ma’amoul cookies (middle eastern date filled cookies)

Adapted from Food Bridge


1 cup white flour
1 cup coarse semolina
100 grams butter, softened
1 teaspoon freshly ground mahlab (cherry stone of the St. Lucie Cherry)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup medjool dates
1/2 cup almonds
zest of one orange
1 tablespoon sugar

Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Add in the flour, semolina and continue mixing, while slowly adding in the orange juice and milk. The mixture should come together without being sticky or crumbly. Add more milk if necessary.

Let dough rest for about 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and return to room temperature. Cut the dough into quarters (each quarter will make approx. 6 cookies). Roll the piece of dough into a ball and flatten. Roll a spoonful of the date filling into a ball and form the dough around the filling. Flour the mold well. Place the dough ball in the mold and press down. Tap on a board or bench to remove the cookie. Place on a baking sheet.

Bake at 160°C for 20-30 minutes. Make sure the cookies do not brown but remain pale. Cool completely before handling and store in an airtight container. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

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