March 12, 2014

Fig-Orange Hamantaschen


Ingredients:

for the cookie:
1/3 cup (one pouch) butternut squash Veggie Blend-Ins
1/3 cup oil canola oil
2 tablespoons fig preserves or jam (I used my homemade fig honey cardamom jam)
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (I used Cara Cara oranges)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar

filling:
1/4 cup fig preserves or jam (I used my homemade fig honey cardamom jam)

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix together the butternut squash puree, canola oil, fig preserves, and orange juice until smooth. Stir in the flour, baking powder and sugar until a smooth batter forms. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour or until firm to the touch.


Preheat oven to 350°. Line two cookie sheets with silipats or parchment paper.

Roll the dough out onto a clean, floured surface. When the dough is about a 1/4 inch thick, cut 2 1/2-3 inch* circles out of the dough. Place them on the prepared pans. Spoon a little less than 1 teaspoon preserves into the middle of each circle. Fold three sides towards the center and press down to form a triangle.


Bake 12 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.


*I use a doughnut cutter  with the insert removed or a biscuit cutter.

Note: If using a fig jam/preserve that does not include honey, this recipe would be vegan. Try my fig-port jam.

My thoughts:
General Mills approached me about developing a recipe using their new Green Giant Veggie Blend-Ins.  I am familiar with Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook and no stranger to substituting pureed fruit for butter or oil in recipes so I thought I'd give it a try. I'd never tried to "sneak" vegetables in a dish before but I figured we can always use more vegetables in our diet. I liked that the only ingredient in the butternut squash Blend-in is butternut squash.

I decided to make hamantaschen because Purim is this weekend! I love hamantaschen and the story behind why we make these cookies this time of year.  I wrote an article about Purim and hamantaschen for NPR a while back and since then, I've created recipes for a rugelach-inspired cream cheese based hamantaschen, chocolate hamantaschen, vegan hamantaschen filled with kiwi jam and orange ginger hamantaschen. Since I can, hamantaschen are a great excuse to use up last year's homemade jam (just make sure it is thick or it will run) just before canning season starts up again. This year's hamantaschen is packed with not only sneaky squash but fig jam is baked into the dough for extra flavor and fiber.


I wasn't sure how the puree would work in a cookie recipe but the puree was really, really smooth, much smoother than I am able to make myself from butternut squash and really seemed to "disappear" into the batter. Using the puree not only added extra veggies but it gave it some of the bulk I would normally get from butter so that means the recipe is vegan and pareve (without using margarine!). The dough was very easy to roll out and work with and tasted fantastic! No one would know there was squash in the cookies if you didn't tell them, they were just lightly sweet.



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