Holiday Roundup: Hamantaschen, Macarons & Persian Sweets

Persian New YearMacarons

What sunny, sweet days we have had !  March 20th was not only the first day of spring, but also the Jewish holiday of Purim and Macaron Day too (Jour du Macaron in France).  I enjoyed the obligatory sweets, meaning those 3-cornered cookies called hamantaschen for Purim, with mun (poppy seed), prune and apricot fillings… and I stopped by Ladurée here in Zürich‘s old town to mark the occasion with a salted butter caramel macaron.  (Or two.)

But the weekend saw lots of other sweets too, including more cookies. With a friend in town, I was even busier in the kitchen than usual, making a few batches of my favorite crunchy oat, seed and nut granola (with dark chocolate and sea salt).   Getting crumble topping ready to cover ramekins filled with frozen summer berries.  And preparing rolls of cookie dough to bake at a moment’s notice (chocolate chip pretzel cookies and Nutella oat cookies). You can only imagine my reaction when my friend showed up herself with an enormous box of bakery cookies from London’s Assal Patisserie, as well as Persian nougat (known as Gaz). It was NowRuz, the Persian New Year, she told me. And enjoying these sweets made with saffron, pistachios and rosewater was a must.  I was certainly not going to argue.

CookiesMacaronsPersian New YearHamantaschen

It also happened to be my friend’s daughter’s 2nd birthday, so we simply had to add a birthday cake to the mix. The birthday girl loves banana and chocolate, so the recipe was easy to pick. Banana coffee chocolate chip cake with mocha buttercream frosting was the winner (decaf coffee, but of course). The idea came from David Lebovitz‘s banana cake with mocha frosting and salted candied peanuts. It was a huge hit. With the birthday girl, her mom … and me too.

Birthday CakeBirthday Cake

It was clearly a sugar-filled weekend in Zürich – even more so than usual. Did you celebrate any of the special days above ? If so, what sweets were on your table ?

Roundup of Sweet Links

* My recipe for hamantaschen and quick story of Purim
* Smitten Kitchen does hamantaschen with a cream cheese dough and poppy seed filling
* Halvah or chocolate chip cream hamantaschen, anyone? Head to Lehamim Bakery in Tel Aviv (New York Times)

* Jour du Macaron in France
* Macaron Day in New York City
* M is for Macaron
* Where to find macarons in Zürich

* “Persians savor a new year’s feast filled with old traditions” (The Oregonian)
* NowRuz, Persian New Year 2570

20 Responses to “Holiday Roundup: Hamantaschen, Macarons & Persian Sweets”

  1. mom says:

    Your sweets just jump from the computer to my table! I can see what a sugary weekend you all had. Jumping from Persian to french to swiss and finally to Jewish! Wow….I would just love to taste it all. Save me a piece of birthday cake…happy 2nd birthday!!! What treats….

  2. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday says:

    I wasn’t familiar with Purim at all until this year. I’d love to try the hamantaschen sometime. Poppy seed filled cookies sound fantastic. There is just something about poppy seeds that I love!

  3. kelleyn says:

    A very tasty weekend indeed. How wonderful. Only, chocolate chip cookies here. No particular reason. Every day is a celebration.

  4. jen laceda says:

    My daughter no.2 is turning 1 on the 25th. Yeah, cake time!!!!

  5. Kerrin says:

    mom, talk about jumping – just think about the birthday girl eating all that sugar, HAHA ! And yes, we have a piece of birthday cake here with your name on it. You better hurry… or we are going to eat it too 😉

    Samantha, oh you should definitely try hamantaschen if you can. No reason to only enjoy them during Purim ! I have them all year round…

    kelleyn, who needs a reason for chocolate chip cookies ?! You said it best, every day should be a (sweet) celebration indeed. Enjoy today’s treat too !

    jen, the big first birthday !! How exciting ! And you bet it’s cake time — what kind of cake will you be making ?

  6. catty says:

    a birthday AND macaron day? that’s way better than christmas!! 🙂 all the sweets look delicious as usual.. my butt is getting bigger just looking at it!

  7. Emma says:

    I agree that every day is special if it is sweet.

    While another year has passed where I couldn’t make it down to New York for Macaron Day, I’m excited for another trip to Boston this coming weekend, where I will hopefully get some more tasty treats (and therefore have some special days)!

    Do I see a chocolate smear on the birthday girl’s face? Reminds me of myself at that age… and now:)

  8. Sarah says:

    love the picture of the macaron tower with motorcycles in the background. Happy sweet spring!

  9. Kerrin says:

    catty, haha ! Totally way better than Christmas. Only, hold up – what about all the presents ? 😉

    Emma, oooh back to Boston you go ! I have no doubt it will be another sweet visit for sure. You can make it your very own macaron day there too:
    As for chocolate on the birthday girl’s face… let’s just say I took that picture while you could still actually see her face !! HA ! Way too cute !

    Sarah, happy sweet spring to you too ! I hope you had an enjoyable Purim (and not *too* loud) ! =)

  10. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Oh my gosh, what a weekend to remember. All those sweets? You must have been in heaven, no? It’s morning time here, sipping my first coffee, and I wish my hand could reach into the screen and grab a few of those confections to munch on.

    I’m loving the birthday cake. Sure would have liked a slice of that one. Maybe another time. 😉

  11. Karen@Mignardise says:

    What about the Nutella oat cookies? Those sound really good to me – would love the recipe!

  12. Sarah (Castratori) says:

    hi kerrin,

    great blog, again. love your photographs. do you already have your own cook/baking book?
    i also looked you up on facebook – you do not have your fanpage there (yet)? right, or did i just not found you?

    i found some great cupcakes in Basel – – if you ever stop by in Basel on Fridays they sell it on the Market 😉
    I am already addicted to them (after two weeks… 😉

    kind regards, sarah

  13. Kerrin says:

    Julia, yes it was certainly quite a weekend – even more sweets and desserts than usual, which is already a lot ! And now as I write this, unfortunately no leftovers 🙁

    Karen, aha – good question ! 😉 I played around with a recipe from a well-known pastry chef in New York City. Karen DeMasco makes these unbelievable Nutella cookie sandwiches at Locanda Verde. I made them a bit thicker and softer, without the extra filling. Here is her original recipe, definitely let me know if you try it !! Enjoy !

    Sarah, thank you ! No book …. for now 😉 But there is a MyKugelhopf fan page on Facebook, thanks for looking that up – not sure why it didn’t turn up though:
    And thanks for sharing the sweet tip in Basel – that is a looong list of cupcake flavors there ! What’s your favorite ? Mocha and Kahlua sound good to me… Yum =)

  14. Regi says:

    Wow, a Macaron Day…. that IS better than Christmas! Have you ever tried making them? I’ve been tempted but haven’t done it yet.

  15. Kerrin says:

    Regi, haha – definitely better than Christmas ! =) If you can believe this… I’ve never tried making them myself. If you do give in to temptation, here’s a site to check out for sure:

    Good luck – and enjoy !

  16. Katrin says:

    Hi from a rare wi-fi link on our trip; today in San Francisco! Our friend Ilan is making us his Passover macaroons (his pronunciation) for desert tonight – Senta (the expert) will let me know how delicious they are, and then I’ll try to steal the recipe 🙂

  17. Kerrin says:

    Katrin, oooh I can’t wait to hear ! And if Ilan pronounced them as “macarOOns” then that means coconut, whereas this post here talks about French almond-based macarons. Here are the macaroons I made last year, we’ll have to compare recipes ! =)

    My most recent post has some more Passover recipes if you want to share with him:

  18. Katrin says:

    He may pronounce them that way, but he meant macarons – and they were tasty!

  19. Regi says:

    So Katrin, where is the recipe?

  20. Kerrin says:

    Regi, good point ! Thanks for the reminder. Oh Katriiiiiin (and Ilan)… alors ?? 😉

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