Oznei Haman ~ Purim Cookies
A long time ago, about 2,500 years ago, there was a really bad guy named Haman. He was the adviser to the King of Persia. As with many politicians the advise Haman gave the King was mostly for his own personal gain and he would manipulate the King into getting things to work his way.
One day Haman got mad at a Jewish man named Mordecai sitting by the palace gate because Haman didn’t feel that Mordecai was respectful enough to him. So he talked the King into signing a contract saying that all of the Jews in Persia should be killed and he drew lots to decide what day the massacre would happen. That’s where the word Purim comes from.
What Haman didn’t know was that the King’s beautiful wife, Queen Esther, was not only Jewish but also Mordecai’s cousin. She talked to her husband and asked him why he wanted to kill her people and the King was pretty mad when he realized Haman had tricked him. In the end Haman and his sons were hanged and the decree to kill the Jews of Persia was cancelled. The people rejoiced and celebrated their deliverance. You can read the whole story in the book of Esther in the Bible.
When my children were young they had so much fun celebrating Purim in Israel. They would dress up in costumes, eat lots of Purim cookies called Hamantaschen (Haman’s Pocket) in Yiddish or in Israel we called them Oznei Haman (Haman’s Ears). They would make gifts called Mishloach Manot filled with cookies, chocolate, candy and nuts and give them to their friends. They had parades and walked around with noise makers in case anyone said the name Haman.
As with most holidays the food is the best part and Purim is no different. Even though my kids are adults now they still wait all year for me to make Oznei Haman, the traditional Purim Cookie. In Israel the cookies are usually filled with strawberry jelly, chocolate, poppy seed or date fillings. I always make some of those but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t endeavor to change things up a bit. This year my daughter Dani and I decided to see how a candy filled center would be. We used Mini Snickers, Reese’s Eggs, and Ferrero Rocher chocolates. We also made some filled with Blackberry Cardamom jam, and a Raspberry Cocoa Cinnamon concoction made from Raspberry pie filling. We always have to make some with Nutella and Poppy Seed fillings. In all we had 8 different flavors and all of them had to be taste tested. We didn’t eat lunch that day. 🙂
A few days later my daughter Rivka and grand-daughter came over and we made some more Oznei Haman. These were mostly Nutella filled and I also made some raspberry filled dipped in chocolate with green and white sprinkles in honor of St. Patrick’s day.
Ingredients for Oznei Haman
5 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 Tbsp. rum extract
Fillings: Nutella, favorite jams, poppy seed filling, date filling or whatever your imagination comes up with. 🙂
Step 1: In the bowl of your mixer beat the eggs until they are lemon colored. This may take a few minutes but you want to be patient until the egg looks like a fluffy lemony cloud.
Step 2: Beat in the sugar, oil and rum extract.
Step 3: If you have a paddle attachment for your mixer, now is the time to switch to it. Stir in 4 to 4 1/2 cups of flour until well combined and a soft ball forms. (If you don’t have a paddle attachment use a wooden spoon and stir in the flour until a soft ball forms.)
Step 4: Lay a piece of parchment paper on your counter and place the ball of dough in the center of it. I then fold the paper around it and place it in a Ziploc bag. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Step 5: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out on a lightly floured counter about 1/4″ thick. Use a glass to cut rounds. We like larger cookies so I use a glass with about 3 1/2″ diameter. Place 2 heaping teaspoons of your filling in the center of each circle. Pull up the side and pinch into 3 corners to shape the cookies leaving the centers exposed. You make have to brush the inside edges of the dough with water to make it stay in place.
Step 6: Place the cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake about 25-30 minutes until a light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. I often sprinkle mine with powdered sugar or when cool drizzle with chocolate. Enjoy!
- Posted in: Living Life