Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our Favorite Hamantashen Recipe

Purim begins at sundown on Saturday, March 15th this year, and we're going to be all ready with freshly baked hamantashen!

What are hamantashen, you ask?

hamantash (or hamentasch, see: Other namesYiddish המן־טאַש, pl. hamantashen or hamentaschen) is a filled-pocket cookie or pastry in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine recognizable for its three-cornered shape. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the center. It is traditionally eaten during theJewish holiday of Purim. Hamantashen are made with many different fillings, including poppy seed (the oldest and most traditional variety),[1] prunes, nut, dateapricotapple, fruit preserves in a lekvar style, cherrychocolatedulce de lechehalva, or even caramel or cheese.[2] Their formation varies from hard pastry to soft doughy casings.  - Wikipedia

 Everyone has their own favorite recipe, and today we're sharing ours with you! 
Our favorite fillings are chocolate and apricot, but you really can't go wrong. 


From: “The Jewish American Kitchen” Raymond Sokolov, via The New Shul

Cookie Dough 
2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
8 TBSP (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 TBSP grated lemon peel

• Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
• Work in the butter using a pastry blender or two forks, one held in each hand.
• Add the eggs, mixing in with the pastry blender.
• Add the lemon peel.
• Form the dough into a ball and wrap in wax paper
• Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (overnight is even better)

1 recipe dough
1 recipe filling
1 egg, beaten with 1 TBSP water
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Divide dough inot portions you can easily roll out.
• On a floured board, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inc.
• (It rolls out best if placed between 2 sheets of waxed paper, or just heavily flour the board and rolling pin.
• Cut the dough into 3- to 4- inch circles, using the top of a glass or a cookie cutter.
• Fill each circle with a heaping sp of filling and pinch the dough around it into a triangular shape.
• Brush the dough with the egg wash and bake on a greased cookie sheet for 20 to 30 minutes (20 minutes in my oven)
• When the cookies are done, they will look done – appealingly brown.

Makes about 30 Hamantaschen


Apricot Filling
1/2 lb dried apricots
1 1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar (less)

• In a small sauce pan, over medium-low heat, cook apricots in wate until very soft.
• Mash or process in food processor.
• Add sugar to taste.
• Simmer over low heat until thick – about 10 minutes.
• Cool before using.

Apple Filling
1 cup(+) applesauce
(less than) 1/2 cup raisins (plumbed and drained)
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped and toasted)
1/8 tsp cinnamon

• Combine all ingredients.
• Blend well.
• Cover and refrigerate.

Chocolate Filling
1/2 cup coco
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk, cream or coffee
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts

• Combine all ingredients.
• Blend thoroughly.

Caramel Pecan Filling
3/4 sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cup toasted chopped pecans
7 TBSP unsalted butter or margarine
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 cup honey

• Bake a single layer of nuts at 350 degrees
• Turn or shake frequently until evenly browned – 5 to 10 m

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Clio Garland, Wedding Coach

While wedding planning is an exciting and joyful time in your life, it can also be a very stressful experience. 

From the flowers to the officiant, the bridal party to the guest list, it seems that everyone has an opinion.

In moving from “YES” to “I DO”, are you or your partner experiencing stress in any of these areas?
• Relatives
• Guests
• Wedding Party
• Re-marriage
• Same sex marriage
• Religious tradition
• Cultural differences
• Venue (destination or not)
• Expenses

Our friend Clio Garland, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 30 years experience counseling families and couples, is a Wedding Coach and specializes in helping couples navigate these uniquely challenging experiences. 

Clio can help you resolve conflicts leading up to your big day so when you walk down the aisle, you will be happy and content, ready for your new life ahead!

Here are some of the ways Clio can help:
• Resolve conflicting ideas about size and scope of wedding
• Negotiate differences in expression of cultural and religious traditions
• Facilitate communication with difficult family members and friends
• Provide consultation with family members if needed
• Develop strategies to respond to people challenging your wedding     
• Foster greater understanding of your new role as a married person
  and its impact on others
• Resolve differences positively to form stronger bonds with your
  partner, family and friends

To give you a better idea of Clio’s unique Wedding Coach process, here a few challenges she has helped brides and grooms deal with in the past:

Problem 1: The Bride is upset with her mother because she wants to choose her wedding dress.

Interpretation: The mother is trying to exert her influence and hold on to the close relationship she has with her daughter, while the bride is trying maintain independence.

Solution: The Bride needs to be sensitive to her mother’s struggle, while realizing she is an independent adult who is able to make her own decisions, in spite of what her mother wants.

Task: The Bride should try on some of the dresses that her mother likes and listen to her feedback, without being negative. Let Mom know you appreciate her suggestions but you really love the dress you have selected. Offer to go with her to pick out her own dress.

Problem #2: My fiancé doesn’t like my best man, who is my best childhood friend.

Interpretation: Marriage requires tolerating people who you might not choose to have in your life.

Solution: Help your fiancé understand she doesn’t have to have a relationship with your best man, but she needs to respect your friendship and the choice you have made.

Task: Talk to your fiance about the importance of this person in your life.

Problem 3: The bride is angry because her future sister-in-law is trying to control her wedding.

Interpretation: The future sister-in-law is worrying about her changing relationship with her brother and his fiancé. Where does she fit in?

Solution: Have the groom talk to his sister and assure her that though he is now part of a couple, his marriage won’t get in the way of his relationship with her.

Task: The couple is instructed to give the sister-in-law the responsibility for organizing a wedding event, ie rehearsal dinner, shower, brunch. This gives her a specific role in the wedding planning.

If you are experiencing challenges with any aspect of planning your wedding, be sure to visit Clio at or contact her at and find out how she can help alleviate the stress of wedding planning!

Good luck planning your big day, and remember to take time to enjoy this special time in your life!