There is a Syrian cookie that is beloved by many. It's called Maamoul. It's literally a butter cookie filled with a date paste and baked for 10-25min. Fair warning, this cookie is best if the dough sets overnight, so it's a 2-day cookie.
You will need:
- 6 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1lbs of sweet butter melted
- 1-2lbs Whole dates pitted
- 1-2tbs Rose Water
- 1jigger Whiskey (optional)
- 1 cup whole Walnuts (optional)
- 2 Eggs
- 1tbs milk (can be skim or whole. Based on preference)
- 3/4 cup Sugar
-1 pinch of salt
*Maamoul mold - Vitally important to have a mold of some kind. If you cannot find one for maamoul specifically then find a mold that will suffice
The mold for maamoul tends to come in 2 sizes. There is a larger round one that allows for space if you are adding walnuts, and a narrow one that does not allow for walnut space.
If you have something that's equivalent then that's totally fine. But these are the more traditional molds (average $5 per mold in most stores or online).
From reading the ingredients, it seems like this is a large quantity. You'd be right! This recipe makes around 24 cookies. But remember, these are large cookies so while there's a lot of dough, it won't go to waste. Also anything you don't use will keep really well in the freezer.
First thing, melt the butter. It's much better if you make ghee. This is a simple process of melting the butter and scraping the white fat layer from the top.
In a large bowl, sift the flour. Add the sugar and salt and mix thoroughly. Once you've incorporated all of that, add the eggs, milk, and whiskey. Next add the warm butter slowly. You should have a fairly stiff dough at this stage. Not crumbly. If it's crumbling too much, add a little extra milk. Form the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
For the date paste, you can make this in advance, but this can also be made the same day as you shape the cookies. Take your dates and put them in a cuisenart, add 1 pad of salted butter and the rose water. Blend until you get a relatively smooth paste. You don't need to add sugar as this should be sweet enough from the dates alone.
Preheat the oven to 350F
Before you start forming the cookies, remember to take the dough out of the fridge and let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour until it's soft. Take a small ball of dough (about 2tbs worth) and layer the cookie mold. Make sure that it's as thin as you can possibly get it. Then take a small ball of the date paste and flatten it in the mold as well (the mold being lined with dough). Finally, take a small layer of dough and place on top remembering to press the whole cookie into the mold as much as possible. You should be able to see the date color through the dough. Next, smack the tip of the mold on the counter to get the whole cookie out. Place on a baking tray and repeat the process until you have a tray full of cookies!
Bake until the bottom of the cookies are golden brown. Serve either warm or cold!
These are a great cookie to end a meal on and well worth the effort, especially for holidays such as Easter!