg to the perimeter of each dough circle and immediately fold 3 sides of circle together so that the cookie becomes a triangle, and pinch corners to seal. Seal completely and firmly, using beaten egg so they do not come apart in baking. The final cookie should look like a triangle with the filling showing through only at the center. Use the remaining beaten egg to lightly brush the top of each pastry.

Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden on top but not over-browned on the bottom (lift one cookie up after 12 minutes to make sure the bottom hasn't become dark brown). Let cool slightly before serving or transferring to cooling rack.

Makes approximately 24 cookies.


Unknown said...

Y.U.M -antaschen.

Champ said...

Between this and the bread recipe, I am incredibly excited to do some baking soon. Thanks for the great recipes! I've missed poppyseed hamantaschen . . .

Anonymous said...

I never thought of brushing Hamentaschen with egg wash. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

These are gorgeous! They look so perfect and rosy. Absolutely lovely.

Sea said...

These look soooo pretty. Looks really yummy! I'm currently in a snit with Pamela's mix because I tried making some apple pancakes with agave and they ended up being gum-cakes and not so yummy, but I'm sure I'll get over it soon and be up for trying new things. Besides, if you made it, I'm sure the texture is gorgeous.

Waiting for people to post comments on my blog is agonizing- if i could, i would stand on the corner of my street holding a sign to drum up posters. lol. I guess all new blogs go through these growing pains...


Step right up! Step right up! This way to my gluten free blog:

ByTheBay said...

Sea - Thanks for the comment :) It took months for me to start getting comments on my posts regularly.

Have you made other foods with agave before? Because you have to significantly reduce the liquid a recipe calls for, and/or increase the amount of flour. For baked goods you're also supposed to lower the oven's heat by 25 degrees.

Sea said...

Well, that was the first recipe I tried to adjust for agave... I had made those babycakes brownies with agave previously *which turned out really well,* but these stovetop pancakes, not so much. I think I'll try some recipes that call for it first before I try to sub it into my recipes (although I still have high hopes for it in my FIL's popcorn ball recipe). I did use less than was called for but I didn't increase the flour, so that might have been the problem.

ByTheBay said...

I love popcorn balls! But can't imagine them working without sugar syrup, since if they're like the ones I remember the sugar is supposed to get hard. But if they work - Pls post about it! They are so tasty and remind me of my childhood.

This recipe (the hamantaschen) was definitely created specifically for agave - The measurements wouldn't be right for sugar, though honey or maple syrup could potentially work.

~M said...

Do you know how to make a poppyseed filling?

ByTheBay said...

M: No, I have never made it. But there are tons of recipes all over the internet. Try checking out

Champ said...

I thought I'd post to let you know that I made these tonight (some using nice apricot preserves and some using a variation of the poppyseed filling you linked to). They are DELICIOUS. Even two of my gluten-eating friends--one Jewish and one not--were both very happy and asked for seconds, thirds, fourths...

Thank you again!

ByTheBay said...

Aperture - My gluten-eating friends loved them, too! So glad you enjoyed them.

~M said...

Hey GFB!

I'm only making these cookies for 12 people, so 24 cookies will make way too many for us! :)

Have you tried freezing these? Or else, have you tried halving the recipe? If I did that, would it work to beat one egg and use half for the dough and half for brushing later?

Thanks! And Chag Sameach!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! I posted a link to it at my blog:

ByTheBay said...

M: I have never halved it, so I don't know how to answer your questions. You may have to experiment. I also have not tried freezing them - They didn't last long enough! I ate them all! ;-P

Sarah - Thanks for the link! Hope you enjoy them.

Irene Tenenbaum said...

I wanted to say thank you for this recipe! I was told I couldn't eat gluten 4 days before Purim, when I had already planned to make hamentashen. I was lucky to find your recipe and they came out AMAZING!!! I made it with sugar and it was awesome!! THANKS!

Anonymous said...

My twelve-year old has celiac, recently diagnosed- so we were hunting for a gluten-free recipe. These worked pretty well!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! My son and I are excited to get to have hamantaschen this year!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recipe! I made it today because my stepmother was coming over, and she can't have gluten. I try to avoid white sugar, so the use of agave syrup was a bonus. The hamantaschen were a huge hit with all 9 people present. FYI, I didn't need to flour anything for rolling them out; I reduced the agave a bit, and doubled the lemon zest.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention, I made 4-inch circles, and the hamantaschen took about 20 minutes to bake, rather than the 12-15 you suggest.