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Bake Purim biscuits

First suggested by 20th Finchley (Woodside Park) Scout Group
Make triangular treats called Hamantaschen to mark the Jewish festival of Purim.

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You’ll need

  • Ingredients (see recipe)
  • Weighing scales
  • Teaspoon
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Rolling pin
  • Circular pastry cutter or cup
  • Baking tray
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Wire rack (optional)
  • Heat-proof oven gloves
  • Spatula/similar
  • Access to an oven
  • Anti-bacterial spray and cloth
  • Fire extinguisher or fire blanket
  • First aid kit, including for burns

Before you begin 

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Take a look at our guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment, including examples.  
  • Make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers. 
  • Check for allergies, intolerances, fasting, food-related medical conditions, eating disorders, food sensitivities or dietary requirements, then adjust the food items used as needed. This may include making sure there’s no cross-contamination of packaging and no cross-contamination during the storage, preparation, cooking and serving. 
  • You may need to use separate chopping boards, equipment and utensils, such as tongs or toasters, for different dietary requirements, allergies and foods.
  • If you’re unsure, check with the young person and their parents or carers. You can check with the adult directly if it’s a volunteer or helper.
  • Some people may not like certain food textures or tastes and that’s OK. People don’t need to use all the ingredients if they don’t want to, and no-one should be made to try foods if they don’t want to. You can try to find an alternative for them. 
  • Take a look at our guidance on food preparation
  • You could run our kitchen hygiene activities before this session.
  • Always have a hand washing station, washing hands regularly throughout this activity, and taking extra hygiene precautions when handling food. If you're using gloves to prepare food, treat them like your hands. Wash any gloves before using them and in between if necessary.
  • Spray and wipe down all working surfaces and tables with anti-bacterial spray before and after use, and wash any equipment you’re using in hot soapy water.
  • Take extra hygiene precautions when handling raw meat, such as regular hand washing.
  • Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods separate, having separate equipment for raw and cooked meat, and washing up equipment as soon as it's been used. 
  • Make sure food is properly cooked before you serve it. Always cut through poultry and meat to make sure it's fully cooked, especially when barbecuing food. Make sure it's cooked slowly and thoroughly, and not just done on the outside.
  • Always follow cooking instructions and never use food past its use-by date. 
  • Keep food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible.
  • At the start of this activity, remind everyone of kitchen or indoor cooking safety rules and how to act safely. Always tie hair back, tuck in neckers and loose clothing, and wear closed toe shoes. Take a look at our kitchen safety tips.
  • You may want to run a demonstration on how to use the equipment safely, such as for cooking or chopping ingredients. You could use our kitchen safety activities before this session.
  • Make sure any cooking equipment or heat sources, such as ovens and hobs, always have adult supervision, including during free time and arrival times. If anyone struggles with sensing danger, you should consider providing extra adult supervision. This could be especially helpful at unstructured times, such as breaks or waiting to cook.
  • Remind everyone to keep their fingers away from any knives. You may want to use blunt, child-friendly knives, or you could also have ingredients pre-chopped.
  • If you’re using a gas stove, tabletop hob plates or a mini oven, make sure it’s on a stable heatproof surface and in a clear and open area, with plenty of ventilation. Gas appliances and sources can increase risk of carbon monoxide exposure. Take a look at our guidance on different cooking methods and carbon monoxide.
  • You may want to put child-safe locks on cupboard doors to prevent access by young people, especially for cupboards containing matches, cleaning products or chemicals.
  • People can work in small groups or as a whole group to bake or cook. Each group should have adult supervision.
  • You may want to be in groups, but everyone to use the same cooking source, rather than having each group have their own.
  • You may wish for groups to make or prepare the ingredients in a wider, more spacious area, then invite each group into the kitchen to cook one at a time. 
  • Remember the groups not using the kitchen or cooking will still need to be supervised, always following the Yellow Card
  • Make sure you have all the ingredients ready. You may want to pre-chop or pre-measure some activities.

Scouts is open to everyone. We don’t identify exclusively with one faith, and we welcome people of all faiths and of none.

We know it’s important for people to learn about each other, including understanding different faiths and beliefs. Scouts always respects people’s beliefs, faiths and cultures, and everyone should be open to learn.

As an inclusive and values based movement, we support our members to engage and learn about different faiths and beliefs in an exciting and meaningful way, even if they don’t have a faith themselves.  

Celebrating and understanding differences, including differences in faiths and beliefs, is an important part of our Scout values, which are:

  • Integrity: We act with integrity; we are honest, trustworthy and loyal.
  • Respect: We have self-respect and respect for others.
  • Care: We support others and take care of the world in which we live.
  • Belief: We explore our faiths, beliefs and attitudes.
  • Co-operation: We make a positive difference; we co-operate with others and make friends.

Our value of Belief and its exploration helps Scouts to learn from other faiths and beliefs. This encourages them to develop or build their personal beliefs and understand their shared values, whether faith-based on not. 

We know that learning about faiths, beliefs and different attitudes can help to break down barriers, helps us all to recognise what we have in common, and teaches us to value and respect other people. It also helps us to build up respect, acceptance and knowledge for each other, leading to a more co-operative and inclusive society. 

In our diverse society, people can sometimes feel cautious talking about  this sensitive subject. However, it's important that Scouts offers young people safe, exciting and open spaces to explore faiths and beliefs. They should be able to engage in personal reflection, as they question and develop their opinions and understanding of the world around them.

Making time for personal reflection and developing our beliefs means exploring the places, people, communities, celebrations or stories which hold meaning for us, and it may not necessarily mean exploring a faith. 

For example, someone’s shared values may be their Scout Values and that person may choose to reflect on them at important times, such as when they make their Promise. Others may choose to reflect at certain times of the year, such as a faith-based festival, birthdays, meaningful events or at New Year. Some people may still celebrate events, such as Christmas, but use it as a time to celebrate family, friends and loved ones, as well as for charity and giving.

Discover more about Faiths and Beliefs in Scouts.

Purim is a Jewish festival that usually falls in February or March each year. It starts at sunset on the first day and then finishes at nightfall the next. It’s usually pronounced PUH-rim or pooh-REEM.

Purim a time for celebration and is a lively and fun festival. People dress up in costumes, share food and drink including triangular biscuits called hamantaschen, and enjoy spending time with family and friends. People also give gifts to their friends and to people in need. 

Purim comes from the biblical Book of Esther. Jews remember Esther, who was the Queen of Persia more than 2,000 years ago. Esther was married to the King, who had an advisor called Haman.

Haman made plans to kill all the Jews on a certain date. He drew lots to choose the date. The name of the festival, Purim, means ‘lots’ in Ancient Persian, because Haman drew lots.

Queen Esther found out about the plans and, although nervous, summoned the courage to tell the King about Haman's evil plan. She explained that this was because Haman was going to kill all the Jewish people and that she was Jewish. The King was furious and stopped Haman’s plan.

The Book of Esther is read aloud at the place of worship for Jewish people, called a synagogue.

During the story, every time Haman's name is mentioned the young people stamp their feet, boo, hiss and shake rattles to drown out the sound of his name. After the service, some dress up and act out the story. 

On the day before Purim, Jews might fast to commemorate how the Jewish people fasted and prayed to God for the Jewish people to be saved. Queen Esther only agreed to tell the King about Haman’s plans if Jewish people fasted and prayed first.

The story of Esther happened more than 2000 years ago in Ancient Persia. There lived a woman called Esther. Esther’s uncle was called Mordecai and he was the leader of the Jews.

The King at the time, King Ahasuerus, asked Esther to marry him and become his new Queen. Her uncle, Mordecai, told Esther not to tell the King she was Jewish, so she didn’t.

King Ahasuerus had a minister called Haman, who hated the Jews. Haman wanted everyone to bow down to him. Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, as he believed this was against his Jewish beliefs.

This made Haman very angry. He decided to take revenge on all the Jews. He told the King that Jews were a threat and action needed to be taken. The King told Haman he could do what he wanted, so Haman made plans to kill all the Jews on a certain date. He drew lots to choose the date.

Mordecai found out about Haman’s plan and asked Esther for help. He wanted her to talk to the King to ask him to save the Jewish people. However, no one was allowed to approach the King without permission, not even Esther. Anyone who did was likely to be killed. 

Esther knew she would be risking her life, but she agreed to tell the King. She said she’d tell him only if all the Jewish people spent time fasting and praying first.

Esther summoned the courage to tell the king about Haman's evil plan. She explained that this was because Haman was going to kill all the Jewish people and that she was Jewish. 

The King was furious and stopped Haman’s plan. The King sent Haman away forever. Esther’s bravery and standing up for her people helped save all the Jews. 


Planning and setting up the activity 

  • Remember to give a safety briefing for the cooking equipment and methods you’re using. You may wish to demonstrate the methods or activity before you all start cooking.
  • Making Hamantaschen is a great activity to plan in around Purim. Purim is a Jewish festival that usually falls in February or March each year.   
  • You could invite someone who celebrates Purim to your session and invite them to share their experiences. If there’s a predominantly Jewish Scout Group near you, why not reach out to them, and see if you can enjoy this activity together.

Running the activity 

  1. Tell everyone that you’re going to make Hamantaschen, which is pronounced han-mahn-TAH-shn. They’re triangular biscuits, often eaten during Purim. Explain that Purim is important to Jews as they are remembering God's power to save them and that good overcomes evil. It's a time for celebration and is a lively and fun festival. Hamantaschen are traditionally filled with poppy seeds, because in the story of Esther, which is remembered during Purim, and in the story Esther only ate seeds while she lived in the King's palace.
  2. Everyone should wash their hands and get ready to cook. You might want to remind everyone about ways to keep safe in the kitchen you’re using and to regularly wash their hands. 

Hamantaschen recipe


  • 100g softened unsalted butter, plus some spare for greasing
  • 1 large egg
  • 125g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour, plus some spare for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons jam
  • Poppy seeds (optional)

Prep time: 15 – 20 minutes 

Cook time: 15 minutes (plus time to cool) 

Makes:  16  

Make your Hamantaschen

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, or 180 degrees for a fan oven. 
  2. Grease the baking tray with some butter and line it with greaseproof paper.
  3. Put the butter, egg, sugar and vanilla extract into a large bowl. Mix with a spoon, until the mixture is nice and smooth. Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl, then mix and combine everything together to make your dough. 
  4. Make sure you’ve got a nice clean surface to roll your dough on, then sprinkle a bit of flour on the surface. Roll the dough out with your rolling pin until it’s smooth and flat. It needs to be about 5mm thick. If the dough is sticking to the surface or the rolling pin, add a bit of flour to either the surface or rolling pin. Some people refrigerate the dough overnight, but this isn’t essential.
  5. Cut your dough into circular shapes using a pastry cutter. You could also use the rim of a tumbler or plastic drinking cup.
  6. Lay your dough circles out on the baking tray, then put a teaspoon of jam in the middle of each one.
  7. To assemble the hamantaschen, brush the outer edge of a circle very lightly with egg wash, then:
    • Take the lower left edge of the circle and fold it at an angle towards the centre to make a flap that covers the left third of the circle. It should form one side of the triangle.
    • Next, take the opposite side of the circle. Fold it up towards the centre, slightly overlapping the left side flap, to create a triangular tip at the bottom of the circle. You should be able to see the filling in the middle.
    • Finally, fold the top part of the circle downwards to create a third flap and complete the triangle - a small triangle of filling should be visible in the centre.
  8. Once made, gently pinch and press the points of the triangle together to make them really stick. Ideally, you want the edges to be over the next one on one side and under on the other to create a pinwheel effect. You’ll still be able to see some of the jam in the middle.
  9. People may wish to add the traditional poppy seeds by sprinkling them on top, but this is optional.
  10. Using heatproof gloves, an adult should place them in the pre-heated oven until they're lightly browned. This should take around 12 to 15 minutes.
  11. When ready, an adult should use heatproof gloves and carefully remove the biscuits from the oven. Place the tray on a heatproof surface, out of reach from young people, and give the biscuits time to cool down.
  12. Use a spatula to carefully move the biscuits onto a wire rack or heatproof plate to finish cooling. The jam will be hot, so may need longer to cool down.
  13. When they’re cool, everyone should enjoy your Hamantaschen. People could also take them home. 


This activity gave everyone the chance to explore faith and beliefs. It was an opportunity for everyone to learn a bit about an important occasion in the Jewish calendar or celebrate Purim within their group. For Jewish members, this is a delicious way to celebrate Purim and reflect what is means to them or their loved ones. 

You had the opportunity to reflect on or learn about Purim. Was there anything that surprised you? Is there anything you’d like to learn more about? 

One of the Scouts values is beliefs. Scouts always respect people’s beliefs, faiths and cultures, and everyone should be open to learn. Ask everyone why it’s important for people to learn about each other's faiths and beliefs, even if we don’t have a faith ourselves.  

Explain that part of being a global citizen, as well as being a Scout, is learning about different faiths, cultures and beliefs and identifying the things people have in common. Can you think of any similarities between Purim and occasions celebrated in other faiths or cultures?  


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.


Teach young people how to use cooking equipment safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Make sure it’s safe to use and follow manufacturers’ guidelines for use.


Remember to check for allergies, eating problems, fasting or dietary requirements and adjust the recipe as needed. Make sure you’ve suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods. Take a look at our guidance on food safety and hygiene.

  • To make this activity easier, or if you need it to be quicker, you could measure out the ingredients before the session. You could also prepare the dough before the session or use ready-made dough.
  • Remember to check your ingredients against any allergy or dietary requirements to ensure everyone can enjoy the recipe. This may mean using alternative ingredients. To make vegan biscuits, you could use plant-based butter and replace the egg with 2 tablespoons of apple sauce.
  • Be conscious about who may be fasting when running this activity – you may want to plan it for when everyone can get involved. 
  • There are lots of different jobs that need doing when planning, making and cooking on a kitchen. People can work in small groups or as a whole group, depending on what will work best for your group. There’s a role for everyone, so encourage everyone to be involved in a way that works for them.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

If you enjoyed this activity, you could try our other activities linked to Purim, such as making graggers. You could also learn about another Jewish festival, such as Hanukkah, or you may want to look at our badges to do with World Faiths. 

If anyone in the group celebrates Purim, you could offer them the opportunity to share their experiences, but only if they want to and are comfortable to do so. You may want to ask or chat to them before the session, so they don’t feel put on the spot or singled out. 

Young people could enjoy adapting the recipe by choosing their own fillings (such as chocolate spread or savoury fillings), or experimenting with flavouring the dough (some recipes use orange juice or grated orange zest).