March 22, 2016

Ma'amoul ~ Date Stuffed Cookies - #CreativeCookieExchange

Easter is fast approaching and I have to admit that it makes me a little sad that my girls are grown up and we don't do an annual Easter Egg Hunt any more. It was always so special to watch my older girls share the eggs, pointing out to their younger sisters where they might find a treat-filled surprise rather than taking it for themselves.  Fortunately I still get to bake yummy treats for us all to enjoy. The theme for #CreativeCookie Exchange this month is Traditional Spring Holiday Cookies from around the world.  I love when we get to go around the world and try something new, and the cookies I choose are called Ma'amoul.

Ma'amoul are a traditional sweet buttery shortbread cookie filled with dates, pistachios, or walnuts. popular in Middle Eastern countries. They are usually made for religious celebrations such as Ramadan, Eid, Purim, and Easter. Like many old recipes, every family has their favorite that has been handed down for generations. I chose a recipe that used a combination of all-purpose flour and semolina flour, and I went with a date filling.

The special shape of these cookies is achieved by pressing the filled dough into a wooden mold. While I was researching these cookies I learned that not only do these molds give the cookies a unique pattern, but they also tell you what filling is inside the cookie. Traditionally the dome-shaped cookies with a flat top have a date filling, the dome-shaped cookies with a rounded top have a walnut filling, and the elongated oval ones have a pistachio filling. I purchased a plastic mold from Eid Molds, but I think I have become obsessed with adding some of the beautiful wooden molds to my kitchen.

The dough for these cookies is very crumbly, and it takes a few times before you find the way that works best for you when filling them. Mine was a little unorthodox, but I basically rolled the dough in a ball, used the rounded end of a wooden spoon to make an indentation, and then placed the indentation over my thumb and gradually pressed down so that the hole became bigger.  After doing this I placed a date ball in the hole and gently closed the opening.  Some people flattened the ball in their hand, others used just their finger to make a hole, and some also made a hole and then kept turning the dough to make the hole bigger.  Practice makes perfect.

These are cookies that I will definitely be making again and again.  Next time I'll try the nut fillings, and I also want to try a non-traditional filling of apricot paste and cardamon.  Seriously, they just melt in your mouth good and the Medjool dates are so sweet and have slight caramel undertones.

If you would like to know more about #CreativeCookieExchange and see what the other bakers made for the Traditional Spring Holiday Cookies from around the world theme please scroll down below the recipe. Thanks to Anshie from Spice Roots and Stacy from Food Lust People Love for getting us all organized for this month.

Ma'amoul ~ Date Stuffed Cookies
(Printer Friendly Recipe)

  • 210g all-purpose flour
  • 270g semolina flour
  • 5g baking powder
  • 2g salt
  • 1g mahlab
  • 1g ground anise
  • 225g butter, melted
  • 60ml whole milk
  • 10ml orange blossom water
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 10ml water
  • 5ml orange blossom water
  • 30g powdered sugar

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, semolina flour, baking powder, salt, mahlab, and anise.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together butter, milk, and one tablespoon orange blossom water.
  3. Add butter mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 30 minutes.
  4. Add dates, orange blossom water, and water to the bowl of a food processor, and process for 30 seconds or until smooth.
  5. Take a teaspoonful of the date paste and roll it into a ball, repeat with the remaining paste; set aside.
  6. Preheat the oven to 205℃.
  7. Pinch off two tablespoons of dough, and using your hands roll it into a ball. Using the end of a wood spoon push into the dough to make an indentation.  Place the cookie on your thumb with the indentation facing down, and slowly make the hole a little deeper. 
  8. Place the cookie on the counter, put one of the date balls in the hole, and gently seal dough around filling, forming a ball.
  9. Press the cookie ball into a cookie mold or create a design on surface of dough using the back of a fork.
  10. Place cookie on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat, repeat with remaining dough and filling
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.
  12. Cool cookies on a cooling rack for 20 minutes.
  13. Sift powdered sugar over cookies and serve.

Recipe slightly adapted from DedeMed, and inspired by the beautiful blog Chef in Disguise
For US measurements please click here

We all associate cookies with “The” holidays in December, but spring holidays are a great time for cookies also! Whether you are celebrating Easter, Passover, or something else, we’ve found some great traditional cookies from around the world for you!

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made ~

Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made ~


  1. The design on the cookies is so beautiful. And the filling is wonderful. Those would disappear out of my cookie jar fast, mainly because I think I'd have my hand in that jar quite often.

  2. These are awesome!!! They looked like pleasant enough cookies but then to find them stuffed with the sweet, sticky date mixture? Heaven.

  3. What an interesting tidbit to learn that the shape or the mold helps tell what is inside the cookie. Love this idea!

  4. The Ma'amoul look absolutely Yummy... I love the rich filling against the crumbly cookie!

  5. Love that last photo!! It says it all. Those cookies are gorgeous and I love the accompanying story. My kids are grown too and I miss hiding eggs and all of the fun activities.

  6. These are so pretty and I love the surprise filling in the middle!

  7. These are so pretty - I love using cookie molds.

  8. Wow! Your cookies look fantastic! I so admire all the research you did to find something new to bake and it was so interesting. I would love to try making them with an almond or pistachio filling. Do you think they can be made without the molds?

  9. I think I've tried something similar to this before, but from a packet. It's really interesting to hear about all these lovely moulds and how they have a meaning apart from decoration. They look perfect.


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