By Mussy Raitman, Lubicom Staff
When Purim comes around, all I can think about are those years I spent making hamentashen as a child. The corners were so loosely formed that there was more jam on the baking paper than inside the hamentash. These are some of my best memories ever.
Today, though, I cringe at the thought of all the sugar in the classic Purim pastry. Many of us are becoming more health-conscious in our daily lives, and it can be hard to find a balance between healthy eating and keeping to tradition. It’s the million-dollar challenge, making your favorite foods healthier without sacrificing flavor.
Here’s a short list of the best substitutions for amazingly healthy(er) hamentashen.
Alternative flour options are everywhere these days. Whether I’m scrolling on my Instagram or browsing Pinterest, the options are endless. One of my favorite substitution for regular white flour is coconut flour. Not only is it low carb, but it has a lot of fiber and is a perfect gluten-free option.
It took me a while to finally make the switch from baking with regular white flour to using an alternative. White flour just has the best taste and consistency. I kept telling myself that if I’m making chocolate brownies, I want the real deal, texture and all. (I almost convinced myself that I could never bake with anything but white flour.)
The trick was learning the properties of each flour. The moment I learned that coconut flour absorbs moisture super quickly, I was able to realize which recipes work for which substitution. (Life also got a whole lot easier now that you can just search for recipes with your preferred flour in mind.)
Another favorite flour that works amazing for baking is quinoa flour. It’s a great whole grain option for those who want to keep the fat content of their recipe down, yet keep those high energy carbs.
Strawberry jam hamentashen. I would quite literally eat them every day of the year. For some reason, the dough mixed with the sweet filling just hits the spot for me.
Lately, though I’ve gotten into replacing white sugar with healthier options. Medjool dates are my favorite alternative. They give me that sweet rush I need, whilst being a much healthier option. So that’s when I said hello to date jam. YUM. Like, imagine a hamentash filled with a thicker, stickier version of silan. I’m kind of sold.
Think of something you eat when you’re craving sweet but avoiding sugar. More often than not it will be perfect for your hamentashen filling.
Although I am a sucker for the sweet iconic Purim food, in the past year it’s the savory hamentashen combinations that have caught my attention.
Whether your herbed dough is filled with meat or a balsamic red onion jam, it really brings the wow factor. It also gives people the opportunity to turn the once-sweet treat into more sophisticated less sugary options.
Some of my favorite combinations:
Luxury Breakfast Hamantaschen (Recipe)
Ok, I am such a breakfast person. You can literally find me eating breakfast foods at any time of the day. When I came across this combination of beef fry, garlic salt, truffle with an egg on top, I knew I had just found my newest favorite hamentashen. (Sorry, strawberry jam.)
Savory Persian Herb and Cheese Hamantaschen (Recipe)
Herb and cheese. No need to try to sell this one.
Baked Avocado Eggroll Hamantaschen (Recipe)
Guess I’m not the only one who will take any excuse to make the flavors of an eggroll and turn it into something traditional. The best thing about this recipe is that there is no doubt they will be finished. I don’t think I’ve ever made eggrolls and had leftovers.
I’m not one to go cold turkey on any food group. What I’m learning is that even switching one ingredient with a healthier option can really go along way.
Happy Hamentashen Baking!