Also spelt Hamantaschen. A Yiddish word that literally means "Haman's pockets".

Hamentaschen are a special type of biscuit (cookie) that is traditionally eaten on the Jewish festival of Purim. They are often referred to as Haman's ears although as I say above, the word literally means Haman's pockets.

They come in three main varieties.

In either case, they are stuffed with a filling. Most traditionally, poppy seeds are used. However, it's common nowdays to see them filled with chocolate or Jam as well. They are then decorated with hundreds and thousands.

Why are they eaten on Purim? No idea!

To make your own Hamantaschen (of the hard biscuit style), simply make up some normal biscuit pastry. Cut out circles of it and place on a greaseproof paper sheet. Put a blob of poppy seeds, chocolate or jam in the middle, then pinch up the sides in thirds to form a small pyramid with the filling inside. Sprinkle something pretty over the top and bake.

Or, simply go to a Kosher bakery in the week before Purim, which usually falls about 1 month before Easter - although this year (2005) Purim actually falls on Good Friday.

Unfortunately, in recent years, some newspapers in Saudi Arabia (which is supposed to be a "modernising Arab country", and with whom the USA has ties), have revived old anti-semitic rumours of the blood libel. Traditionally, these were based around Jews killing a Christian child to use its blood for making the Matzoh for Pesach. However, they have also now claimed that this is done to put into Hamantaschen. Needless to say, this is simple anti-semitism with no basis in truth.