This post is kind of almost a week late. Purim was last week, but we really didn't celebrate till this past weekend, when our synagogue held their Purim Carnival.
Purim is a combination of Halloween and Mardi Gras. It celebrates the story of Esther, the brave queen who, along with her Uncle Mordecai saved the Jewish people from the evil Haman - the Old Testament version of Hitler.
Haman had convinced the King to exterminate all the Jews. What the King didn't know was that his wife, Esther was Jewish. When she confronts him and tells him, along with the fact that his decree means he must kill her too, the King relents. The Jewish people are saved.
Each year we celebrate by eating, drinking, and being merry. This is the Jewish holiday of pagents - similar to the Christmas nativity, the Purim "Megillah" is re-enacted by Sunday school children worldwide. Costumes are worn and carnivals are held. When I was growing up, the costume choices were Esther, Mordecai, Haman, or King Ahasuerus. But since Thatkid has been in school, I've noticed that Purim nowadays is more any costume goes.
Thatkid decided he wanted to wear his Halloween costume to the carnival last weekend. At first he was hesitant to go inside because he didn't see the giant rides and inflatables his school had last year. But once we got inside, he was more than happy to play all the carnival games.
And because the carnival is geared for kids, they were very generous with the prize tickets, no matter how poorly Thatkid played.
There was also face painting, which is one of Thatkid's favorite things ever.
He spent the rest of the day trying to talk without moving his mouth and making me cut his food into little bites so he wouldn't mess up his facepaint.
Almost as soon as we got in the car, he let us know what a good time he had:
After he woke up, we continued with the Purim celebration with the quintessential Purim food - Hamentaschen. Meant to symbolize the 3 cornered hat worn by Haman, they are filled cookies. Traditionally the cookies are filled with jam/jelly/preserves, but Thatkid requested we make ours with chocolate chips. When I agreed, but told him I wanted to make some cherry ones (my favorite!) he suggested we combine the cherry jam with the chocolate chips. Not a bad idea kid!
I laid out the ingredients, which he mixed together in the Kitchenaid. Then I rolled out the dough while he cut the circles. Next I placed the jam while he sprinkled chocolate chips over top. While we worked we sang "My hat it has 3 corners." Then we baked the cookies and ate them. But really, when Thatboy is gone all afternoon surfing, we have to find some way to entertain ourselves!
Chocolate Cherry Hamentaschen (Adapted from the Joan Nathan Jewish Holiday Cookbook)
1/4 lb unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp wheat germ
2 cups flour
- Cream the butter in an electric mixer.
- Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg, orange juice, vanilla, baking powder, and salt and mix well.
- Add the wheat germ and the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix until the dough comes together into a ball. Shape into a disk and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/2 inch thick.
- Cut the dough into circles using a 2-inch cookie cutter.
- Place 1 Tbsp of cherry preserves in the center of each circle.
- Top preserves with 1 tsp of chocolate chips per circle. Pinch together 3 corners evenly spaced along the edges of the circle to form a triangle. Arrange the cookies on parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheet, 1 inch apart.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown.