Ma'amool, A Middle Eastern Filled Cookie Perfect for Holidays!
Ma'amool is an extremely popular semolina-based cookie from the Middle East that is commonly filled with walnuts, though can also use various other ingredients like dates and pistachios. The cookies are then placed in a decorative wooden mold [Photo 2] which is slammed against the table to shape the cookie. After being baked, it's topped with powdered sugar and arranged decoratively for guests.
If you are interested in making ma'amool, you can find the ma'amool cookie molds sold at Middle Eastern markets or for less than $10 through online retailers. Ma'amool molds come in a variety of incredibly intricate and beautiful designs. If you don't want to have to invest in a cookie mold, I would suggest at least using a cookie accenting tweezer, which you should be able to find anywhere you would find baking and cake decorating supplies. Many who make traditional ma'amool simply forego the cookie mold to pinch patterns into the top of the cookie with these tweezers. (Both come out wonderfully!)
Walnut Ma'amool (Stuffed Cookies)
To Make The Dough:
2 pounds farina (cream of wheat)
1 pound butter (softened)
1 cup flour
3 tbsps. sugar
1 cup milk
To Make The Filling:
1 pound ground walnuts (or pistachios)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsps. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1. Mix butter, farina, flour and sugar well. Stir in milk to form a workable dough.
2. Shape dough into walnut sized balls. Flatten these out with your thumbs in the palm of your hand, making a little curved saucer.
3. 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.
4. Place cookies on greased baking sheet, and bake at 325 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.
5. Allow the cookies to cool completely, then dust with powdered sugar. They will keep for about a week in an airtight container.