Dates Filled Cookies/Maamoul Cookies

Dates Filled Cookies Recipe | Learn how to make Maamoul Cookies

maamoul cookies

Melt in Mouth, Soft and Chewy Maamoul cookies or Cookies Filled with Dates and Walnuts

Here I am today with a very delicious cookie recipe made with healthy friendly ingredients from the Arabian World!!

I came across this recipe few years back in one of recipe books on Levantine Cuisine. I had written the recipe in my old recipe dairy that I am maintaining since the time I passed my High School. Made these years back to try out the recipe, and then I forgot about it. Until a 2-3 years back I came across the recipe on net while looking for Dates Cookie Recipe.

There are various version of these cookies available online. Since it is a traditional recipe, each household has it’s own way of making it. I have adapted this traditional recipe as per my preference and ease of making. Haven’t made it much as it requires a bit of patience with filling the cookies , but trust me you have to try these once. The melt in mouth cookies with sweet dates and nuts filling is worth trying at least once and you will want to make it again and again.

Date filled cookies for the group challenge

Today I made these after quite sometime, for my Facebook group Foodies Monday Bloghop. Monday’s are time when all the bloggers in the group make and post dishes as per the theme. This week it is Date with Dates!! suggested by Aruna who blogs at Vasu’s Veg Kitchen. A talented blogger with healthy and delicious and doable recipe from Andhra Cuisine. So if you are still not introduced to that cuisine and want to know more, do hop on to her blog. Aruna made this cooling and filling Dates and Banana Smoothie. 

These are also available at Costco(USA). But if you love baking, you won’t shy away from trying out these at home.

My kids loved these cookies and have asked if I can make it again!! As these are made with all the health friendly ingredients moms can make for their kids for snack time or lunch boxes. You can also serve these to them for quick breakfast with a glass of milk.

Other recipes with Dates on the blog..

Tomato Dates Chutney

Date and Walnut Muffins

Date and Fig Rice Krispy Treats

Quiona Kheer

For more Cookies recipe. checkout the Cookies and Crackers in category section.

What are Maamoul Cookies

Maamoul Cookies are traditionally Arabic Cookies that are made during festivals like Eid, Easter and Christmas. Be it any festival, celebrations in the Levantine region of Middle East is incomplete without making these cookies. These are filled with different fillings like Dates, Walnuts, Pistachios. A traditional wooden mold ‘Maamoul Mold’ is used to shape the cookies, which makes the task little less laborious and you get beautiful patterns on the cookie. It is oaky if you don’t have the mold to make it. We can shape these with hands too adding filling and then sealing and shaping the dough.

These cookies can be stored for about 2-3 weeks in air tight container. During festival time when friends and relatives visit, they are treated to these sweet treats.

Maamoul are flavored with Orange Blossom or Rose water and a traditional spice ‘Mahlab’. But if it you don’t get it at your place, you can use a mix of cinnamon, powder, ginger powder and star anise, or almond extract. Many recipes say that we add vanilla as a substitute for the the above mentioned flavors.

Maamoul are dusted with icing sugar but you can skip this step and keep it without icing sugar too.

As mentioned above also, this may not be the traditional way of making the traditional Arabic cookies, but closest to the ingredients available with me.

Similar cookies are also made in Egypt Kahk Cookies(which can be seen in ancient Egyptian temple paintings and cravings dating to Pharaonic Era)  and Kombe in Turkey, on Eid and other festivals.

Dates filled cookies

Ingredients for Maamoul Cookies

For Outer Cookie Covering

FlourSemolina and All Purpose Flour are used in combination. Many recipe use only Semolina also. I have used a combination Whole Wheat Flour(Wholemeal) and Semolina, I do not use All Purpose flour in baking as I try to feed kids health friendly ingredients. More of Semolina more crumbly.

Fat- Ghee or Melted Butter or a combination of both can be used. I have used only ghee.

Sugar– Since the cookies have dates filling which are naturally sweetened, very less sugar is added to the dough only. I have used Raw Cane Sugar in the recipe.

Yeast- I used Instant yeast here in the recipe. You can use Dry Active Yeast also. Activate it in milk before adding to flour mix. To activate yeast, add it in( just warm enough to touch) milk and then let it rest for 10-15 mins. It will bloom and get frothy. Use it then. IF the solution doesn’t rise then discard it, and make another one.

Incase you want to skip yeast, add ¼ tsp baking soda and ½ tsp baking powder to total one cup of flour.

Spices– Cinnamon Powder, Dry Ginger Powder, Star Anise( I skipped this). You can also add Almond Extract, Vanilla Essence/Extract or 5 spice. If you are able to source Mahlab which is available online and at your nearest Middle Eastern store, then nothing like it.

Others– Milk Powder(optional), Milk for binding dough.

For Dates Filling

Dates– Pitted Dates work best here. We have to make paste for filling so dates should be soft. You can cook dates in little oil, or in simple sugar syrup till soft and tender and then mash to paste and use.  I made the paste of dates and walnuts in my food processor as the dates I had were soft. Also, added a bit of orange juice. If you want to skip washing the sticky messy food processor jar, you can cook dates in pan.

Orange Zest and Orange Juice– I flavored the filling with orange zest and orange juice. You can also use rose water or orange blossom or spices to flavor the filling.

Walnuts– You can skip these and use only dates or can add almonds, pistachios.

Hers is how I make Arabic Dates Filled Cookies 

Cookie dough/Outer covering

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients for outer covering in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add ghee or melted butter and rub it in the flour, till it gets crumbly.
  3. Now add milk little by little, do not altogether and get together the dough. Do not knead the dough. Keep it soft and pliable.
  4. Leave the dough covered for about an hour. Some recipes say to leave it for at least 3hrs or overnight. Dough can also be refrigerated for upto 3-4 days.

Dates Filling

Blitz everything under the filling section in food processor.

Alternatively your can take about ½ Cup water and cook dates till it is soft and mushy. Powder walnuts and add to cool dates paste. Add flavoring when adding walnuts or mixing the paste.

Prepare Date Filling

Shaping Cookies-

  1. Take about a tbsp or more of dough, roll in ball shape.
  2. Flatten the ball now, use heel of your palm and add about a tsp of filling.
  3. Carefully seal the dough ball. Take care the filling does not tear out. Seal any cracks on the dough, smoothen the cookie balls with your fingers.
  4. I used metal Mesh Ladle or Poori Strainer to make Pattern on cookies :). You can use cookie press also, with your favorite design or pattern.
  5. Arrange on a parchment paper lined baking tray.

Filing and Shaping Cookie Dough

Baking Cookies

  1. Start preheating the oven(at 350°F or 180°C) when you start shaping the cookies if you are making a small batch, or do it when your are finished shaping the cookies.
  2. Line the cookies on parchment paper lined baking tray, and bake in preheated oven for 15 mins at 350°F or 180°C.
  3. Cool completely and then enjoy the treat. Keep in an air tight container for later use.

 

Recipe Card for Dates Filled Cookies/Maamoul Cookies

maamoul cookies

Dates Filled Cookies/ Maamoul Cookies

Swati
Dates Filled Cookies Recipe | Learn how to make Maamoul Cookies
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Cookie shaping time 15 mins
Course cookies, Desserts
Cuisine Levantine, Middle Eastern
Servings 10 cookies

Ingredients
  

Outer Cookie Covering

  • ¾ Cup Whole Wheat Flour/Wholemeal or All Purpose Flour
  • ¼ Cup Fine Semolina/Sooji
  • 2 tbsp Raw Cane Sugar or Castor sugar
  • ¼ Cup Milk Powder optional
  • ¼ tsp Instant Yeast
  • a pinch Salt when using unsalted butter and ghee
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • ½ tsp Dry Ginger Powder
  • ¼ Cup Ghee/Unsalted Butter
  • ½ Cup Milk

Dates Filling

  • ½ Cup Pitted Dates
  • ½ Cup Walnuts
  • 1 tsp Orange Zest
  • ¼ Cup Orange Juice

Instructions
 

Make Outer Cookie covering/Dough

  • Mix all the dry ingredients(along with spice powders) for outer covering in a mixing bowl.
  • Add ghee or melted butter and rub it in the flour, till it gets crumbly.
  • Now add milk little by little, do not add all at once and get together the dough. Do not knead the dough. Keep it soft and pliable
  • Leave the dough covered for about an hour.

Make Dates Filling

  • Blitz everything under the filling section in food processor.

Shape Cookies

  • Take about a tbsp or more of dough, roll in ball shape.
  • Flatten the ball now and add about a tsp of filling and then carefully seal the dough ball.
  • Take care the filling does not tear out. Seal any cracks on the dough, smoothen the cookie balls with your fingers.

Bake cookies

  • Start preheating the oven(at350°F or 180°C) when you start shaping the cookies if you are making a small batch, or do it when your are finished shaping the cookies.
  • Line the cookies on parchment paper lined baking tray, and bake in preheated oven for 15 mins at 350°F or 180°C.
  • Cool completely and then enjoy the treat. Keep in an air tight container for later use.
  • Dust with icing sugar once the cookies completely cool. This step is optional, usually cookies with dates are not dusted as these are already sweetened with natural sugar.

Notes

The above measurements give about 10-12 cookies. You can increase the amount of ingredients accordingly.
If you want to skip walnuts, increase the dates used in recipe. 
 Instead of Dates your can use figs also. Walnuts can be replaced by almonds and pistachios. 
When using Dry Active yeast, activate it in milk before adding to flour mix. To activate yeast, add it in( just warm enough to touch) milk and then let it rest for 10-15 mins. It will bloom and get frothy. Use it then. If the solution doesn't rise then discard it, and make another one. Too hot and too cold water won't activate yeast.  
Incase you want to skip yeast, add ¼ tsp baking soda and ½ tsp baking powder to total one cup of flour.
Keyword Dates Filled Cookies, Maamoul Cookies

Do try these traditional Arabic Dates Filled Cookies or Maamoul cookies. These are delicious, festive and a crowd pleaser. Though it takes a bit of time to shape these without the mold, you can engage your kids and have fun shaping these cookies.

Whenever you make it, do give me your feedback in comments. If you have any doubts pls msg or write in comments..

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Thanks for stopping by and keep coming back!!

Author: Swati

Some who believes 'EAT WELL, READ DAILY, TRAVEL OFTEN AND LAUGH KHUL KE'!!! Hi!! Swati here!!! Chef, Chocolatier, food admirer, reader, love to travel, listen to music, Bollywood and shoot nature and food pics!! Welcome to my Foodtrails and join me in my food adventure!!

16 thoughts

  1. wow. When I was searching for healthy cookies for kids, I landed on your page. Dates stuffed cookies look interesting and healthy with wheat flour. I am going to try this over the weekend.

  2. Maamoul cookies looks very delicious with healthy and yummy dates filling. Liked the aroma of fennel seeds and dry ginger in filling. Perfect tea time snack and love to have it any time.

  3. So many exotic ingredients have made their way into these delicious mamoul cookies that no one can resist having a second serving. You have perfected the intimate and delicate art of filling in the dates into the cookie dough

  4. Maamoul cookies looks so cute and super yummy. Its one of my favorite cookies. And I also don’t have moulds so used sandesh moulds. Your looks so perfectly shaped. Loved the use of walnut with dates.

    1. It’s a good idea to use Sandesh molds to make these decorative cookies..will use the molds whenever next time I make it

  5. These look absolutely delicious, Swaty! I enjoyed your write up on it as well, so detailed in every way! Your idea of creating the pattern with the sieve is a very clever one! In Singapore and Malaysia, instead of using the mould, we use crimping tongs, and crimp patterns on the cookies before baking. When we were kids, some of us would do it too hard, and all the filling will come tumbling out!

    1. That is another interesting way to shape and give patterns on the cookies .. something similar to when we make gujiya( our traditional Holi sweet snack). Kids always have fun doing such festive family traditions and kitchen activities.. I am glad you loved the post, thank you so much in taking time out and reading the post in detail.

  6. Such delightful looking Maamoul cookies Swaty ! The date filled cookies sound very delicious and with your well explained recipe, I am tempted to give it a try.

  7. Love, love, love these cookies! They look crunchy and decadent, but are wholesome with the addition of wheat flour, cane sugar and dates. The orange zest and juice must have made them so very flavourful!

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