Mamoul – A delicious Opulence
My love affair with the soft spiced cookies with a deliciously soft gooey date filling inside started way back in 2003, while I was traveling from India to Bahrain on a Gulf Air Airbus. It was like a love at first bite. A small pack of Dates-Mamoul was served with the meal as part of an accompaniment with tea/coffee. There is so much in those little decorated cookies that it’s not just a mere cookie, but something which is enough to make you warm and happy, a comfortable luxury in a true Arabic sense.
I loved the sweetness of the dates, the sweet nutty taste of pistachios, faint flavor of rose and orange blossom, cinnamon, buttery, mouth melting texture of the cookies. Though a little hesitant, I didn’t mind asking for a second one. Oh I love buttery cookies!
Thereafter, I explored and relished all varieties of Mamoul cookies like, dates, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, mixed nuts. Unlike other cookies which are made with plain flour, Mamoul is made with semolina traditionally and relatively very less sugar. Dates, nuts, spices, hint of rose and orange blossom creates a delicious amalgamation of sweetness and flavor in these intricately designed Mamoul cookies with specially carved wooden design molds.
These cookies are usually served with Arabic tea and coffee, but certainly a perfect accompaniment with our own masala chai or a cappuccino for that matter. Here you will have an opportunity in experiencing the very distinctive Date-Mamoul. So join me, “why wait, let’s live up this festive spirit and have a cup of tea”.
F0r the dough
- 9 cups semolina or 1500 gm.
- 3 cups flour.
- 2 1/2 cups butter or 300 gm, melted.
- 2 1/2 cups ghee or 300 gm, melted.
- 2 1/2 cup caster sugar or 250 gm.
- 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
- 1 teaspoon ground mahlab (available in all middle-eastern specialty stores).
- 1 teaspoon instant dried yeast.
- 1 cup rose water or 190 ml.
- ¼ cup blossom water or 60 ml.
For the filling:
- 750 g date, dried, pitted and chopped or can use ready date paste.
- ¼ cup butter or 50gm.
- Cinnamon powder 1 teaspoon.
- Nutmeg powder 1 teaspoon.
- 1 tin Nestlé® Sweetened Condensed Milk or 397 g (optional). I have not used it though.
- 1 1/2 cup mixed nuts or around 100 gms, toasted, crushed.
- 1 tea spoon cinnamon powder.
- 1 cup powdered sugar (can be adjusted according to taste, needed only for cookies with nuts).
- Rose water 2-3 tea spoon.
- Blossom water 2 tea spoon
- In a bowl, combine semolina, flour, butter, ghee, sugar, nutmeg, mahlab, and yeast. Mix well, in a form of chapati or bread dough. Cover tightly and set aside for at least 6-7 hours.
- In a bowl, knead the dates with butter, gradually adding Nestlé Sweetened Condensed Milk while kneading( if at all you wish to use) . Place in fridge for ½ hour.
- If not using condensed milk then mix the dates paste with just butter, cinnamon powder and nutmeg powder. Mix the walnuts/ pistachios or mixed nuts with butter, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, small amount of rose water and powdered sugar.
- Add rose water and blossom water to the dough mixture, knead by hands until the dough starts to hold together. If necessary, add a small amount of water.
- Remove a small piece of dough and flatten it with your hands and place a teaspoonful of the dates or nuts filling. Close carefully to form a ball.
- Press the stuffed dough into a wooden Mamoul mold or any Mamoul mould (available in middle eastern stores) to form a pattern on the upper side of the dough.
- Tap out and place onto a cookie tray with a cookie sheet that is not greased and bake in a 180c for 15-20 minutes or until lightly colored but not browned.