We love Kyra Bussanich’s gluten-free version of the holiday classic for her book, Sweet Cravings. The tangy apricot lends contrasts wonderfully with the tender cookie.


My first experience with hamantaschen was at a holiday cookie exchange hosted by family friends. I slowly circled the cookie-laden table, enthralled with all the different choices. The fruit-filled whole-wheat Napoleon-hat cookies didn’t appeal to me at first, but the tart-sweetness of the apricots and the subtle crunch of the cookie won me over. I later found out that what I had been calling Napoleon hats were, in fact, hamantaschen. Here’s my gluten-free, better-than-whole-wheat upgrade. If you don’t care for apricots, or would like to shorten the prep time, feel free to substitute your favorite jam in place of the apricot filling. These can be frozen after they’re assembled: simply wrap or store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, then add 3 or 4 minutes of baking time.

Buss_Sweet Cravings

Reprinted with permission from Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle by Kyra Bussanich (Ten Speed Press, © 2013). Photo Credit: Leela Cyd.

Makes: Makes about 40 cookies
Apricot Filling:
  • 1 cup / 170g dried apricots 
(I prefer unsulphered)
  • ¼ cup / 57g sugar
Cookie Dough:
  • ¾ cup / 96g tapioca starch, plus extra for rolling out the dough
  • ¾ cup / 122g sweet white rice flour
  • ½ cup / 74g millet flour
  • 2 teaspoons / 2g xanthan gum
  • Pinch / about .5g salt
  • ½ cup / 113g butter, room 
  • 11/4 cups / 284g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons / 28.3g milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon / 5g vanilla extract
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the apricots, sugar and just enough water to mostly cover the apricots (about 11/2 cups). Cover and heat over medium heat until the water is about to boil. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the apricots simmer for 25 to 30 minutes to absorb the liquid. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. To make the dough, in a small bowl, combine the tapioca starch, flours, xanthan gum and salt and set aside. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy. Blend in the milk, egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Be careful not to over mix.
  4. Roll out the dough ¼-inch thick, using the extra tapioca starch to prevent it from sticking. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles and carefully transfer to the baking sheets. Place a teaspoon of apricot filling in the center of each circle. Fold the top quarter of each circle down to partially cover the filling. Rotate the pan slightly more than 90˚ and fold the top quarter of each circle in partially over the filling. Fold the third side a quarter of the way over the filling and pinch together each point of the triangle of dough so that it resembles a tricorn hat. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, 12 to 16 minutes.

2 Responses to Hamantaschen

  1. Peter Robe December 6, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    As of Nov 9, Kyra Bussanich is now a THREE-time winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars! And still the only gluten-free winner ever.

    Her book, “Sweet Cravings”, has great, delicious, creative treats, many of them really easy to make (thank goodness for me).

    And I found a fun, short video intro to her book at http://www.tinyurl.com/kyrasweet

  2. vanillasugarblog December 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    You know I am determined to give Hamantaschen another go.
    My love for these cookies and I didn’t get it right the 1st time.
    I want to kick them up a notch too.
    Love love love your blog.
    Including your egg macaroons in my friday link roundup!

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