Maamoul is a buttery pistachio, date or walnut filled semolina cookie. Subtly scented with orange blossom, so decadent it scrumptiously melts in your mouth.
What are Maamoul Cookies?
Maamoul pronounced [ma’-mul]. Is a Middle Eastern stuffed cookie, the dough is made with a combination of semolina and all-purpose flours. It is lightly sweetened and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar right before serving. Maamoul can be made with butter or coconut oil or plant-based butter to make them vegan. Maamoul cookies are traditionally filled with pistachios, dates or walnuts and shaped with a carved wooden mold or by hand.
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How to Make Maamoul
Tips on how to make the perfect Maamoul
- Combine semolina, flour, sugar and coconut oil. Mix well using your hands until the coconut oil is well incorporated ( it should look like coarse cornmeal at this point)
- Slowly add almond milk and orange blossom water and keep working with your hands until it forms a smooth dough. ( it should feel like a fresh pack of Play-Doh)
- Let it rest for about 20-25 minutes at room temperature.
- If you do not have a Maamoul mold you can simply form the Maamoul and lightly flatten them with the palm of your hand. You can also decorate them, by making some marks with a fork
- If the dough is too soft to shape and work with, place it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. This may happen in the summer months or if your kitchen is hot.
- Don’t skip the orange blossom water, it is what gives Maamoul its characteristic Middle Eastern flavor.
- Store Maamoul in an airtight container and keep it on your counter for 2-3 days.
- Maamoul can be frozen in an airtight container for up to two months. Freeze them baked and let them thaw at room temperature before eating.
- Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar right before serving.
Would you like to learn how to make other Vegan Middle Eastern desserts? Check out our cookbook Tahini and Turmeric, 101 Middle Eastern Classics Made Irresistibly Vegan
Other Middle Eastern Desserts You Must Try
- Halvah Bars
- Sfuff (turmeric cake)
- Montecaos ( cinnamon cookies)
- Rose Water Almond Milk Pudding
- Halvah Stuffed Dates Dipped in Chocolate
- Semolina Borekas with Orange Blossom Syrup
The Story Behind These Maamoul Cookies
Remember a few years ago, when the Twinkie news broke out? People panicking thinking they would never get to eat a Twinkie, ever again? People even selling them on eBay?? Food bloggers posting recipes on how to make them at home??
Well, we never quite got what all the commotion was about. Maybe because we didn’t grow up in the US? Or maybe because we’ve never eaten one? I don’t know…
I’m not saying we grew up without any treats around the house. Yes, we did have factory-made, little snack cakes in Spain that we ate once in a while. But growing up in a Middle Eastern-influenced household, let’s just say that our treats were a bit… “different”.
Our grandmother (probably one of the best bakers we’ve ever known) used to make the most amazing homemade treats, all from scratch. Over the years we’ve tried to get the recipes from her, but the thing is, she never, ever followed one. “You have to feel the dough to know it has the right consistency”, she used to say. Well, that doesn’t really help when you’re thousands of miles away now, does it?
We really wanted to recreate her Maamoul (nut and date filled semolina cookies), which we’ve always loved, but we weren’t sure where to start so… what did we do? Since we couldn’t fly all the way to Israel to see our grandmother, we stopped by the one place in town that could provide us with the authentic recipe: a Middle Eastern restaurant and a grocery store called “Norma’s”. Probably the closest thing to our mom’s (and grandmother’s) kitchen we can find around here. Run by this sweet, beautiful lady named Norma and her son Elias, this place offers the most amazing, one hundred percent authentic Middle Eastern dishes, all made from scratch. Just like our mom used to make them.
So we asked Norma if she would mind sharing some of her recipes with us and she very kindly did. And of course, we got the one we were so desperately looking for! We were even able to buy the Maamoul mold we needed to make these, right from her store! We were so excited!
We slightly modified the recipe she gave us to make it vegan, but the result was just as delicious.
Give them a try… and you might even forget about those Twinkie things 😉
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