Hamantaschen, a cookie that is full of history

One cookie will outsell all the rest at Breads Bakery New York City this week. 

Hamantaschen, a cookie that is full of history


Gadi Peleg, the owner, said that hamantaschen were "the most perfect little cookie." Hamantaschen is the most popular item we can continue to make all year.

Hamantaschen is a triangular-shaped cookie that's served on Wednesday, the Jewish holiday of Purim.

Peleg anticipates selling as many as 10,000 cookies per day in the days leading to Purim. They offer a variety fillings, including chocolate ("sorta like a brownie nestled within the cookie"), poppy seed, and jam.

Peleg stated that it is the "perfect cookie" because it has what he calls the "golden ratio of cookies." "It has exactly one to one ratio of crust to filling."

Stephanie Butnick (deputy editor at Tablet Magazine) and host of "Unorthodox" podcast explained how the cookie intersects with Purim's story: "The story about Purim is actually one the most dramatic stories in the Bible. It is actually the only story in Hebrew Bible that does not mention God. It is a drama purely for humans. It is also very dramatic."

The story of Purim starts in ancient Persia with a king and queen, as well as a villain, Haman, the king’s advisor. Butnick said to Faith Salie that Haman hates Jews. He doesn't know that Esther, the queen, is secretly Jewish. So when he plots to kill all the Jews of ancient Persia with his plot, Esther decides she must declare herself to be Jewish if she wants the Jews to be saved.

Esther then confronts the King and convinces him to end Haman's plot. Butnick stated, "The Jews are saved, Haman is killed, and that's what we celebrate today."


However, the pastry wasn't baked into the holiday for the first time until the 16th Century, when it was inspired in part by the German cookie "mohntaschen" ( mohn meaning popsicle seed and tash meaning pocket).

Butnick stated that Haman was the villain in the Purim story. So, Jews kind of thought, "Haman is the villain in the Purim story." It can be eaten on Purim. These hamantaschen are technically Haman’s pockets. People say it's Haman, others say it's Haman’s ears. We've kind of made the cookie what we want it be.

Hamantaschen has changed with the meaning of the triangle. Edan Leshnick, Breads Bakery's chef, has created new flavors. Pizza hamantaschen anyone? Classics such as poppy.

Making hamantaschen is easy, and the significance given by the triangle is even more simple. Butnick stated that it is a recipe for Jewish celebrations.

She said, "To me it's the Jewish spirit of resilience & celebration that we actually eat cookies named after one of our top villains in Jewish History."

Salie said, "Yeah it's like taking a bite out of Jewish peoples' survival."

"Yes, they tried killing us, but we won. Let's have a delicious cookie!" "


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