2 cups soft pitted dates, chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom
2 cups ground walnuts or pistachios
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup rose water
1 cup butter
½ cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fine semolina flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange blossom water
Icing sugar, for serving (optional)
- Mix dates, oil, sesame seeds, and cinnamon or cardamom to a paste. Shape into small balls the size of hazelnuts.
- Mix walnuts or pistachios with sugar and rose water.
Fillings can be made right before shaping and baking the dough.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, bring butter and milk to a boil. Mix all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and sugar in a large bowl. Pour hot milk mixture into flour mixture all at once, beating constantly with a wooden spoon until cool. Using your fingertips, rub in orange blossom water until fully incorporated.
- Cover with kitchen towel and let set for at least 3 hours (or preferably overnight).
- Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F).
- Knead dough by hand for 5 minutes until soft and pliable. Shape dough into walnut-size balls. Press thumb into balls to make cups. Fill cups with balls of date or a generous teaspoon of nut filling. Mold dough over filling, pressing seams to seal. Roll into balls. If desired, press balls into decorated molds, tapping them out onto a work surface. Arrange on a baking sheet.
- Bake on middle rack of oven for 25 minutes, or until golden.
- Let cool, then arrange on a serving plate. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving, if desire
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