Aron's Kosher Bakery has the softest cookie dough I have found. Yes, it is still sweet and crumbly, but it almost disappears on the tongue; it's yellow-tinged and baked much darker than the other offerings. The apricot filling had an almost floral flavor, and the poppy seed filling was a bit too crunchy where it dried out in the oven, but still, very tasty hamentashen indeed. $6.00/pound for small hamentashen, $1.50 each for large.
71-72 Yellowstone Boulevard, Forest Hills (map); 718-263-5045
Bonelle Pastry Shop
I remembered coming across this bakery last summer and seeing large hamentashen in the display counter of this tiny storefront. These hamentashen, although they look overfilled, had a nice ratio of dough to filling. The thick cookie dough, crumbly and crisp without being dry, had a hint of almond flavor. The apricot filling was on the tart end of the spectrum, not cloyingly sweet as jams can sometimes be. I again was forced to eat prune here, since they do not carry poppy seed, and the puree seemed homemade, slightly chunky, and again, not overly sweet. With cookie and filling in each bite, this was an enjoyable experience. $3.00 each for large hamentashen.
108-30 Ascan Avenue, Forest Hills (map); 718-575-1792
Andre's Hungarian Bakery
Andre's does not sell hamentashen year-round. And it is not a Jewish bakery. But starting towards the end of this week, and over the weekend, there they are, sitting in the window. These can not be compared to the cookie-style hamentashen at the other bakeries, since these are of a different school completely. Yeast-dough hamentashen can be difficult to find, but Andre's has them. They're more like eating a slice of tea cake—a soft, bready triangle of dough wrapped around a lemon and poppy seed filling studded with golden raisins. It was a nice change of pace after eating so many cookies. At $4.00 each, also the most expensive.
100-28 Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills (map); 718-830-0266
Mendy's Royale Kosher Bake Shop
With a name like this, I was expecting greatness, and that's what I found. The best of the search, everything was right about these beautiful triangles. The texture of the dough had just the right amount of crumb and bite; the poppy seed filling was sweet and soft and really tasted of poppy; the apricot, a smooth puree, was sweet and tart. And every bite had the ideal ratio of filling to dough. Not too sweet, not too dry, exactly what I was searching for. $2.00 each for large hamentash.
72-22 Main Street, Kew Gardens Hills (map); 718-544-8736
Martha's Country Bakery
The search began at Martha's; although not a Jewish bakery, they do sell Kosher products. These hamentashen were acceptable. The large triangles—they only had prune and poppy—were crumbly and sweet, the dough on the dry side, with much more dough than filling. The filling that was there was good, though: the prune puree was smooth and sweet, not too thick, and the poppy tasted like poppy seeds, with a sweet crust forming on top, giving way to softer seeds towards the interior. Still, not the best of the bunch. $2.00 each for large.
70-30 Austin Street, Forest Hills (map); 718-544-0088
Queens Pita Bakery
On my way down Main Street, I stopped in at Queens Pita Bakery once I saw the hamentashen display—a self-serve station set-up for the holiday, bins of all different flavors sold by the pound, I stuck with my trusty poppy and apricot favorites. There is nothing bad to say about these hamentashen. A nice sweet dough, sufficiently crumbly without being dry, the fillings were flavorful, if not generic. Not truly memorable, but a good cookie. $6.50/pound.
68-38 Main Street, Kew Gardens Hills (map); 718-263-8000
Main Street Bagels
These hamentashen will win no beauty contests, but the one that I sampled at Main Street Bagels was delicious. A small cookie, the triangle of sweet dough encasing the simple poppy seed filling managed to remain soft and tender, yet simultaneously crumbly, reminding me of the hamentashen I ate as a child during Purim Carnivals at Temple. $5.29/pound.
72-26 Main Street, Kew Gardens HIlls (map); 718-793-8100