5 from 5 votes
Ma'amoul Cookies
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
 

Source: ‘Jerusalem’ – Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Servings: 40 cookies
Ingredients
Semolina dough:
  • 350 g semolina (very fine)
  • 40 g plain flour
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground mahlab (can be omitted)
  • pinch of salt
  • 180 g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp rose water
Walnut filling:
  • 225 g walnuts
  • 100 g Medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 45 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
Instructions
  1. Mix the fine semolina and the flour, along with the sugar, salt and mahlab in a big bowl.

  2. Rub the cubed butter in until completely blended. Mix the rose water and the orange blossom water into the dough. Add the ½ tbsp of water and knead the dough by hand until you can form a ball. Resist the urge to over-work the dough. Work it just enough to get it to come together (max 5 minutes). After that, you need to let it rest for 30 minutes under a damp cloth.

  3. While the dough is resting we can make the filling. In a food processor grind the walnuts until small and a bit chunky (not too fine). Ideally, they should have a texture of coarse sand, with some little bits of nut still visible. Cut the dates with a knife into small pieces and add them to the food processor. Add the sugar, cinnamon, rose water, orange blossom water and a teaspoon of regular water. Pulse a few times. If it doesn’t come together into a paste add another teaspoon of water and pulse again. It should easily come together when you squeeze it. Be careful with the amount of water you use as too much will make the filling too mushy and difficult to work with.

  4. Preheat the oven to 190C (170C fan).

  5. Now for the 'finicky' part. Pinch off 15 gr balls from the semolina dough. First time I made them I weighed every single ball, but now I just weigh one then go by the look of the first one. Then I do the same with the filling, but for the filling I use 9gr.

  6. Place one of the semolina dough balls in the palm of your hand and flatten it to a disk large enough to cover the filling. Place the fillings into its centre then close the dough over the filling making sure the seams are closed. Roll it around on your palm and set to the side. Cover them as you go, otherwise the dough will dry out. Dip your fingers into a bowl of water every once in a while to keep the dough soft. Keep going until all the cookies are filled.

  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it out on the counter. Choose the pattern you want to use for your ma’amoul and add it to your mooncake mould. Put one of the filled dough balls in front of you and place the mooncake mould over it. Press the mould down ever so gently and lift your mooncake mould as you carefully let the ma’amoul cookie fall out of the mould into your palm. Place your pretty ma’amoul cookies on the baking sheet and repeat with the rest.

  8. Bake the ma'amoul cookies for 12-15 minutes and turn the tray after about 8 minutes. Do not overbake the ma’amoul, they might look pale and underbaked after 15 minutes, but that’s how they are supposed to look. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Make sure your cookies are completely cooled before storing them. If you store them before they are completely cooled, condensation will cause the cookies to become soggy.

  9. Now the ma’amoul cookies are ready to be devoured. They should be of a consistency that melts in your mouth yet holds its shape without crumbling. Serve them with a cup of mint tea and enjoy your easy made ma’amoul cookies which will look like they were made by a famous pastry chef.

  10. See, that wasn't that difficult right?