Ma’amoul (Mamool) – Date Cookies
Eid Mubarak! 🌛 This means “blessed festival” to celebrate the holiday after Ramadan ends. Eid ul Fitr, “festival to break the fast”, starts today and lasts for three days. But the main day of Eid is today! Many Muslims celebrate Eid by eating yummy food, donning new clothes and spending time with loved ones. It’s a holiday for us to acknowledge the dedication and hard work that’s gone into the past month of Ramadan. To celebrate Eid with my husband’s family, I’m sharing this delicious recipe for Middle Eastern date-filled butter cookies called Ma’amoul (also known as Mamool).
Buttery Date-Filled Cookies
These date-filled butter cookies are seriously irresistible. Once you taste one, another half dozen will be in your mouth before you know it. The cookies are crisp and buttery on the outside, and each bite melts in your mouth. The filling is made from sweet dates spiced with a little ground cinnamon.
Ma’amoul is traditionally made with a wooden tool that helps shape and impress a design on the top of the cookies. But you don’t need this tool to be able to make delicious ma’amoul. You can shape each cookie into a ball and flatten it ever so slightly and bake them as-is. They’ll still turn out tasting the same! I found this gorgeous wooden ma’amoul mold in a local shop in Portland called Indigo Traders. And they gave me a recipe for ma’amoul that inspired the recipe below! You can also find ma’amoul molds online. My mother-in-law has one from her last visit to the Middle East that imprints a beautiful flower design onto each cookie.
How to Shape Ma’amoul
Step 1 – Shape the dough into 1-inch balls
Step 2 – Flatten each dough ball in the palms of your hands until it’s about 3 inches in diameter
Step 3 – Roll some of the date filling into a 1-inch ball
Step 4 – Place the date filling ball in the center of the flattened disc of cookie dough
Step 5 – Pull the sides of the dough up and over the date filling to completely cover it and re-roll it in your palms into a smooth ball
Step 6 – Press the date-filled dough ball into a ma’amoul press
Step 7 – Turn the ma’amoul press over and give it a hard whack on the table to release the cookie from the mold
That’s all there is to it! Just spread out the ma’amoul cookies on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes. In almost no time, you’ll have all the ma’amoul (mamool) – date cookies you could ever ask for. But if buttery amazingly delicious cookies don’t interest you, that’s okay. Maybe try a spin on another Middle Eastern classic like vegan knafe!
Ma’amoul (Mamool) – Date Cookies
- 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- 5 Tbsp powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp active dry yeast (this is not a full packet)
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 Tbsp rose water
- 1⅔ cups (8 ounces) pitted dates
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Prepare the Dough
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar and active dry yeast. In the mixing bowl, knead the stick of softened butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until it forms a course and mealy dough.
- Add the rose water and knead for another minute by hand in the mixing bowl until it forms a smooth and elastic dough.
- Cover the mixing bowl with a damp towel and let rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
Prepare the Filling
- Pulse the pitted dates and ground cinnamon in a blender or food processor until it forms a paste. It's okay if the paste is pretty chunky, this makes a better texture for the filling. Transfer to a small mixing bowl.
- Melt the two tablespoons of butter in the microwave or on the stop. Slowly knead the melted butter into the blended dates until it is fully incorporated.
Shape and Bake the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Flatten the dough balls in your palms into discs that are about 3-inchs in diameter and about ¼-inch thick. Form the date filling into 1-inch balls.
- Place one date filling ball into the center of a flattened disc of dough. Pull the sides of the dough up and over the date filling to completely cover it and re-roll it in your palms into a smooth ball.
- If using a ma'amoul mold, press the cookie seam-side-up into the mold. Then turn the mold over and whack it on the counter to release the cookie.
- Spread out cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a non-stick baking liner. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the edges are golden.Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then enjoy!