Friday, April 10, 2009

Maamoul - Lebanese Easter Cookies

Happy Easter every one
Joyeuses Paques
Al Massih Kam .. Hakan Kam... ( in Arabic)
Koum Moran Min Kabrouh (in Aramic)

Maamoul are Middle Eastern cookies which are traditionally served at festivals and on holidays. They make popular Ramadan or Easter treats. The dough used to make maamoul is like semolina shortbread and the cookies are filled with sweetened mixtures of nuts. Traditionally, the cookies are made in decorative molds which stamp distinctive patterns onto the finished products; certain patterns and shapes are used to indicate specific fillings.
These light golden crumbly sweets are very popular in the Middle East, and although they are particularly associated with festivals, it is not uncommon to find maamoul around the house at other times as well. The cookies are often offered to visitors and honoured guests along with coffee and tea, and other beverages, depending on the region. Many bakeries carry maamoul and they can also be found packaged at various markets. The cookies can also be made at home; molds are helpful, although not required if you are using tweezers or crimpers.
This recipe does not change, you can divide the recipe in half, or third, but make sure you are using the same portioned amounts and ingredients to get the real flavour of the Lebanese Maamoul.
I used the same amount, and divided the dough in thirds, one part to be stuffed with dates, the second with a mix of walnuts and almonds (walnuts by it can be used) and the third for pistachios filling

Mother maamoul dough for all stuffing (Recipe updated)
Ingredients :
  • 1000 grams or 1 kg coarse semolina (from a Middle Eastern Stores) 
  • 1000 grams or kg medium farina (mix the two or use whatever is available in your market)
  • 1000 grams or 1 kg of sweet butter (clarified butter is better, or mixed with Semen)
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. of mistake gum finely grounded with tsp.  sugar 
  • ground mix spices for date maamoul (1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 cardamom, 1/2 tsp of all spice)
  • 2 tsp. ground mahleb you find it at the middle eastern store
  • 2 tsp. of instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup of a mix orange blossom and rose water
  • around 1/2 cup of warm water for kneading the next day.

In a heavy bottom pot, on a low heat, dissolve the butter and the sugar to melt but don't boil , add the spices if you are making date maamoul only. or prepare the dough the next day divide and add the spices for the date maamoul dough.
Pour the butter over the semolina flour in a large mixing bowl, use your hands and mix the ingredients, making sure all the semolina flour is soaked with the butter. You can grab the semolina in the palm of your hands and rub it so that no lumps left.   It will take around 15-20 minutes to rub the butter and semen in the semolina to mix well. 

Cover the dough with a plastic wrap, then cover with a towel and leave it on the table overnight or if you mix it in the morning, wait 6 - 8 hours at least for the semolina to soak and fluff.

The second day, sprinkle the yeast over the semolina, add ½ cup of the flavoured water (rose water + orange blossom) mahleb and mistake gum and mix well for the new spices to combine.   Divide the dough into portions and start kneading using warm water to make a nice smooth dough easy to work with , when you take some dough in your hand and squeeze it should hold and doesn't break apart, this means its ready for stuffing. and its feels that its mixed well, and not crumbly in your hands.  If you prefer you can use your kitchen aid to mix it in several batches (kneading a little portion of the dough separately is easy and doesn't dry the dough, as I mentioned earlier you can portion the dough for every flavour and knead it , then let it rest around 10 minutes so the semolina fluff and become easier and softer to work with.

If you have wooden molds , wash them and dry well, then sprinkle the molds with some semolina and tap the excess out.  The molds also comes in plastic  (its easier to use for beginners) with similar designs each represents a flavour: the square for dates, egg shell for pistachio and the round for walnuts.
I prefer to shape the maamoul by hand, taking a piece of dough the size of a walnut. Dipping your index finger in water then insert into the center of  the dough, and start turning and pressing the dough to open at the same time with the remaining fingers are surrounding the dough to keep it from flatten , it will start taking the shape of an egg, or kibbee balls - add one tbsp of the stuffing inside the shell and then close the top by gathering the dough closer to close, you can shape it into a round ball for walnuts, egg shape for pistachio or bracelet for dates (for dates I mix it with some butter and the spices in the micro to soften it then shape them into round balls , I stuff the dough turn it into a round ball flatten it by hand and then use your finger to press in the centre and make a hole, fix the edges to become the same thickness all around, and using a fondant crimper or cookie tweezers decorate the cookie according to your taste.

If you are using a mold you can also open a piece of dough in the palm of your hand , add the stuffing, and close the sides around the stuffing turning it to a small ball. Pack ball into the mold. Level off cookie even with the lip of the mold. Make sure your dough is closed around the filling and nothing is coming out, the sugar in the filling will cook caramelized and sometimes burns , it will ruin your maamoul.

Transfer cookies to baking sheets lines with parchments, bake in a preheated 350F oven till light brown , don't over bake them.

Dates Maamoul
Apricot Maamoul is a new flavour
Date Stuffing:
You need the same amount of date as the dough. Add the dates in a heat proof bowl, add to it couple of spoons of sweet butter, and warm it in the microwave for 40 seconds, to soften, then add 1 tsp. of cinnamon and 1/2 of nutmeg or cardamom or the three spices, mix well by hand to soften, and let it cool to use. Dates are very good, full of healthy nutrition.
for dates: you can roll a thick rope on the working board then flatten by hand, roll a date rope thinner than your dough with the same length, put it in the center and close both ends, and re roll to close. cut diagonals and use a fork to prick some designs on top. this is a simple and easy design.

Nuts Stuffing:
for one kilogram of dough you need 600 gms of chopped walnuts/almond or walnuts , same for pistachios
Chop the nuts in food processor , half of the amount is chopped very fine and the other half is a bit coarser. add couple spoons of rose water + orange blossom and 1/4 cup of sugar . mix well and stuff your maamoul.

 Date Stuffing: for every kilo of maamoul dough one kilo of dates.  I like to spice the date dough and the dates stuffing with spices you can use the spices I mentioned in your dough, then add one spice or more in the date with a piece of butter depends on the amount, and I put them in the microwave to soften the dates and melt the butter , then I mix well so all the flavours are mixed and use it for stuffing.

Serving the Maamoul :  when serving your maamoul cookies you can dust the top with powder sugar, the dates doesn't need as its sweet enough.  

Here is a smaller recipe I scale it as per several requests
3 cup of semolina or 480 gm
heaping 1 cup of semen + clarified butter or sweet butter or 216 gm
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of yeast
1 tbsp each of flavoured water (Rose Water + Orange Blossom)
1/2 tsp mahleb + (1 1/2 tsp spices for the dates)
2 pieces of mistake gum grounded with tablespoon of sugar
for nut stuffing : 2 1/2 cup of chopped nuts + 4 tbsp of flavoured water + 2 tbsp sugar
Dates stuffing : even amount for dough and dates, same weight. spices according to your taste.
I know it takes time, but worth every bite of these awesome cookies.
Enjoy.. Happy Easter


Lisa Michelle said...

Arlette, I'm in love with your Maamouls, especially the date ones! I LOVE dates so much, I could eat them filled with That said, your photos are marvelous too! Awesome job as usual!

Arlette said...

Thank you Lisa, try it and see how good they are.
do them thick rop and cut diagonals they are cute and small and you don't feel guilty when you eat more than 2 or 4 hahahah!!

I should post add a recipe for a small quantities... before I scare every one.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Thank you!

These Maamouls look delicious and pretty! Not long ago, I bought a Maamoul mould, but haven't had the chance to try it...



Joanne + Michelle, kookie girls clothing said...

YUM!!! Thanks for popping over and visiting us!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Easter Arlette:
المسيح قام، بالحقيقة قام
All the best for this blessed season to you and your family. You are doing a wonderful job in this blog. The pictures look great and I am certain the food taste great too. GOOD LUCK.
May God bless your efforts more and more.
Lucy Efram

Arlette said...

Hakan Kam Lucy
Koum Moran Min Kabrouh

How are you ... I didn't see you online for a while I hope you are doing okay??

Elra said...

Wow, what a delectable and scrumptious goodies. Delicious.
Hope your Easter was wonderful.

chahira said...

كل عام و انتى بألف خير ارليت
ينعاد عليكى بالخير و على كل المسيحين و المسلمين يا رب
و كل سنه تبقى احسن من اللى قبلها
امين يا رب العالمين
كل سنه و انتى طيبه

Arlette said...

Wa Aleiki Ya habibaty....
Ameen Ya Rab ...

I am Orthodox .. my family is celebrating Easter next week...

Summer said...

Happy Easter, next week :)
great great recipe and really nice day i hope i will make all these special sweets and enjoy them with family and friends. thank you!


كل سنة وانت طيبة, ينعاد عليك انت واسرتك بالصحة والعافية وراحة البال ان شاء الله

Arlette said...

Merci Ya Habibaty Sabah,
Inshallah Ala Al Jameeh Ya Rab....

amal said...

Un peu en retard, Joyeuses pâques!! magnifiques ces maamouls, si pouvais je t'en piquerai quelques uns en passant!! bonne journée

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the recipe. I would like to find the plastic mold for the maamoul any ideals.

Arlette said...

Hello there,

Definitely at a Lebanese/Middle Easter Store
you will find that....I will take a photo of my plastic molds and post them online so you will have an idea

Arlette said...

Hello Anonymous,

I just did an online search and found this web site
they are in California. You can check their web site, they have one rectangular mold which has the three stamps in one mold.
Good luck.

Noor said...

MashAllah so glad you found my blog because I found yours, love it..... :)

Arlette said...

Shoukaran Ya Noor....
Glad you are joining us
I really like your cooking and recipes

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your Ma'amouls look very pretty! I'll have to try your recipe when I have time...



Karen Kerr said...

They look beautiful Arlette!

Monu Teena said...

Delicious.. just love Maamoul ~ i have made some too :) do visit my place when time permits Maamoul ~ date cookies that's a recipe by my mom :)
happy blogging do give me feedback!

Crooked Shade Farm said...

I haven't had Mamoul for years and just came across my molds. My mother learned to make these from a Syrian woman she knew and she always made several dozens at Christmas. My favorite is the walnut filling with rose water. Yum. I think I may still have some mahleb squirreled away somewhere... M