Ma’amool for Easter

These cookies have Easter written all over them. Festive and rather stunning, if I do say so myself!

The Ma’amool mold with the tag.

A dear friend of mine is a treasure hunter. By this I mean she finds the most amazing treasures in any number of places…yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores, etc. She’s so good at it, that some of my most creative and interesting objects in the house are things that she’s found…everything from a hand painted swashbuckling hat holder to a  very cool and Don Quixote-styled metal horse sculpture. Last fall on my birthday, one of her gifts was an odd (to me), but really beautiful hand carved mold.

The tag with it’s recipe.

I had no idea what on earth this thing was, but fortunately it had a tag bound with a piece of twine, and inside the tag it said it was a Ma’amool, a hand crafted gift from Damascus. It explained that this was a cookie mold hand-carved from apricot wood, and it included a recipe for making the cookies. COOL!!!

Here’s what the design looks like.

This was last October, and I had originally thought I’d be making these cookies around Christmas…which came and went. Then as we progressed into the new year, I’d look at the mold when I was cooking, because I had it hanging by my stove and I kept thinking to myself…”I must make these cookies.”

Week before last, I was in the store and remembered that I needed dates and walnuts as well as farina, to make this recipe, and though I purchased all the ingredients, I then didn’t have time last weekend to make them. And so now here we are, Easter weekend, the day before Easter in fact, and I still hadn’t made them, until now! And guess what? It turns out that they are considered to be a Middle Eastern holiday or Easter cookie! Meant to be made this weekend, that’s all I can say.

Filled, molded and ready to bake.

Below is the recipe that was on the tag attached to my mold. In reading more about these cookies, I see that adding orange flower water and/or rose water is a traditional way to make these, but that was not in my recipe and I didn’t have either on hand. Each mold design is indicative of a different type of filling, and my recipe says to use either dates or walnuts, but I used both. For a truly Lebanese version, visit Nina Baydoun’s blog, Tabkhet el yom, and check out her Ma’amool recipe. Also, please see my highlighted comments in the recipe that I made below. There are some essential tips left out of the instructions that came with the mold…surprise! Isn’t that always the way with recipes that are handed down through generations? But, thanks to Nina’s blog, I was able to overcome some initial slowness and make these pretty fast.

First batch out of the oven…one cracked, but hey, this was my first attempt!

These were fun to make, lovely and unique, and very, very delicious, and would be good anytime you wanted to make them, holiday or no. I can’t wait to try different flavors, including the rose and orange water. I just love how you can learn something new every day! So now if you see one of these molds while you’re out and about somewhere, and you didn’t know what it was, you should grab it! You’ll have hours of fun ahead and tasty treats in the palm of your hand. Thank you Wanda, for the gift that will keep on giving, and also thank you to Nina Baydoun, who made this much easier to do with the great instructions on her post.

Wishing each and every one of you a very Happy Easter, Happy Holiday and Happy Spring!

Ma-amool
(I made a half recipe, which made 3 dozen cookies, this full recipe would make twice that easily.) 

Dough:
2 lbs. farina (cream of wheat)
1 lb. butter (softened)
1 cup flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup milk

Filling:
1 lb. ground walnuts OR 1 lb. chopped pitted dates (I used a mixture)
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix butter, farina, flour and sugar well. Stir in milk to form a workable dough. (Even with softening the butter, I ended up using my hands to thoroughly incorporate the ingredients.) Shape dough into walnut sized balls and place in mold, using thumb to make a small depression. Place filling in the thumbprint and seal with dough. Strike mold sharply on chopping block to remove dough from mold.

Above is the way the tag instructions said to do this. It is super hard to get it out of the mold and it doesn’t allow for much filling. Makes a super sharp impression, though.

Okay, here’s where referring to someone like Nina, who makes these regularly, was really helpful. You certainly can make these in the mold, I did my whole first batch this way, wondering why so little filling would go into the depression and I also couldn’t hear from having to slam the mold down so many times to get them out. Flatten these out with your thumbs in the palm of your hand, making a little curved saucer. Spoon or place your filling in the center, and pinch the edges together into a crescent, then form gently back into a ball, press into the mold then sharply rap them out. Not only do they come out easier, but you can get more filling in them! Ya!

Above is Nina’s way…by far easier, faster and more effective!

Place cookies on greased baking sheet (I used a silpat) and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes (It took a good 20-25 minutes in my oven at this temp). Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar. Fini!

About these ads

64 thoughts on “Ma’amool for Easter

  1. I have a Springerle rolling pin, which reminded me (a little!) of your Ma’amool spoon, in that there are designs on it! There the resemblance ends. Not sure I’ll emulate you in making these cookies, but they sound good. Happy Easter.

    Like

    • Happy Easter to you, too, Carol! You can actually make these without a mold and just decorate them with the tines of a fork, or any cookie press mold you may have. The farina makes an interesting textured cookie, not like others I’ve tasted.

      Like

    • Thank you Sharyn. They are really good. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the farina as I’ve had some pastries that just seemed to dry with it, but the mixture of the butter and the flour with it was really good.

      Like

  2. Love that beautiful mold Betsy!!!! These are beautiful and look like something my Greek friends in Atlanta used to make for Easter as well. Happy Easter :)

    Like

    • Hi there, thanks for visiting and for your kind words! Yes, for sure there are similar Greek cookies and other pastries that use farina, and I remember having some in Greece, though I don’t remember if they were stuffed. We were actually there during both Christian and Greek Orthodox Easter and they had the braided breads with the dyed hard boiled eggs too…it was a very cool time to be there and participate in their celebrations. A very Happy Easter to you and yours, too, Susan! :)

      Like

  3. You were right, Betsy. So cool! The hand-carved mold, the recipe, the cookies. Cool! I’m going to see if the mold can be bought around here. I buy spices from a Middle Eastern bakery and if any place will have them, this place will. If nothing else, I bet they have ma-amool for sale. Now that would be cool!
    Happy Easter, Betsy!

    Like

    • Hi John, it’s my understanding from Nina’s web site that you can buy the molds in Middle Eastern bakeries and they do sell the cookies there, too. Also Greek bakeries have some similarly styled pastries with farina, but don’t think they are molded. Regardless, you can make these without a mold and decorate them with impressions from the tines of a fork…it’s just more fun with the mold, I think. Happy Easter to you, too!

      Like

    • Hey Tanya, thanks for clueing me in on Fati’s site. I just checked out that post and I love all the different variations for these cookies. If you have a middle eastern bakery close by, you can probably find one of these molds there, or so I’ve read. And, if you don’t build the cookie in the mold, it usually only takes one sharp rap to get them out…not the 4 or 5 the other and more deafening way!

      Like

  4. That mold is amazing. I would love one of those. And those cookies look incredible. I just love how clear the pattern is once they’ve been cooked. They are so beautiful. I bet they were gobbled up smartly. Happy Easter to you and your family xx

    Like

    • Thank you Charlie Louie, and we are in the process of gobbling, that’s for sure. I’m having one with coffee right now as a matter of fact! I think it’s the farina texture that allows the cookie to hold the shape so well. Check out a middle eastern bakery if they have one in your city, and they are likely to carry these molds. Happy Easter to you and your family, too!

      Like

  5. I want that mold, Betsy! Simply beautiful! I have a plastic version I bought years ago not knowing what it was for, now I know! So cool. I will make them for our Easter dinner next week! Happy Spring to you too.

    Like

    • Hi Eva, as I’ve mentioned, you can probably find one of these at a middle eastern grocery or bakery if you have one close by. I know you’d love making these, and sounds like you celebrate Orthodox Easter, so these would be perfect. They are much like some Greek pastries I’ve seen as well, and aren’t too sweet which I like! Thanks for you compliments and a Happy Spring to you, too!

      Like

  6. I am a huge date fan and cookies. I was delighted just to see the beautiful mold but then I see you have also stuffed with dates. Now I am in love. I can just imagine how light and flaky on outside and chewy on inside. Bliss…. Take care, BAM

    Like

    • You described these exactly, Bam, light and flaky on the outside and chewy on the inside. They are delicious, and while traditionally you’d use either dates or nuts, I really like these with both in the filling! Thanks!

      Like

    • Hi Greg, yes I saw Fati’s post on these after I followed Tanya’s link above and I saw her mold…different than mine, and that’s what I love, they all seem to be as different as the recipes for the cookies themselves. Happy Easter to you, too!

      Like

    • Hi Yudith, lucky you to have inherited some of these molds. You must give these cookies a try, and they’d be lots of fun to make with little ones. Thanks for stopping by and I must go and check out your blog. Happy Easter!

      Like

    • Hi Sawsan, and what fun to have a history with these cookies. I’m in love with them now and plan to try every variation I’ve seen and maybe invent some new ones, too! Pistachios sound especially great! :)

      Like

    • I know, I’d never have guessed what it was for, and had it come my way years ago, it probably would have become a clay press mold…ruined then for cookies! Thank goodness this came with a tag. It’s one of those marvels that you find at yard sales/thrift stores and wonder why someone let it go, especially with an explanation attached!

      Like

  7. What a fantastic cake gone cookie recipe my friend – never have I seen such a beautiful design! Festive and tasty beyond my friend – absolutely divine! :D

    Happy Easter!
    Choc Chip Uru

    Like

  8. These look so pretty, and great tip – to pre-fill them before putting them in the mould. I wonder if Amazon sells the moulds, I’ll have to check them out…. it’s always fun to try new things and one little wooden spoon thing wouldn’t take up too much space either :D

    Like

    • It’s really fun, Jed, and I love that the farina dough allows you to get a really good impression. I don’t think it would work nearly so well with an all flour or stickier dough…but then I’m not that experienced of a baker, so maybe I’m wrong! :)

      Like

  9. Oh you’ve certainly mastered this dessert! These look beautiful! I hope you enjoyed using the mould as much as I do :D Thanks for popping in and thanks for your comment! I’ll be back for more :)

    Like

    • Oh, you must make them MHE, they are so cool and fun to make, almost as much fun as to eat. And to have the history, that legacy, with your family…especially if you “inherit” one to make Ma’amool with, how special that would be. They are such lovely handcrafted folk art objects unto themselves, even if you never make the cookies. All my friends are jealous…both those of Middle Eastern descent because the want the cookie that their mom’s made, and those who’ve never heard of them because they want the object…and the cookie! :)

      Like

  10. Hmmm. I’m now realizing that I’m not getting your updates. I will have to check my settings again. :) Since reading’s Fati’s Recipes blog, I’ve been looking for an ajwa mold, which looks very similar to yours….but I haven’t had any luck finding one yet. Your Ma’amool’s are just gorgeous Betsy. I’m impressed and inspired! Hope that you had a great Easter weekend.

    Like

    • Hi Barb, I just looked at my followers list and you’re not there any more! I don’t know what happened, but that would explain why you’re not getting my posts. I think the ajwa molds and the ma’amool molds are somewhat the same thing. Charles had a great idea to look on the net for one and I just typed in the words “maamool mold” and got a ton of hits. Had a great Easter weekend, thanks and hope you did too!

      Like

  11. Pingback: A Year Ago… | bits and breadcrumbs

  12. Pingback: A Holiday Round-Up: Some Sweet, Petite and Neat | bits and breadcrumbs

  13. Pingback: Christmas Baking 2012: Ladies and Gentlemen, start your ovens! Ma’amouls « Kitcheninspirations

    • Hi Maya! Thanks for your comments and for stopping by. A friend of mine who is Lebanese said that his mom made these for him every holiday. They are such great cookies and I would be quite happy with that idea! :) I haven’t made these since Easter, but need to make them again. They are such fun to make.

      Like

Tell me what you think... I love comments! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s