Maamoul is a Middle Eastern date filled cookie that is popular around Ramadan.
These little desserts will just melt in your mouth.
As I write this Ramadan is coming up this month.
It is customary for Muslims to fast during this holy month that comes around once a year.
People fast during daylight hours.
Choosing not to eat, drink, or smoke from sunrise to sunset.
This is seen as a way to foster discipline in your life and to empathise with the less fortunate who go without enough food on a regular basis.
One of my favorite things about being a food blogger is getting to share these types of recipes with you.
The recipes I grew up with loving and enjoying.
What is Maamoul?
It is a tradition to serve your guests sweets when they visit, and Arab culture is still very much a social visiting culture.
Maamoul has a very distinctive flavor and texture, all part of what makes it a great dessert.
Like most great recipes, everyone makes Maamoul slightly differently.
Which in my view is a wonderful thing.
It gives you the opportunity to keep trying different maamoul recipes until you find your favorite.
I always tell people to experiment and be creative with their cooking.
Maamoul is no different, try new things, see what works and what doesn’t, and above all have fun!
How to Make Maamoul
Firstly, start by making the Maamoul dough.
Put the yeast, 1 tbsp of sugar and ¼ cup of water in a small bowl and mix.
Leave this to sit for 10 minutes.
Into this semolina mixture, add in: all purpose flour, mastic, ginger and baking powder.
Add in the yeast mixture you made at the beginning and mix in the ½ cup sugar, orange blossom water and rose water.
Knead this all together until a dough forms.
Cover this with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 50 minutes.
Whilst this is chilling, let’s make the date filling.
In a bowl, combine the date paste, cinnamon and cardamom.
Having the date mixture at room temperature will make it easier to mix.
But if it still isn’t soft enough, you can add a little hot water to make it more pliable.
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
Make roughly 40 balls out of the dough mixture and 40 smaller balls from the date mixture.
Take a ball of dough and, using your thumb, create a dent in the ball.
Place a smaller date ball in the center and cover it using the outer dough so you can’t see the date center anymore.
Press this ball into a Maamoul mold.
Once pressed in, you bang the mold on the table and out pops the shaped maamoul ready for baking.
Of course if you don’t have a mold on hand, the sweets will be just as tasty shaped by hand.
Place the finished cookies on a baking sheet.
Once you’ve finished all the cookies, bake them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until the edges are browned.
Once cooked, place them on a rack to cool.
Different Maamoul Fillings
This recipe is for date maamoul which is my favorite, but there are other types of fillings as well.
You can fill it also with chopped nuts.
Walnut or pistachios are among the other most popular types along with dates.
Different fillings are usually made into different shapes.
Each filling has its own distinctive shape thanks to the molds that make for easy differentiation.
Where to Find a Traditional Maamoul Mold
To get the authentic look of a Maamoul cookie, I recommend using a traditional mold.
If you have a Middle Eastern speciality store near you, that would be my first stop.
There is a good variety of choices on Amazon, that come in plastic or wood.
I prefer to use wood as I think the patterns look more authentic.
The traditional molds are made from wood and carved with a different design depending on the type of maamoul it is.
How to Store
Maamoul will keep for a while if stored correctly.
I always recommend storing them in an airtight container to lengthen their lifespan.
You don’t need to store them in the fridge.
Keeping them on a kitchen counter at room temperature will be sufficient.
If you want to keep them for another time, freezing them is an option.
Although I doubt they will stick around long enough!
They’ll stay in good condition frozen for around 2 months.
Tips for Making
- Don’t be tempted to make the semolina dough too thick. Chilling it in the fridge will stiffen it up.
- Using a mold isn’t necessary. You can create the same shape with your hands and add a pattern with a toothpick.
- Avoid overcooking. Remove from the oven once they’re brown on the edges. The rest of it will be cooked.
- In a small bowl mix the yeast, 1 tsp sugar, and ¼ cup water. Set aside.
- In a bowl mix the semolina, ghee, butter, and vegetable oil. Let sit for ten minutes.
- Add the yeast mixture, the ½ cup sugar, orange blossom water, and rosewater.
- Knead until a dough forms.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for 50 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
Making the Maamoul
- Make roughly 40 balls out of the dough, and 40 smaller balls of the date mixture.
- Press the date mixture into the dough and cover the bottom so the date does not show.
- Press dough and date filling into a maamoul mold. (If you do not have one, flatten the dough and filling until it resembles a filled cookie.) Place on a baking sheet.
- Bake Maamoul until edges are browned, five to ten minutes.
- Remove from oven when done and cool on the tray before moving the Maamoul to a cooling tray.