I love a holiday filled with traditional foods. I have been making hamentashen (classic Purim cookies) for as long as I can remember. As a child, I made them with my grandmother. We filled them with mun (a traditional poppy seed—-and loads of sugar—filling). As a mother, I made them with my kids and we filled them with chocolate, peanut butter and various flavors of jam. We had many years that the jam leaked out, the corners weren’t sealed well, the sizes weren’t uniform, the fillings were jumbled—-but those were my favorite hamentashen—-the ones that resembled art projects more than anything. I’m (mostly) a stickler for tradition, and so I was afraid to mess with something tried and true (even though it no longer served me well)…..but last year I finally got around to adapting my recipe to make a healthy hamentashen and I haven’t looked back.
Healthy hamentashen sounds a bit like an oxymoron because the traditional hamentashen recipe is laden with oil, sugar and white flour…..and then filled with something that has more sugar! My kids would say, “what’s not to like?” They’re also sticklers for tradition and really don’t like when I mess with family favorites……but over the years they’ve come to expect that my will to create healthy food wins out and I’m usually able to muster up something tasty without adding refined sugar and other empty calories.
I love the raspberry chia jam that I filled these with, but you could also use the cranberry chia jam in this recipe or even store bought jam (preferably the kind without added sugar) or any other filling of choice.
There were many years when my kids weren’t around and my friends Ellen and Alyson came to bake hamentashen. We were definitely creating pieces of art, perfecting the craft—-when we weren’t too busy laughing and having fun. I always look forward to the Sunday before Purim to bake these cookies…..and I cherish the time I have with friends and family to continue the tradition. It’s taken me a long time to realize that the tradition isn’t in the recipe, but tradition is found in the joy, the love, the connection and the real tradition is that I continue to bake hamentashen….however I see fit to do that. That they’re healthy hamentashen doesn’t change how it connects me to generations before me and generations yet to come.
If you don’t celebrate Purim, these healthy hamentashen are worth making anyway….because they are yummy!