Maamouls are the most common cookies in the Middle East. And talking about the Maamoul is something that is worth it. They are a dessert full of flavor, tradition, and history. Culturally they are present in several countries, and even in several different religions.
Like everything in Arabic pastries; they are full of nuts, honey, and delicate flower essences. Its appearance competes with its taste. Not only are they delicious, but they also look gorgeous too. These cookies are real decorations on any table.
About their presence, they are compact cookies, and whitish in color. They are usually filled with dates, pistachios, or walnuts. On them, a thin layer of powdered sugar that gives the final touch. The outer part of the Maamoul is a mixture of flour, semolina, and ghee.
Although it may seem difficult to count a flavor. I would dare to describe it this way: When you bite a Maamoul, it melts in your mouth. While you chew it, you will feel the combination of crunchy pieces of semolina and walnuts. Mixed with a soft and aromatic interior. While you chew it, you will perceive the mixture of aromas and flavors that will take you to the Persian Gulf.
This is not a simple recipe, and it is not healthy either. But, without a doubt, they are the best cookies in the world.
How to make the Maamoul?
Maamoul may seem very complicated, but they are quite simple to do. Its elaboration is load with traditions. In Lebanon, the women of the family and those close to them gather to prepare them. As you would expect, they make very large batches of Maamoul to share between all the houses.
Making Maamoul is a family event. And yet another reason for gathering together for Muslim families. Although these cookies are also part of Jewish gastronomy.
To make the Maamoul you have to make at least two different mixes. One is the outer dough, and the other is the filling. Most people prefer various flavors of filling. Then they bake cookies filled with pistachios, dates, and walnuts.
The cookie or external part is a mixture of flour, semolina, ghee, sugar, water, and aromatic essences. The most used essences are roses and orange blossom. The filling is simple, the crushed nuts, sweetened with date paste, and spices.
Maamoul need love, and as such, it is important to knead them by hand. Until you feel that both doughs have the perfect texture. The desired point is when the dough does not crack.
When the doughs are ready, the next step is to make the filling. And it's as simple as making small marble-sized spheres until the filling is gone. Then, with the outer dough, spheres are made, which are then flattened to serve as a container for the filling. The filled dough should be rounded again.
This still amorphous mass is placed under pressure inside a Maamoul mold. Then, they are removed from the mold with a sharp blow. All the cookies are placed on a baking sheet, about ten minutes of cooking over moderate heat and that's it. Important to note: these cookies are not golden brown like western cookies.
In the case that you do not have the Maamoul molds, but you want to try our recipe, you could also do it. Instead of pressing the filled cookie dough into a mold. Place it on the baking sheet, and make a few shapes on it by pressing with a fork. The end result will not be so pretty, but you will get all the flavor.
If these types of sweets attract your attention. Visit our recipe for baklava.
2 ½ cups of wheat flour, 250 g.
2 cups of wheat semolina, 250 g.
2 cups of ghee or softened butter, 500 g.
¼ cup of sugar
1/8 cup rose water
1/8 cup of orange blossom water
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
¾ cup of date paste
1 tablespoon of orange blossom water
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
A pinch of nutmeg
For the dough:
For the filling:
Place the ghee or butter to melt over low heat in a saucepan.
In a large bowl, add the wheat flour, semolina, and sugar. Stir well until well blended.
With your hand, poke a hole in the center of the flour and pour in the melted butter. Add the orange blossom water, and the rose water.
Knead by hand little by little until the dough looks smooth and has a homogeneous consistency. It should not crack. If you notice that it cracks, you can add a little more water, but little by little. Let it rest for about ten minutes in a cool place.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Crush the walnuts, put them in a bowl, and add to the date paste, the orange blossom water, the cinnamon, the cloves, and the nutmeg. Mix everything well with your hands, until the nuts are well integrated with the date paste. Usually, you don't need to add more sugar because dates are sweet. But if you want, you can add a couple more tablespoons.
Preheat the oven to 160º C / 320ºF. Line a tray with parchment paper.
Take the filling and make balls the size of a marble. Place them on a shallow plate.
Then, take a piece of the dough about the size of a large walnut, roll it into a ball, make a hole in the middle by pressing with your finger.
Put the filling ball into the hole in the dough. Carefully close the hole in the dough and round the dough again. Then place the cookie inside the mold and press it into the shape.
With a sharp blow, remove the cookie from the mold, and place the Maamuls one by one on top of the tray, as you prepare them. Repeat the procedure until the ingredients are gone
Bake the Maamuls for a maximum of twenty minutes. They must not be golden.
Cover with a little powdered sugar. Optional
Note: Remember that if you make the Maamuls without a mold, you must mark the surface with the tips of a fork.