03/12/14
Food and Wine Editor
The Definitive NYC Hamantaschen Guide

Where to buy the tri-cornered treats this Purim.

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It’s that time of year again, folks: Purim! And for most children—and quite a few adults, too—the star of this holiday is the humble tri-cornered hamantaschen. In an ideal world, all hamantaschen would have a crisp, not-too-sweet crust filled with a generous amount of soft filling, but let’s face it: all too often, bakeries around town churn out dry, crumbly cookies with only the barest hint of prune, poppy or apricot inside.

But never fear: The Jewish Week has come to your rescue with the definitive hamantaschen-buying guide. We visited a number of bakeries around town and ranked their offerings from best to worst; luckily, they were all pretty good, but there were some clear winners. Read on for the results.

Breads Bakery in Union Square. Lauren Rothman/JW

The Winner: Breads Bakery, Union Square, Manhattan

The only non-kosher bakery included in our tally, Breads’ offerings were also the best by a wide margin. This Eastern European-style bakery has garnered a ton of praise since opening early last year—folks say that it has the best babka and the best rugelach in the city—so it came as no surprise that the hamantaschen here are top-notch. The cookie crust is thin, delicate and extremely buttery, both crisp and pliable at the same time, and the fillings span from ultra-traditional (an exemplary soft, smooth poppy paste) to out-there (apple that tastes just like apple pie filling; vanilla pastry cream studded with dark chocolate).

Best For: Funky fillings and total mastery of the form.

Breads Bakery
18 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003
(212) 633-2253
breadsbakery.com

Weiss Bakery in Boro Park, Brooklyn. Lauren Rothman/JW

The Runner-Up: Weiss Bakery, Boro Park, Brooklyn

Walking around Boro Park can feel like taking a stroll in Old World, as busy families pop in and out of carefully-stocked hosiery, hat and grocery stores and, of course, meticulously decorated kosher bakeries offering a range of breads and desserts. My favorite bakery in the area is Weiss, a place that takes Purim seriously, offering upwards of eight kinds of hamantaschen and filling its store windows with huge cookie-shaped breads that advertise the wares inside. The style of crust here is more akin to shortbread: crumbly and tender, it’s not dry at all, and traditional fillings are excellent: a toffee-like walnut paste, a jammy prune. Some kookier flavors are offered too, including an indulgent double-chocolate hamantaschen filled with smooth chocolate icing.

Best For: Old World charm with quality to match.

Weiss Bakery
5011 13th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219
(718) 438-0407

The Bronze Medal: Korn Bakery, Boro Park, Brooklyn

Korn Bakery in Boro Park, Brooklyn. Lauren Rothman/JW

Just down the street and a tiny step down in quality from Weiss is Korn, a more bare-bones kosher bakery offering less delicate pastries than its neighbor. Still, the hamantaschen here are very good, with a tender shortbread-style crust that distinguishes itself with a bit of bright lemon zest, and ultra-traditional fillings including prune and apricot.

Best For: When the lines at Weiss are too long.

Korn Bakery
5004 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11204
(718) 851-0268

Sander's Kosher Bakery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Lauren Rothman/JW

Honorary Mention: Sander’s Kosher Bakery, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Occupying a handsome corner location in ultra-Orthodox Williamsburg, Sander’s storefront boasts a wonderful old-school sign and its pastry counter inside, heaped with jam-filled sprinkles cookies, rugelach and babkas, is just as old-fashioned. The hamantaschen here, while good, were just a touch drier than the rest of the competition’s, and Sander’s got docked a point for two weird fillings: a rosemary-chocolate which tasted nothing like rosemary and an apricot that was way too sweet and didn’t taste like apricots at all. Still, Sander’s is a good choice if you’re in the area and are struck with a sweet tooth.

Best For: A taste of Brooklyn’s past.

Sander’s Kosher Bakery
159 Lee Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 387-7411

Last Update:

03/15/2014 - 13:18

Comments

I'd like to mention Katz Gluten Free, not a walk-in, but they deliver, and they're good (specially the chocolate ones yumm!

Any list of the best hamentashen in NYC that doesn't list Moishe's Bakery (115 2nd Ave. bet. 6th & 7th) is incomplete!

With all due respect to the above commenters, we only included one non-kosher bakery on this list (and yes, its offerings happen to be the best). There are three kosher bakeries on this list, two highly recommended. I fail to see the problem here.

"I fail to see a problem here"

That defines the problem of the Jewish Week in a nutshell.

And by the way, as your writer is clearly misinformed, the Rosemarie Chocolate filling does not refer to the herb rosemary, it refers to a type of chocolate offered by the Schmerling brand. Not surprising at all that the Jewish would make such a misinformed comment.

I see no problem in submitting a non-kosher bakery, it was only one among several, nice to think people who read The Jewish Week have choices. Not all jews in NYC eat only kosher food, not all jews keep a strictly kosher home either. Thank you for being "non-partisan" in choosing what you have found to be the best, much appreciated. By the way, I am jewish, my entire family is jewish, some of us more observant than others, we are tolerant of all jews regardless of how they practice their religion. Happy Purim.

Your reporter judge describes the Bread's hamantash thus: "the cookie crust is thin, delicate and extremely buttery". No kosher bakery is putting butter into their hamantaschen and no observant Jew is serving buttery hamantaschen at the festive Purim meal alongside the many delectable meat dishes. So much for first place and so much for kashrus observance!

There is only ONE non-kosher bakery in a list of many, and the author honestly judged them on taste, which is why it won first place. Not all Jews who observe the haggot are kosher. This is the New York Jewish week, and it is supposed to unify the extensive community. It is good to have variety, especially if you want the best tasting and most natural products. Butter tastes better than margarine.

Maybe we should put out recipes with NATURAL parve ingredients - using oil instead of margarine - instead of pretending that fake food is best because it is kashrus.

Purim sameach to ALL.

why would you have a non-kosher bakery entered? isn't the point of being in the jewish week is to have your readers frequent kosher establishments? why not give credit to those that adhere to strict standards that many people follow?

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