Maamoul Cookies: Recipe with Nut or Date Filling

Maamoul
Foto: Lorna P / Utopia

Maamoul cookies are buttery and sweet, with a date- or nut-filled center. They are often enjoyed in the Middle East at the end of religious festivals. Learn how to make them at home.

Maamoul cookies are sweet and buttery with a melt-in-your-mouth date or nut filling. They are popular in Middle Eastern countries like Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. It is believed that they originated from Egypt, where ancient paintings of them can be found on temple walls. Maamoul cookies are traditionally eaten by Muslim people at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan to celebrate Eid-al-Fitur. They are also enjoyed by Christians after Lent and during Easter, and by Jewish people during Purim. They are a popular item to serve to visiting guests, alongside fresh coffee.

Usually made with wheat flour or semolina, maamoul cookies are buttery and crumble in the mouth like shortbread, revealing their sweet center. This recipe uses all-purpose flour instead, as well as vegan butter and plant-based milk so vegans don’t need to miss out on these scrumptious treats. We use rosewater, but if you don’t have any rosewater just use water or more plant-based milk.

How to Make Maamoul Cookies

Roll the pieces of dough into balls and make a bowl shape in the center.
Roll the pieces of dough into balls and make a bowl shape in the center.
(Foto: Lorna P / Utopia)

Yield: 20 cookies

Ingredients:

    Instructions:

    1. Pit and chop the dates into small pieces.
    2. Cook the dates, salt, and water in a small pan on medium-low heat. Stir until they have broken down into a paste. Set aside and allow to cool.
    3. Mix the baking powder, flour, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the butter until combined.
    4. Stir together the rosewater and plant-based milk in a cup and then slowly mix into the flour mixture until it forms a dough ball.
    5. Put some flour on your hands and separate the dough into twenty evenly-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a plate.
    6. To insert the filling, flatten each ball in your hand and press your finger into the center to make a bowl shape. Put a teaspoon of the date mixture in the middle of each ball and close the opening by pinching together the dough. 
    7. Press down gently on the top of each ball with the palm of your hand to flatten it. Then place on a parchment paper substitute on a baking tray. Place them pinched side down.
    8. Make a star pattern on the top of each cookie by pricking it with a fork. Bake at 325°F for about thirty minutes, until golden brown.
    9. Remove from the oven and dust with powdered sugar. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool.

    Serve immediately or put in an airtight container for up to three days.

      Maamoul Cookie: Nut Filling

      Press down on each cookie after filling and prick with a fork.
      Press down on each cookie after filling and prick with a fork.
      (Foto: Lorna P / Utopia)

      Ingredients: 

      • All ingredients listed above (except dates and water)
      • 3/4 cup finely ground walnuts or pistachios
      • 1/3 cup strained apricot jam

      Instructions:

      1. Follow steps 3 – 5 from the above recipe.
      2. Finely chop the nuts in a food processor or by hand.
      3. Strain the jam by melting it in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring to prevent burning. Pour the warm jam through a sieve and press down with a spoon to remove any large pieces.
      4. Simmer again on low heat to remove excess liquid. Allow it to cool.
      5. Mix the ground walnuts or pistachios into the jam.
      6. Follow steps 6 – 13 above.

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