Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ma'amoul | معمول‎

I know I'm 4 days late but:


The holy month of Ramadan has (sadly) come to an end and Eid ul-Fitr is here. This Eid is celebrated for 3 days; Muslims all over the world prepare wonderful feasts for family and friends, adults give Eidiya to children (which is mostly money that's gifted to the kids) and everyone wears new clothes that they've bought especially for Eid. It's a joyous 3 days where everyone sends each other messages, makes phone calls and pays visits to congratulate one another on a wonderful month of fasting. 

Just wanted to note that the crochet table cloth was made by my super talented grandmother!

I personally wish I had relatives that lived in the same country as me so that I could visit them one by one and be able to celebrate with them. I would love to bake treats with my grandmother and distribute them to family and friends with my grandfather. Unfortunately, sometimes as an expat you don't get that kind of luxury. I'm thankful that I have my parents and brother to spend it with otherwise it wouldn't be Eid at all. Oh and let's not forget a wonderful network of friends!

Needless to say, Eid ul-Fitr is my favorite Eid. And on this Eid, every year, we make a special treat called Ma'amoul. We use my grandma's recipe which she's perfected over the years (Oh God, please make me a super baker like her one day!)

Ma'amoul is a shortbread cookie filled with either dates, pistachios or walnuts. They are known not to be overly sweet, so you can pop a whole lot of 'em at once! Some people decorate them by hand while others use special wooden molds to create wonderful designs on the cookie. Ma'amoul is very popular in Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. You'll usually find it in abundance during any religious festivals (such as during Easter celebrated by Arab Christians).

Mom preparing the dough

Filling the pastry with walnuts and sugar

What I love about making Ma'amoul is that it brings people together; you rarely find one person in the household making it all by themselves. Well, at least that's like blasphemy in my house! This year, my parents and I made a huge batch together to give out to friends. 

Once the pastry is filled, you roll it up into a ball and push it into the wooden mold
To get the pastry out of the mold, the most effective way is to flip it over and THWACK it on any solid platform 
Date filling with an unintentional heart-looking design, anyone?

Date filling is by far my favorite. I can eat 10 of these in one go. I did not just say that out loud.

Freshly baked and ready to roll around in some powdered sugar

I hope that whomever celebrated Eid ul-Fitr had a wonderful one filled with family, friends, and lots of delicious treats!

Ma'amoul - معمول‎ 
my grandmother's recipe

What you'll need:

4 cups semolina
2 cups flour 
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup cooking/vegetable oil
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence
Water at room temperature, enough to add till the dough is formed.

  • Mix the dry ingredients until well incorporated
  • Add butter and oil and work in with your hands
  • While kneading the dough, add water at intervals until the dough forms. Once you're able to handle the dough and form a flat pancake-like shape, it's ready. (Refer to first series photo to know what I mean about this)

Happy Baking!


  1. Thanks for posting this up Yasmin! Keep 'em comin' :)

  2. These are my dad's favorite! They look scrumptious. Do we get these moulds in Dubai?

  3. Thanks for this recipe! Always loved date filled cookies!!!!! where did u get the moulds??? fantastic!!!

  4. Love this post, it reminded me of the ma'amoul-making at the Al Samadi baklava factory! My uncle gifted us a yummy batch of ma'amoul for Eid, and I was trying to explain to him how they were made in these perfect timing, I'll just show him your post!

  5. Thanks for dropping by, Nagham!

  6. Hi Mehnaz! Yes, you can get these molds at the nearest supermarket (I got mine from Lifco and Carrefour) :)

  7. Same here, Dina. Dates are the way to go during Ramadan and we had quite a bit left during Eid so it's the perfect way to use them.
    I bought my molds at Lifco Supermarket and Carrefour

  8. Thank you, Arva! Glad you found it helpful :)

  9. Wow Yasmin, These looks good enough to eb sold at a bakery! I absoluetly love the molds as well. I'm wonderign if I can use them to make normal cookies?

  10. Thank you Sukaina, you're so kind!

    It can be used for any cookie I'm sure. But what I'm worried about is it holding its shape. With Ma'amoul, the combination of semolina and flour keeps it pretty stiff so it doesn't spread while baking, resulting in a crumbly texture. While on the other hand, a chocolate chip cookie dough has extra butter which allows it to spread out while baking. But I'd say, give it a go. You've got nothing to lose! :)

  11. they look so cute!!! :)

    I always wondered what they used to make the patterns for the maamoul...I always pictured some complicated dough shaping with spatulas xD

    this is far simpler than I thought :)

    Maamoul is made the rest of the year too so don't worry about the lateness! I'd love to make these <3

  12. Some talented bakers do make Ma'amoul by hand! There are many more tools you can use as well such as a crimper that looks like this: It's a lot of fun to make :)

  13. Yasmin, loved the photos and the story. Loved the entire Ramadan and Eid collection and your travels through Turkey! Great job! Your photography is beautiful too. You are growing and I see and commend your growth. I also loved that you shared the moment with your mother who has perfect "mothery" loving hands that we just love em for (and the delicious food they make).

  14. Thank you so much Kari for the very kind comments! I hope I continue to grow because I see I still have a long way to go.

  15. The whole post is a wonderful read. The wooden molds are great! Have never eaten a Ma'amoul before but am bookmarking this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Where did you get the maamoul moulds - I've been searching for some in Dubai for ages? Lovely post btw.

  17. I bought them from Lifco Supermarket, nothing fancy ;)

  18. look so yummmy Yasmin. cud u plz share the recipe of the filling. u have an amazing website with drooling recipes iv been luking for since a long time. thanx

  19. Hi Naila!
    Thank you so much for your kind comments :)

    For the date filling: Try to pick very ripe dates (this is just for ease). For this recipe, I weighed 1kg of dates, pitted. Toss them in a food processor. You can choose to add either cinnamon or cardamon (I prefer cinnamon), about 2 teaspoons. Add round 2 tablespoons of hot water that you've just boiled from the kettle. Pulse everything in the food processor until it becomes dough-like. If you feel it's still too dry, add some more water but in very small amounts because you won't need much. Once you feel that you can pinch out a part of the date filling and roll it into a ball with your hands, it's ready!

    For the walnut filling: Weigh 1kg of walnuts; finely diced. Add about a cup of sugar (you can add more or less according to your taste). Again, 2 teaspoons of either cardamon or cinnamon (If you want to experiment with any other spices, go ahead! This filling is very simple yet versatile).

    I hope this helps! Enjoy :)

  20. JazakAllahoo Khair Yasmin for the recipe and especially for ur mail regarding the reply. Really really appreciate it! Thanx again n all the best.