Zebra Hamentaschen

Categories: B-shul, Religious School

The Story of Purim is recorded in the Book of Esther.   When Mordechai, a Jewish member of the king’s court and relative of the Queen refused to bow down to Haman, the Grand Vizier to King Ahasuerus of Persia, he planned to kill all the Jews in the empire by hanging. Haman’s plans were foiled by Mordecai and his cousin Esther, who had risen to become Queen of Persia. The day of deliverance became a day of feasting and rejoicing. Purim is celebrated among Jews by:

  • Exchanging reciprocal gifts of food and drink known as mishloach manot
  • Donating charity to the poor known as mattanot la-evyonim
  • Eating a celebratory meal known as a se’udat Purim
  • Reading of the megillah” or Scroll of Esther, known as kriat ha-megillah

Other customs include drinking wine or any other alcoholic beverage, wearing of masks and costumes, and public celebration.

By far the most popular food item associated with Purim is Hamentaschen, a triangular-shaped pastry.  this Yiddish word means “Haman’s pockets.”  One explanation for the triangular shape of these pastries is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. Another explanation is that the three corners represent Queen Esther’s strength and the founders of Judaism: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Hamantaschen are also called “oznay Haman,” which means “Haman’s ears” in Hebrew.  Some say that Haman had pointed ears while others theorize this name comes from the old practice of cutting off criminals’ ears before they were executed by hanging!  Yikes!

Popular fillings for hamantaschen are fruit preserves, cheese or poppy seeds.  The religious school students tend to prefer anything filled with chocolate!  Morah Ariella kicked it up a notch by encorporating chocolate into the dough and trust me, this Zebra Hamantaschen is the perfect pastry to put in your mouth… I mean mishloach manot basket!

Zebra HamantaschenIMG_2914

by Ariella Isenberg


  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 sticks butter (use margarine for pareve)
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg for egg-wash (egg white beaten with a drop of water)
  • ¼ cup water*
  • ¼ cup coco powder*
  • * (optional) Substitute orange juice for water plus 1 Tablespoon orange rind & eliminate coco for traditional dough
  • FILLINGS: apricot preserves, cherry preserves, poppyseed, chocolate, hazelnut spread, etc


  1. Cream margarine, and sugar
  2. Add eggs, water (or juice/rind) vanilla
  3. Slowly add dry ingredients (EXCEPT Coco) & mix until ball of vanilla dough forms
  4. Set aside 2/3 of the vanilla dough
  5. Mix 1/3 of the vanilla dough with coco powder to form chocolate dough
  6. On a floured work surface rollout vanilla dough
  7. On a separate floured work surface rollout chocolate dough
  8. Layer chocolate on top of vanilla dough and roll into a log


  1. Wrap log in plastic and chill for 30 minutes-hour
  2. Slice dough into circles and gently press flat
  3. Place drop of filling into center of dough circle (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  4. Hold dough in palm of hand and pinch ends into triangle
  5. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment and brush dough with egg wash
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until golden


Makes 4-5 dozen & pastries freeze well




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