Thursday, March 3, 2011

Let's get crazy

Purim is fast approaching. This year, I vowed that in the spirit of "v'nahapochu" (switching things up) I would...wait for it...make hamentaschen with the children.

Huh? you say. Let's explain. I am crazy. Every bit of OCD, perfection and sheer insanity that I possess rear their ugly heads when I start baking. And Hamentaschen especially. Face it: the perfectly triangular cookies, the neatly pressed edges, just enough filling to taste good, but not overflow into a messy gob, if done right, Hamentaschen are every control freak's dream. (Note: the ones in the picture have waaaay too much filling showing. I mean, come on people!)

And they were that dream for me, for many, many years. My mother's recipe is the best one out there with a sweet cookie base, and we always used to fill them with apricot jelly and prune filling. As the kids got older, and prune was out, ("EW! Prunes? Are you crazy?? Why would I eat spoiled plums??") I made a kid friendly change and switched to chocolate chip. See, I can too be flexible!

So there I was for about 6 or 7 years, blissfully, peacefully, perfectly making my flawless Hamentaschen long after the over eager kinder were asleep, promising them Hamentaschen in the morning if they went "right to bed". Life was good; they were happy as I plied them with the imperfect ones at dawn's first light, and I was ecstatic, hoarding only the most perfect Hamentaschen for shaloch manos and shabbos guests. 

And then, out of the blue, it happened. Someone innocently asked if they could help me make them. I smiled, danced around the cookies, I mean, questions, and maneuvered through yet another year of My Perfect Hamentaschen. This avoidance has been going on for quite some time now, and I could avoid it no longer. This year they begged and begged and begged. So, like any guilt ridden good mother, I finally gave in, albeit on my terms, and my terms only: I would make the dough while they were at school, and we'd make them together after dinner. The roar from the crowd brought a smile even to the lips of one Nazi Perfect Hamentaschen Maker. 

I even followed through; I made a double batch (10 cups of flour!) while they were at school, and it was ready for them when they got home. I made it nervously through dinner, and afterwards everyone eagerly helped me clear off the table so we could get started. 

Have you ever baked hametaschen with 6 kids all at once? Have you ever tried to to anything, anything at all with 6 kids all at once? After 45 seconds, TPH "gently" removed N from the scene before he could color his hair an even more shocking shade of orange. Or red or brown. 

The truth is that once I managed to unclench my jaw, it was actually a lot of fun. I ignored (barely) the uneven edges, and the (gasp!) overflowing jelly. I even managed to stay calm when someone mixed cherry jelly with chocolate chip. The horror!

The mess, the cleanup and the lapse in perfection was all worth it. The smiles, the singing and dancing and yes, the extra headlocks on the floor were all proof that a little lack of perfection can sometimes go a long way. So, while I might still sneak in a batch or two on my own under the cover of night (because, yes, darn it, they do taste better when they look good!), this was some good quality family time. The stuff that memories are made of. 

Bubby Roth's Hamentaschen
1 c. margarine
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
4 - 5 c. flour ( I just use 4)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

Mix all ingredients. Can use dough right away or freeze or refrigerate up to one week. Bake 15  minutes at 350.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

YAY! Good for you, and thanks for the recipe...

A freilichen Adar!