We all have vivid memories of special Purim moments even from many years ago – especially if they were a unique family activity or “ritual” that was done year after year.
One of my most favorite would begin already on Rosh Chodesh Adar when my Aunt Shoshana would string Haman and his 10 sons from the chandelier in her dining room. There, this motley group of gingerbread men would “hang around” until they would meet their ultimate “demise” at the Purim Seudah when my uncle and cousins would be sure to do their share of “Mechias Amalek.”
Taking this concept a bit further, you can “treet” your family and guests to a memorable Purim centerpiece, which can be put together on any level, from simple backyard branches with plain gingerbread man cookies , to curly willow branches with elaborately decorated royal iced gingerbread man cookies – and everything in between. So whether Parshandasa and company are hanging from your light fixture, or “branching” out over your Purim Seudah, you’re bound to create special Purim memories for your family for many years to come.
Haman’s “Family Tree”
Your favorite sugar cookie dough
Gingerbread man cookie cutter
You may use any of the following supplies to decorate your cookies (if you like you can keep them plain)
Edible markers, colored sugar, colorful chocolate chips, rolled fondant or royal icing
Hamentash chocolate mold
3 oz baking chocolate
5 oz yellow baking chocolate
4 yds 1/8” ribbon(cut into 12” pieces)
1. Roll out dough.
2. Using you cookie cutter, cut out 11 cookies (if you like you can make “Haman” larger)
3. Using a drinking straw, make a hole towards the top of the gingerbread man head. Bake according to recipe directions.
4. Decorate cookies as desired. See Royal Icing
5. Thread ribbon through hole. Join ends of ribbon to form a tight knot.
To form the hamantashen hat:
Melt baking chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Using a toothpick, ”paint” the chocolate in the center of the hamantash mold. Allow to dry (approx 5 minutes). Next, add the yellow chocolate to the bowl and remelt till the chocolate is well combined.
Using a small spoon, fill the Hamentash mold with the chocolate. Place chocolate mold in freezer till solid. Remove hamentash from molds. Repeat process till each gingerbread man has a hat. Using the chocolate as your ”glue” attach hamentash to cookie.
PUTTING TOGETHER THE TREE
Curly Willow branches (available at florists) or you can use backyard branches
Large vase to fit branches
3-4 yards of 5/8-inch wide ribbon, for bows
1 yard of 1-1/2-inch wide ribbon
11 gingerbread cookies
1. Arrange branches in vase
2. Hang cookies from branches
3. Cut 5/8” ribbon into 12” pieces-randomly tie bows around branches. Wrap the 1-1/2” ribbon around vase and form bow.
Recipe for Royal icing
1 lb confectioners sugar
5 Tbs Meringue powder
1/3 cup water
Couplers (plastic ring to keep the tips in place)
Tips # 1, 2 & 101
1. Beat the egg white and confectioners sugar until peaks form.
2. Divide the icing into separate bowls. Tint each bowl with a few drops of food coloring. Stir to combine until you get an even shade in each bowl.
3. Fill a piping bag with the desired colored icing. Using a size 2 nozzle, draw right around the outline of the cookie, so that when you spread the icing over the cookie it doesn’t run over. Allow to dry.
4. Using the same color icing, add a few drops of water until you get a fairly thin, pourable consistency. Add more water if the icing is too thick or add more confectioners sugar if it is too thin. With a teaspoon, pour the icing over the cookie until it touches the outline (you may need to use a toothpick to get into the corners).
5. Now using tips #1 and 2 decorate clothing make a face, hair, beard…..
Tip # 101 was used for some hair - it gives a larger, textured ribbon-like look.
Use your imagination and creativity.
Let your cookies dry a minimum of 2-3 hours.