Maamoul

Ingredients

• 1 kilogram fine semolina (farkha)

• 300 grams (1 and 1/2 cups) ghee, melted and hot

• 100 grams (1 stick) (1/2 cup) melted butter

• 1/4  to 1/2 cup vegetable oil

• 1 cup all purpose flour

• 1 cup powdered milk

• 3/4 teaspoon mastic ground with 1/2 teaspoon sugar

• 3/4 teaspoon ground mahlab

• 2 teaspoons ground anise (optional)

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/2  tablespoon yeast

• 1 teaspoon sugar (for proofing the yeast)

• 1/4  to 1/2 cup of water

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1/2 cup orange blossom water (can be replaced with water or milk)

• 1/2 cup of rosewater(can be replaced with water or milk)

Date filling

You can use ground dates that are sold as a paste or you can use regular dates that you pit and knead with some butter or olive oil. If your dates are on the dry side, soak them with some hot water for 30 minutes then drain them

1 kg  pitted dates/date paste

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of cardamom

Nut filling

• 500 gm chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons orange blossom water, 2 tablespoons butter or ghee and 1 tablespoon cinnamon

• 500 gm coarsely ground pistachios and 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons orange blossom water and 2 tablespoons melted butter or ghee

Orange blossom water, cardamom and cinnamon are added for flavor and are entirely optional

Taste the filling and adjust the sweetness and spices according to your taste, just remember that there is not sugar in the crust so the filling has to be on the extra sweet side

You can replace half of the sugar with 1/4 cup of simple syrup. I find that the addition of the syrup keeps the filling from drying out while baking and makes it more flavorful

 

Preparation

. In a bowl place the semolina and add the butter/ghee and oil to it (start with 1/4 cup of oil with the butter and ghee). It is very important for the ghee or butter to be melted not softened and hot

. Rub the butter and oil into the semolina until they are completely absorbed by it. The semolina will resemble wet sand.

. Cover and leave over night. This will allow the semolina granules to swell and soften

. The next day add the flour, mastic, mahlab, powdered milk, anise and baking powder.

. Dissolve the yeast in the water with the 1 teaspoon of sugar and wait for it to foam and bubble

. Add it to the semolina mix

. Dissolve the 1/2 cup of sugar in the orange blossom and rosewater then add it to the semolina

. Mix gently, you take a lump of dough and then crumble it between your fingers and then repeat.

. At first you will get clumps then the dough will come together. You are not aiming for a smooth dough ball. Just for a dough that comes together and is homogenous

. Do not mix longer since this will develop the gluten and cause the maamoul to be tough.

. Cover and allow to rest for one hour

. Take a small amount of dough and try rolling it into a ball, if it crumbles you need to add 1/4 cup water and knead gently, cover and leave for 10 minutes. Try to roll it again if it is still crumbly add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and knead very gently

 

Making the maamoul

Take a walnut size piece of dough

Keep the rest of the dough covered or it will dry out

If you find that the dough is a little dry or it cracks when you try to form it, add 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and knead it lightly into the dough

If making date maamoul:

Form the kneaded date puree into small balls about half the size of the dough balls

Flatten the dough ball , place the date ball inside and seal the dough around the stuffing making sure the filling is completely enclosed by the dough and shape it into a ball.

 

Shaping the Maamoul using the molds

Place the dough in a mold, press firmly but do not over do it or the maamoul will stick to the mold

Place a kitchen towel on a cutting board or your kitchen table

Then invert the mold and tap the end of the mold  on the kitchen towel and the formed cookie will fall out.

bake maamoul on the middle rack of a preheated oven (230 C) till the edges are golden brown (5-12 minutes) and then place them under the broiler till the tops are golden brown (2-5 minutes)

Take the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10- 15 minutes then move them to a cooling rack because they are prone to crumble if you move them when they are still hot.

 

Lara Kh.

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