Maamoul Cookies are Middle Eastern cookies filled with dates and pistachio. Maamoul is mostly prepared on special occasions like Eid and in Ramadan. These cookies melt in your mouth, and the dough has a minimal amount of sugar since the sweetness is coming from the flavorful fillings. I grew up enjoying these cookies because they are super delicious. It is easy to make Maamoul at home; homemade Maamoul tastes much better than the ones sold in the stores. Please watch the video tutorial in this post to learn how easy it is to make Maamoul, plus I have provided a few tips to make your first Maamoul a hit!
WHAT IS MAAMOUL?
Maamoul is an Arabian cookie, and it is popular in Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Jordan. These cookies can be made with semolina or flour. If you are interested in making Maamoul with flour, please visit my post, “Maamoul is date filled Arabian Cookies.”
The taste and texture of Maamoul cookies are similar to shortbread. You can find these cookies in Middle Eastern bakeries almost all the time. You can fill the cookies with dates, pistachio, almonds, or a mixture of dates and pistachio.
There are special molds that are used to shape the Maamoul, but in the video and this post, I will show you that you can use a citrus juicer to get a beautiful shape too. These cookies take a few minutes to bake, but you have to follow the recipe to avoid over-baking the cookies or ruining the dough.
INGREDIENTS OF MAAMOUL COOKIES
Fine Semolina. I have used fine semolina in this recipe because it saves time. Coarser semolina will take a longer time to soften, and I’m not fond of the texture.
All-Purpose Flour. To have a delicious shortbread flavor and to get the melt in the mouth texture.
Unsalted Butter. We use melted butter to get a little moisture out of the butter, which adds richness to the Maamoul.
Milk. We add around half a cup of milk to Maamoul, which helps in keeping the cookies soft for a longer time.
Sugar. I have used fine sugar.
Flavoring. You can add vanilla, rose water, orange blossom, or any Arabian flavors like cardamom and saffron.
FOR THE FILLING
HOW TO MAKE MAAMOUL COOKIES?
Unlike what I used to think, it is super easy to make Maamoul cookies at home. First, we have to make the dough because it will take 20 to 30 minutes in the fridge to rest.
To make the dough, mix the semolina and flour, and then add the melted butter and mix on low speed until combined.
Add the sugar, baking powder, milk, and vanilla to the dough and mix again on low speed until well combined. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 20 to 30 minutes. Some leave the dough to rest for up to one hour.
For the pistachio filling, add sugar and ghee to the ground pistachio and mix well. You can replace the sugar with honey or sugar syrup if you want the filling texture to be more like a paste. Mix the ingredients well and form equal size balls.
For the date filling, add the ghee, cinnamon powder, and sesame seeds to the pitted date. Mix well and form equal size balls.
Now that the dough has rested form equal size ball from the dough. Flatten the dough ball and fill it with the pistachio or the date filling, close the dough over the filling, and seal all the edges forming a ball again.
Place the dough ball in the mold and press it down gently. Place your palm under the mold. Tap the edge of the mold on a hard surface like the kitchen counter to release the Maamoul. Make sure not to tap the mold on your palm!
Preheat the oven and line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the Maamoul on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven.
After baking, place the Maamoul on a cooling rack to cool completely.
HOW TO STORE THE MAAMOUL?
Because of the high amount of fat in the dough, these cookies store well at room temperature for three days. If your kitchen is hot, then place the Maamoul cookies in an airtight container and store in the fridge for a week.
For a longer storing period, individually wrap the cookies with a plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight container. To thaw the cookies, place the cookies on a baking sheet and let it thaw for an hour and then warm it for a few minutes in the oven. Freezing Maamoul will keep it fresh for up to a month.
MAAMOUL FAIL PROOF TIPS
- Make sure not to mix the dough for a long time, or the Maamoul will come out hard.
- Don’t substitute butter with oil; the texture will be ruined. You can use ghee instead of the butter if you wish.
- Never skip the dough resting step. In the resting time, the semolina absorbs the moisture and become softer. This step helps when shaping the cookies and prevent it from breaking while baking.
- If you don’t have a Maamoul mold, you can still make delicious Maamoul cookies. After filling the dough form it in a ball and lightly flatten it with your palm, use a fork to poke the cookies or use a knife to make straight lines on the cookie. You can also use the back side of a citrus juicer by placing the filled dough ball in it, press gently and then lightly tap on a hard surface to release the Maamoul.
- At times and when using the mold, the cookie doesn’t come out as a whole, and part of it sticks to the mold. To prevent this, place a plastic wrap over the mold and then add the dough ball, or you can dust the mold with flour before placing the dough ball in it.
- If the pistachio balls are too hard and it is difficult for you to shape the cookies, then don’t form pistachio balls and instead add the pistachio filling to the dough ball using a spoon.
- Since every oven is different and some get hotter than the others, keep in mind that the Maamoul cookies are done when the bottom of the cookie is light brown.
HOW TO SERVE THE MAAMOUL?
You can serve these fantastic cookies with tea or black coffee; I enjoy the pistachio filled cookies with a chilled glass of milk.
If you wish, you can dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Maamoul Arabian Cookies Made With Semolina
- 2 cup fine semolina
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or your favorite flavoring
- 1 cup melted unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoon sugar
- ½ cup milk warm or at room temperature
- 1 cup ground pistachio
- 4 tablespoon sugar “you can use the same amount of honey or sugar syrup.”
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 1 cup pitted date
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon ghee
MAKING THE DOUGH
- In a bowl, add the semolina and the all-purpose flour. Mix well for one minute.
- Add the melted unsalted butter to the previous mixture and mix until well combined. In this step, we are trying to coat the semolina and flour with the fat from the butter to bring out a shortbread-like taste.
- Add the baking powder, milk, vanilla or the flavoring you like, and sugar. Mix well until combined on low speed. Do not overmix the dough to prevent the Maamoul from turning hard.
- Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to an hour. This step is crucial because it allows the semolina to absorb the moisture and increase in size.
TO MAKE THE PISTACHIO FILLING
- Add ghee and sugar to the ground pistachio and mix well. Form 12 balls and Keep aside.
TO MAKE THE DATE FILLING
- Add cinnamon, sesame seeds, and ghee to the date and mix well. Form 12 balls and keep aside.
FORMING THE MAAMOUL
- Preheat the oven to 190C/374F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
- Bring out the dough from the fridge and form 24 balls.
- Flatten the balls and place the filling in the middle. Close the dough ball again to form a ball.
- Place the filled dough ball in the mold and press it gently to help the dough take the shape of the mold.
- Gently tap the edge of the mold over a hard surface like your kitchen counter. Place your palm under the mold to catch the Maamoul after it is released from the mold. Do not tap the mold over your hand. Careful not to hurt yourself!
- Place the shaped Maamoul on the baking sheet keeping two-inch space between each cookie and bake on the middle shelf for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the Maamoul turn light brown.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
- If you wish, you can dust the cool Maamoul with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
- Do not use oil in this recipe. If you do, the flavor and texture of the cookies will change.
- The oven is ready and preheated after 15 to 20 minutes from turning it on.
- If you are using hard dates, then use a food processor to soften it.
- Originally, this recipe is made by hand, so you can make it without using a hand mixer, stand mixer, or a spoon.
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