Rosemary chocolate halva hamentashen in a small metal fluted edged dish. A sprig of fresh rosemary is tucked on top.

chocolate and rosemary halva hamantaschen

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These buttery chocolate and rosemary hamantaschen cookies are filled with a chocolate halva ganache and crunchy toasted sesame seeds.

A pile of rosemary chocolate halva hamantaschen are presented in a small metal serving tray. A sprig of fresh rosemary lies on top.

Excuse me while I sneak in here real quick with my take on this classic triangular treat just before Purim. Of course I’m talking about hamantaschen.

For the uninitiated, hamantaschen get their name from Haman, the villain of the Purim story, who wore a triangular three-pointed hat.

Though Purim’s signature cookies get their name from the holiday’s villain, you might be more familiar with Esther, the hero of the story (though Vashti remains tragically overlooked as a feminist icon), who saves the Jewish people from Haman’s scheming. Yes, it’s another holiday about the Jewish people surviving an attempted genocide. (You know, just your typical light food blog fare.)

Unlike Passover, which requires us to relive the entire story in excruciating detail, Purim is celebrated by an all-day fast followed by an evening of raucous partying, drinking, cheering, and making merry. Everyone dresses up in costumes, gives each other sweet treats, drinks wine, and boos and jeers every time Haman’s name is mentioned as the Purim story is read aloud.

But I digress.

Traditionally hamantaschen have been filled with some sort of jam or a poppyseed filling called mohn that tricks you by looking like chocolate but not actually being chocolate.

And, if I’m being honest, I’ve always kind of hated the traditional hamantaschen fillings. When we used to get hamantaschen at school, I’d nibble around the edges, trying to only eat the delicious cookie bits.

Chocolate Rosemary Halva Hamantaschen arranged in a cloth napkin inside a serving dish.

So when I set out to make hamantaschen for the blog I knew I wanted a light, flaky, buttery cookie. I definitely wanted chocolate-y filling.

And I wanted it to have a cohesive, layered flavor profile from the outside in, rather than tasting like a sugar cookie with any random filling.

Hamantaschen arranged in a cloth napkin inside a serving dish.

I’ve been obsessed with Smitten Kitchen’s olive oil shortbread with rosemary chocolate chunks for a while now, so that was my starting point for flavors.

Shortbread is far too crumbly for hamantaschen, so I turned to Alex Lau’s buttery, flaky hamantaschen dough from Bon Appetit, and added finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate and fresh rosemary to the mix.

Hamantaschen arranged in a cloth napkin inside a serving dish.

For the filling, I took inspiration from the poppy seeds of mohn, but went in a slightly sweeter and nuttier direction.

The filling is made from a crumbled bar of halva (a candy-like bar made from tahini aka sesame paste and sugar) mixed with a semi-sweet chocolate ganache and toasted whole sesame seeds. And to carry the rosemary flavor through from the dough to the filling, there’s even more in the filling too.

chocolate rosemary halva hamantaschen baking tips:

  • I turned to my favorite set of round cookie cutters for cutting the dough circles. Use a 1.5 tsp cookie scoop to ensure you have the same amount of filling in each cookie. I tried using a 2 tsp scoop, but 2 tsp of filling will stretch and warp your cookies as they bake.
  • You can find halva in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores, usually near the cheese, butter, and dairy products. You can get it online at Amazon, Target, or at speciality stores like Sumsum or Seed & Mill. I used marbled halva, but if all you can find are plain or chocolate covered bars that’s fine too.
  • DOUGH TEMP: Chill the dough and the filling before shaping the hamantaschen. Let the dough rest at room temp for about 15-20 mins before rolling it out. If it’s too warm it will stick to your counter, if it’s too cold it will crack when you try to fold it. Use a bench scraper to help get the cookie rounds off your counter if they stick.
  • The filling will bubble and melt and spread out in the heat of the oven, and will harden as it cools filling any gaps inside the cookie. Make sure the edges of the cookies are sealed so the filling doesn’t leak out.
  • If you’re not Jewish and you feel weird making a Jewish holiday treat, you can shape these into squares by pinching four corners instead of three.
A pile of square-shaped hamantaschen in a cloth napkin.

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chocolate and rosemary halva hamantaschen

The Practical Kitchen
Celebrate Purim with these buttery chocolate and rosemary hamantaschen cookies filled with a chocolate halva ganache and crunchy toasted sesame seeds.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Chilling Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 2 dozen

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 226 grams unsalted butter (1 cup / 16 TBSP)
  • 200 grams sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 TBSP fresh rosemary (minced)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 480 grams all-purpose flour (4 cups)
  • tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate (finely chopped)
  • 1 large egg (for the egg wash)

chocolate halva filling

  • 6 oz halva (*see notes)
  • 3 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate (chopped)
  • 3 oz heavy cream (⅓ cup)
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary (minced)
  • 1 oz toasted sesame seeds (3 TBSP)
  • tsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt

Instructions

make the cookie dough

  • Cream butter, sugar, and rosemary in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy (5 mins). Add eggs one at a time, letting each one fully incorporate and scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the dry mixture to the wet mixture, running the mixer on low speed to combine. Then add the rest of the dry mixture and continue mixing on low speed until the dough comes together.
    Add the finely chopped chocolate, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and stir with a spatula until evenly distributed.
  • Divide the dough in half and press into two 1" thick discs.
    Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours.

Make the filling

  • Place chopped chocolate in a medium sized bowl, set aside.
  • Heat heavy cream in the microwave on high, 45 seconds (use a bowl with enough room to keep it from bubbling over).
  • Pour heavy cream over the chocolate and let sit without stirring for 2-3 minutes. Then stir in circular motions until it becomes smooth, shiny, and cohesive.
  • Slice halva into 1" chunks and place in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse on and off until it has the consistency of wet, clumpy sand.
  • Add crushed halva, toasted sesame seeds, sugar, rosemary, and salt to the chocolate ganache. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and chill until ready to use.

Assemble your hamantaschen

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and arrange oven racks so they're at the top third and bottom third of the oven.
  • About 20 minutes prior to rolling your dough, take one of the discs of dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temp.
  • Lightly dust your counter and rolling pin with flour and roll the dough to about ¼" thick.
    Use a 3½" round cookie cutter to cut discs of dough. Knead any scraps briefly to recombine, then wrap in plastic and return to the fridge.
  • Arrange the dough rounds on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Scoop 1½" tsp chocolate halva filling into the center of each round.
  • Make an egg wash by whisking together 1 egg with a pinch of salt and splash of water. Brush around the filling on the surface of each cookie.
  • Fold the sides of each circle up into a triangular shape, pinching to firmly seal the edges shut. If there are gaps inside the cookie that's okay — the filling will melt and fill them in as they bake.
  • Brush the outside surfaces and edges of the cookies with the egg wash.
  • Repeat until all the dough and filling has been used up. You may need more than one cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating the baking sheets and moving the sheets from one rack to the other halfway through.
  • Let the finished cookies cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  • Prep time includes assembly. 
  • Bon Appetit says: “Dough can be made 2 days ahead; keep chilled. Cookies can be made 2 days ahead; let cool and store airtight at room temperature.”
  • For citrusy notes, add ½ tsp orange zest to the dough.
  • If you’re not Jewish and you feel weird making a Jewish holiday treat, you can shape these into squares by pinching four corners instead of three.
  • *I used Joyva Halvah which comes in an 8 oz pack with 2 bars in it. But you can find halva in many grocery stores usually in the international aisle with the kosher food or in the refrigerated section. You can also get it online at Target, or at speciality stores like Sumsum or Seed & Mill.
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