This is our gluten-free version of a recipe from The Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene.
Prepare the dough at least 3 hours ahead of time. The night before works fine.
In a large mixing bowl put:
Use an electric mixer to cream these. Then keep mixing until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. If you stop too soon the dough will be too tough, and the cookies will unfold while baking and spill jam all over!
Mix them in with the electric mixer.
Finally, in a second bowl combine:
Once these are stirred together add them to the wet ingredients. Stir the dough with a wooden spoon for a while. When the flour is pretty much absorbed into the dough then wash your hands and knead the dough until it has an evenly mixed consistency.
Spread a length of plastic wrap on the counter. Put the dough on the plastic wrap and push it somewhat flat, to cool faster. Then finish wrapping the dough in the plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Sanitize the counter. Put 1 cup of flour in a bowl to the side, to use when rolling. Get out a rolling pin and a circular cookie cutter (a washed jar with a lip 2" to 3" in diameter also works). Sprinkle some flour on the counter.
Take out a big handful of dough and put it somewhere to warm up a bit. Put a plate in the fridge so you have a place to put the circles once you cut them out. Take a break for a few minutes.
Ready to cut circles? First take out a second big handful of dough and put it in the warming up place. Move the warmed up handful to the counter.
Use the rolling pin to roll the dough out thin, but not too thin. If it is too thin the cookie's walls will collapse when baking. If it too thick the cookies will taste too much like dough and not enough like the jelly filling.
Once the dough is rolled cut out as many circles as you can. Then knead the scraps together, roll it out again, and cut out more circles. You can do this a third time before the dough gets too tough, but it might be smart to wait until there is more "third time" dough and do this all at once.
When you finish one handful of dough put its circles on the plate in the fridge. Then move the next warmed up handful to the counter, and place a new handful from the fridge to the warming up place.
You can cut out the circles a few hours before baking the cookies if you want, or even the night before. But all three steps should happen within 3 days. If the circles are going to be in the fridge very long cover them with plastic wrap.
Silpat baking sheets work wonderfully for hamantaschen! If you only have a greased cookie sheet, re-grease it for each set of cookies because they leak some sticky filling.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Take out a jar of jelly or jam to use for filling. If the jar of filling is small you might need two. Get a spoon for scooping filling. Also fill a small bowl with water, for dipping your fingers. Finally, put out cooling racks with paper towels underneath.
Sanitize the counter, cutting board, or silpat that will be your cookie assembly place. Take a stack of circles from the fridge and spread them out on half the cutting board so they warm up a bit. When these run out, replace them.
To make each cookie, first scoop some filling onto the middle. You'll soon learn how much works. Then dip your fingers in the water and wet the top of the circle's edge. Finally, imagine the circle has three "sides" and fold these up, pinching the edges together. The result is a three-sided pocket with the filling visible in the middle.
When one cookie sheet is full of cookies, bake the cookies for 15 minutes. If you are not practiced at this yet, fifteen minutes will be about enough time to get the second cookie sheet ready. If you want a break before you're all done then work fast!