To say things are bustling in the kitchen at Breads Bakery in Union Square this week would be a massive understatement, as a team of bakers handcrafts the triangle-shaped, filled cookies traditionally served for Purim. There's a whole lot of hamantaschen going on.
Tens of thousands of the cookies will be baked and sold, with sweet fillings like poppy seed, chocolate, apricot and apple, and a savory pizza-flavored version.
What You Need To Know
- Hamantaschen are triangle-shaped, filled cookies served for the Jewish holiday of Purim
- Bakeries like Breads Bakery will bake and sell thousands of the cookies in the days leading up to the holiday, which begins on the evening of Monday, March 6
- The cookies are a reference to Haman, the villain in a Biblical story of Jewish survival in the Book of Esther, which is read during Purim
- Hamantaschen are filled with sweet fillings like poppy seed, chocolate, apricot and apple. Breads Bakery also has a savory pizza-flavored version
"We've been selling them for a few weeks now, but obviously leading up to our peak, which is next week," said Edan Leshnick, executive pastry chef at Breads Bakery, which also has locations on the Upper East Side, at Rockefeller Center and Lincoln Center and in Bryant Park.
Hamantaschen begin as a long sheet of dough, cut into hexagon shapes with a special cookie cutter. They are filled, shaped and then baked for around 15 minutes. Then, they are ready to go for the celebration, which commemorates the stopping of a plan by an official of the Ancient Persian empire to kill the Jewish people there.
The villain's name in the Book of Esther is Haman, and hamantaschen a reference to him. Some traditions even say the cookies are shaped like Haman's ears or hat.
Breads Bakery owner Gadi Peleg says they basically bake as many of the cookies as they can in the days leading up to Purim.
"It's a time that we enjoy so much, because we love hamantaschen, so it's a big time of year and we love it," Peleg said.
Peleg suggested customers try a new flavor other than their usual go-to — some variety for a sweet celebration.