Ma’amoul means “filled and these traditional Mediterranean cookies are stuffed with dates or walnuts or pistachios, and exotically perfumed with rosewater.
These Lebanese shortbread cookies feature a buttery pastry scented with rose water and wrapped around a cinnamon and nutmeg –spiced date filling.
These beautiful date-paste-filled cookies are absolutely delicious! The cookie outer layer is soft yet flaky. The date filling is sweet but not overly so. Regardless, the combination it is a very tasty and healthy and an amazing snack!
While these cookies are a bit time-consuming, if you have a free afternoon they really are worth every effort. They will keep nicely for up to a month stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Many households keep a stock of them all year round but they are particularly used in religious festivals.
They are ancient Arab desserts that are often made to celebrate Eid, the end of Ramadan. Not only because these cookies are delicious and sure to impress whoever you share them with but also because for me, they hold a deeper, much more special meaning.
I loved making these cookies, handling dough scented with rosewater. It was fun to fill the molds and knock them out onto my baking pan, seeing the beautiful little design imprinted on each cookie as it came out. I don’t have the Maamoul mold, I have used my silicone mold to give the cookies a good looking shape.
They were so good that I just couldn’t stop eating them unless I finished them, they were taken away from me or I felt sick! Today, I am absolutely thrilled to be sharing this recipe with you today.
3 cups semolina
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup ghee, clarified butter (regular butter works too)
½ tsp. active dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
⅓ cup milk
3 cups dates, pitted
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. rose water
1-2 tbsp. clarified butter
1. Blend dates together in a food processor with spices and 1 tablespoon clarified butter until smooth. Add rose water. Roll 1 tablespoon dates into small balls.
2. In a small bowl, mix yeast in water and allow it to stand for 3 minutes.
3. In a bowl, mix together semolina, flour, salt, sugar, and butter.
4. Add the yeast and water and milk to the bowl and mix until dough forms.
5. Allow dough to rest for 3-4 hours (preferably overnight gives a very good result).
6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
7. Using mold, press dough into the center, place date ball in the center of the dough. Place a second smaller piece of dough over the top of the date, cover the filling.
8. Tap the mold until the dough releases.
9. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
10. Bake for 15- 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
11. Enjoy this with a hot cup of tea or coffee.