Purim 101

7 Mar

When I heard that these cookies could be made with chocolate chips as a filling, I knew I had to try them.

What’s Purim, you ask?

Well, at least that’s what I asked when my friend Pam said that I should include a Purim recipe on my blog for the upcoming Jewish holiday.

Not being Jewish, I had not even heard of Purim and definitely not of a cookie recipe to go with it. I asked Pam for an explanation and within a day or so, she sent me one, along with the recipe. It looked pretty easy and it said that you could use chocolate chips in it, so in my mind that meant I had to at least try it out so that I could include it on my blog in time for Purim. I figured that if the recipe was a keeper, I’d celebrate Purim every year!

Well, it wasn’t *exactly* a keeper, but if you watch TLC’s “Four Weddings,” where they rate the weddings on several different benchmarks, I’d say the overall score was a 7 out of 10. It was a very simple recipe, didn’t use a ton of utensils or bakeware (always good for someone without a dishwasher,) the batter was yummy and the cookies got all thumbs up from my kids. But, they didn’t come out looking “just like the picture,” when I Googled “Purim Cookies.” They didn’t hold their shape very well. Later when I re-read the recipe it said you could freeze them prior to baking them to get them to hold their shape when baking. I should’ve read more carefully, but even still I don’t think I would have taken the time to do the extra step, at least not without trying it out first.

Here’s what Pam sent me regarding the holiday:

Jewish Year 5772: sunset March 7, 2012 – nightfall March 8, 2012
The story of Purim is told in the Biblical book of Esther. The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity.
The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant, egotistical advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. In a speech that is all too familiar to Jews, Haman told the king, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people’s, and they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.” Esther 3:8. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.

Strawberry filled

Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king’s presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman’s plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.

And here is the recipe she sent:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12 ounce) can poppyseed filling (people use raspberry or apricot jam, or even chocolate chips)

Refrigerate batter at least two hours.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the orange juice and vanilla. Mix in the baking powder, then gradually stir in the flour until the dough forms a ball. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. I like to do mine overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 3 inch circles using a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place circles on the prepared cookie sheets. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling onto the center of each circle. (Any more and it will ooze out) Pinch the sides of each circle to form a triangle, covering as much of the filling as possible. The cookies may be frozen on the cookie sheets if desired to help retain their shape while cooking.
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light golden brown. These are best undercooked slightly. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

    Chocolate chip, blackberry, strawberry and apricot filled cookies.

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2 Responses to “Purim 101”

  1. Sue Meyerson March 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    mine come out like that, too…and the ones that look better, don’t taste as good!!!
    we actually missed Purim at temple for the first time EVER, cuz there is just too much going on before Jacob’s bar mitzvah…oh well..it is always a fun holiday!

  2. Jo-Lyn March 12, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    MMMMM These sound yummy! And I love Esther!! =)

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