Before I discover the art of participating in a bake-a-long group, I would scout a cookbook book, mark all the recipes that I wanted to try and then would promptly put back the marked cookbook in the shelf and forget about it.
That is why I joined a bake-a-long. It gives me a push to finally do all of those recipes marked in a cookbook.
The other thing a bake-a-long has taught me is the art of trying something new, especially if I’m unfamiliar with the ingredients and/or cooking techniques.
Case in point – this week’s choice – the Hamantaschen.
Never knew what they were, and frankly when I was looking at the Baking Bible for the first time, they did not catch my fancy at all. I think it was because well – a cookies (not my favorite thing) and poppy seed filling?!?
The only time I eat poppy seed is in lemon muffins, because for some unknown reason bakers love that combo and nobody out there is making them without those seeds. Note to bakeries out there: stop with the poppy seeds on lemon muffins!
So back to the Hamantaschen – these cookies are full of history and traditions. And I’m sure that if you are making the rounds in the Alpha Baker blog, you have heard it over and over.
So I will save you some reading and move on to my experience with this recipe.
I had every intention to follow the recipe, including making the Poppy Seed Filling, even thought I was still not totally onboard with that choice.
Then, I took a look at our Facebook group (because being a procrastinator that is what I do) and started to read the results and the consensus was that the filling was very “blah” and unmemorable. Which seal the deal for me.
This is when I get to thank my husband that takes forever to put our groceries away after we hit our supermarket days. As I was pulling the ingredients for the filling, I notice the apples and next to them the jar of Dulce de Leche, we had just gotten from Trader Joe’s. And the light bulb went off in my head.
Apple Caramel filling. BOOM!
And oh my, was the filling a hit.
I made it the night before, in order to have it nice and cold when I started filling the cookies out.
It took me about 1 hour to have it fully cooked and stored in the refrigerator
DULCE DE LECHE APPLE FILLING
inspired by a gazzillion applesauce recipes
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 4 to 5 medium apples – I used gala (which is what I had)
- 4 tablespoons of Dulce de Leche
- Salt to taste
You can buy the dulce de leche, which has become very popular, but if you cannot find it, you can make your own –
Peel and core the apples. Shred them into fine shreds using a hand grater. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Add the shredded apples to the boiling water and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let the mixture simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, till most of the liquid evaporates and the mixture resembles a very thick applesauce.
When the mixture is ready,most of the water will have evaporated and it will look and feel thick.
Remove from the heat and stir in the Dulce de Leche; add salt to taste.
During the cooking of the apples, I made the dough for the cookies, which is Rose’s Pate Sucrée recipe and it’s a no brainer, specially if you use the food processor – its comes together pretty fast and then a quick storing in the refrigerator.. The recipe calls for a 30 min chilling time. I left it overnight.
Then on Sunday, all I had to do was build the cookies.
My plan was to fill half of the dough with the Dulce de Leche Apple filling and the other with Nutella. (oh, yes I went there)
Roll them out, and using a 3-inch round cutter you go to town and try to get as many rounds as you can - I ended up with 30 cookies.
Then you fold, fold and fold again to form a triangle or a “hat” shape with some filling exposed in the middle.
I had a great system going, and was building the cookies pretty fast, until I looked over at my baking sheet and notice that my 3-point hat, was more like a 4-point hat.
The second batch of dough was folded as intended. The “ops” moment will forever live inside the walls of my kitchen with NO pictures to document the totally “blond” moment that incurred.
Into the oven they went and while most baked without opening, I did have about 5 or so that did unfold and lost their “3-cornered hat” shape and became a “visor cap”. But the filling held.
The cookies were …average cookies. While Tom loved the apple filling the whole thing was given an “ok” rating. I had high hope that with such a rich tradition and history they were going to blow my socks off, sadly they did not make a ripple.
Would I make them again? Sad to say, that they would fall on the forgetful pile.
You can check out the rest of The Baking Bible Alpha Bakers doing their stuff by stopping at the bake along blog.
Disclaimer: As previously noted, no recipes are shared in my Cake Bible posts, due to publishing restrictions enforced by the publisher of Rose’s The Baking Bible. But, you can support me and her by purchasing the book.