As promised, here’s my recipe for the queen of the moshlochei manot – oznei haman, which I grew up calling “homan taschen”. I’m still not sure why the Hebrew version calls this little Purim cookie Haman’s Ears while the Yiddish version refers to Haman’s hat. Either way, these are the star of the Purim eating show.
Growing up in South Africa, we used to get these huge oznei haman that were made with a plain yeast dough filled with either a white cheese mixture or poppy seeds – this article in Ha’aretz describes them perfectly, but unfortunately no recipe. When I made aliyah, I did not recognize what passes for oznei haman in Israel. Here, they are very dry, very hard cookies, and are filled with a range of fillings, from jam to chocolate, to dates, to halva and of course, poppy seeds. I never warmed to these unpalatable dry oznei haman. Then I found this recipe on a website years ago. I would like to give the website credit, but my print out doesn’t show the URL, so I thank the anonymous baker, wherever she is, who put this wonderful recipe out there and changed my attitude toward oznei haman.
The beauty of this recipe is its soft and silky dough. The reason for this wonderful texture is that it’s made using cream cheese. So it does render these oznei haman dairy, but I think it’s worth it. I doubt they’ll last till dinner anyway! [Purim 2013 update: This year I made the day using Tofutti cream cheese instead of dairy cream chees, and margarine instead of butter. It worked really well, but I did add a little more flour so the dough wasn’t too delicate – about an extra half cup]
For the filling, I use a combination of white and milk chocolate spreads – I prefer the Elite spreads, as they taste great and have a good texture. I have also used Dulce De Leche as a filling, but only the Dulcor brand, as it’s thick enough to withstand the heat of the oven without running out. And of course you can use jam. My daughter came up with the idea to add sprinkles, so I made a few with only white chocolate and sprinkles, and they look very festive. These also freeze well for around a week, so you can get them done and frozen and ready for Purim without being stressed.
OZNEI HAMAN WITH CREAM CHEESE DOUGH
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter/margarine softened
90 g (3 oz) cream cheese (Use Tofutti cream cheese for parev oznei haman)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2½ – 3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Fillings of your choice.
How to do it
1. In your mixer, cream the sugar and the butter/margarine and then add the cream cheese and mix well till fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg and beat well. On slow speed, add the flour and salt and mix well. The dough will be quite sticky. Pat it out onto a large piece of plastic wrap so it’s about 3 cm (1 inch) deep, wrap it and refrigerate it for about 1 hour. This will cool and set the dough and make it easier to handle.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 190°C (375°F).
3. Flour a clean surface and flour a rolling pin and take a chunk of the dough and begin rolling it out to about 3-4mm (1/8 inch) thickness, making sure not to roll the dough too thin. The dough is quite soft, so after each couple of rolls, lift it, flour the surface and turn it over to ensure it doesn’t stick. Cut 6 cm (2½ inch) rounds with a cutter.
4. Spoon about ½ teaspoon of filling onto each round and pinch three corners to shape the triangle. Make sure that you only leave a very small opening as during the baking, the dough will relax and open more. Make sure the corners are pinched closed well. (I do reuse the leftover bits of dough – the dough is soft enough that it doesn’t matter and doesn’t toughen up when worked on more than once).
5. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until the edges start getting lightly browned, turning the tray around in the middle if your oven doesn’t bake evenly. Cool completely before storing to ensure the chocolate or other filling hardens a little.
Makes about 75