Ma’amoul (Arabic: معمول ma‘mūl) are small Middle Eastern shortbread cookies filled with a sweet filling; they can be loaded with nuts like pistachios and walnuts or with dates. There are many maamoul recipes out there, however, this is the one I’ve used with great results. I usually prepare the dough, set aside and while it’s resting I prepare the filling. Maamoul cookies have a texture that crumbles and melts in your mouth. They should be made ahead of time and they keep well in the freezer. Usually, they are made for special holidays, however you can serve them anytime with a cup of delicious coffee or tea.
Ingredients: Makes 43 cookies
2 cups farina (smid)
1 cup semolina (farkha)
1 cup softened unsweetened butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk powder
1/4 teaspoon ground mahlab
1 envelope yeast
1/2 cup orange blossom water
1/2 cup rose water
2 cups Pistachios
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons rose water
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- Mix the farina, semolina, regular sugar, milk powder and ground mahlab then add the softened butter and mix in your food processor for 5 minutes on low speed. You can also mix well by hand into a paste.
- Pour the rose water, orange blossom water on the paste and mix again, then let it rest for 2 hours or overnight.
- Dilute the yeast in warm water and add to the paste.
- You should now have a nice dough that needs about 2-3 hours of rest, covered, at room temperature before using.
To make the filling:
- Mix your pistachios with sugar in a food processor and grind on high speed for 2-3 minutes
- Don’t grind them too much as you want the filling to still have chunks of nuts, or you can keep aside some nuts to be add at the end.
- Add the rose water and orange blossom water and grind for a couple more minutes for the filling to come together
Molding the Maamoul:
- Scoop about 1 tablespoon of maamoul dough, place in the palm of your hand and flatten it to a thickness of ⅓ inch
- Add about 1 heaping teaspoon of filling to its center then bind the edges together and close the dough on the fillings
- Place the dough in the wooden maamoul mold, press it gently with your fingers until it becomes even with the mold surface and add more dough to even it out if needed (see photos).
- Place a towel on a cutting board and slam the wooden mold’s edge on it a couple of times until the molded maamoul drops out of it.
- Place molded maamoul on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. Spray with vegetable or butter spray
- Bake at 400°F preheated oven for 15–17 minutes, or until the maamoul begins to turn slightly pinkish/reddish
- As soon as you take them out of the oven and while still hot, place powdered sugar inside a strainer and sift/shake on top of the maamouls to fully cover them. The powdered sugar will eventually melt and turn a bit glazed.
- Let cool down at room temperature, and then sprinkle some more powdered sugar until fully covered
- You can keep them in an airtight container for a few days at room temperature or in freezer for 6 months.
P.S: Maamoul molds and ground mahlab can be found at all Middle Eastern stores in the USA.