Simplify Your Purim Hamantaschen With Cake Mix

The Jewish holiday of Purim is celebrated each year to commemorate the salvation of the Jewish people in Persia from the king's wicked advisor, an enemy named Haman. The captivating story is told in the Megillah, or Book of Esther, and involves royalty, hidden identity, scheming, and how a young Jewish woman named Esther was ultimately responsible for saving her people from annihilation. Purim is a festive occasion, and one that involves celebration and, of course, plenty of good food like hamantaschen, which are triangular-shaped cookies with sweet centers. Since they are symbolic of the story of Esther, they are considered staples of Purim celebrations, but they require a good bit of time to make. To drastically simplify your prep work, use a boxed cake mix from the grocery store instead of the traditional dough.

By mixing a cake mix with a few pantry staples, you can create a dough with the consistency that will allow you to put together the cookies right away — as opposed to the traditional dough, which requires lots of chilling time. With cake dough being pre-flavored, they will also taste delicious and pretty much look just like conventional hamantaschen when you use a lighter-colored cake mix. With your saved time, you'll be free to work on the rest of your Purim feast, create costumes for yourself or your children, or just kick your feet up for a while before the party.

No chilling or wait time

Traditional hamantaschen dough is made with butter or parve margarine or oil (dairy-free, to abide by kosher laws of not mixing meat and dairy should your dinner feature, say, kreplach), sugar, eggs, flour, and vanilla. It's a sticky dough, so it needs to be chilled for hours or even overnight, so it can be rolled out and cut or rolled into individual circles that are filled and shaped. The cake mix method requires you to mix a package of boxed mix with eggs, flour, and oil which creates a stiff dough that is immediately ready for rolling, filling, and shaping. As soon as these steps are done, the cookies can get their filling and go right into the oven to bake.

Nearly everything about hamantaschen is symbolic, from the shape to the name to the fillings; the traditional filling for these cookies is poppy seeds. As told in the Book of Esther, while the titular girl was living in the Persian palace, the foods were not kosher, so she subsisted on things like nuts and seeds. Today, hamantaschen are filled with a variety of sweet fillings, like jams, chocolate-hazelnut spread, pie filling, chocolate chips, and nut butters.

Using cake mix opens the door for tasty variations

While using a vanilla or yellow box of cake mix will undoubtedly give you results that look the most like traditional hamantaschen, there is no reason you couldn't use whatever kind of cake mix you'd like. Satisfy your chocolate cravings by using a devil's food cake mix and fill the cookies with cherry pie filling for a take on Black Forest flavors. Use spice cake mix and fill with caramel sauce and apples for a taste reminiscent of caramel apple cider (plus, these are a great way to enjoy the flavors of caramel apples without breaking your teeth). Using lemon-flavored cake mix with a strawberry jam filling will bring major spring vibes, or try carrot cake with a center of tangy-sweet apricot jam.

Red velvet cake mix can be used to make hamantaschen that's filled with a sweetened cream cheese filling (if you don't mind the dairy) and drizzled with chocolate sauce; for something super festive, make your cookies from funfetti cake mix, fill with a great raspberry jam mixed with fresh berries, and make a drizzle of powdered sugar and champagne for the top.

As quickly as this version of hamantaschen comes together, you might want to experiment with several flavors and combinations. We doubt your guests will mind.