Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Maamul



Maamul are, to my mind, the most orgasmic date cookies in the world.

Not a single person who's been offered a maamul (also spelt: ma'amul/ mamul/ mamoul/ ma'mul/ maamoul/ ma'amoul/ maamul, but all pronounced in the same way: [maa-aa'g-moul]) could eat only one. Packets of the things are guzzled, inhalled, swallowed up and everyone, and I mean everyone, always comes back for more.

I started taking them to England with me as gifts and now each time I go my suitcase is half full of the things: 15 very large boxes last time and I'll receive phone calls reminding me to bring them.

When I offer the biscuits for the first time, to a maamul virgin, they'll put them in their mouth and chew without any interest. They look so ordinary, so boring. Then the eater will stop speaking, look at the cookie in puzzlement, think about what they're eating and then ask, with that ~you know what~ look on their face,
"What did you say these cookies were called?" and then the, "umms" and the, "oohs" start. Finally, they'll ask for another, but this time they'll ask with a forbidden, naughty tone in their voice.

At least two friends who never eat cookies have consumed an entire box (24 pieces) in 24 hours and then asked for more.


Recipe
I just love the recipe, although I've not actually tried it for accuracy, from;
www.saudiembassy.or.jp/discover SA/dessertsandcookies
where else, or who else, makes cookies using kilos of ingredients?

Ingredients; Pastry
1 kilo flour
200 gram butter
2 tablespoons ghee
1\2 cup oil
6 tablespoons powdered milk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1\2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon yeast

Ingredients; Date Paste
1 kilo unseeded dates {see wgaw blog archive: dates} or date paste

Optional extras for the Date Filling
1 1/2 teaspoons brandy
ground almonds, pistachios or walnuts
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 - 3 teaspoons orange blossom water
2 - 3 teaspooons rose water {see wgaw blog archive: rosewater}

The one thing I didn't find in any recipe on the web and makes all the difference to the date paste is, fennel seed; I'd strongly suggest you add some.

Decoration
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar for dusting (optional)

Method
1. Melt the butter and ghee with oil over a medium heat
2. Pour the mixture over the flour and the rest of the ingredients, mix well. Cover the dough and let it stand for at least one hour.
3. Add half cup of cold water on the mixture, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a minute or two to be sure the dough is well blended
4. Form the dough into small walnut sized balls, then make a hole in the centre, using your finger
5. Stuff a small piece of the date paste into the central hole in each pastry ball and reform it into either rectangles, balls or crescents
6. Put the shapes on a baking tray, then cook in the oven until lightly browned (10 to 12 minutes)
7. Let the cookies cool and dust with powdered sugar

Temperature
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 400ºF (200ºC)




Additional Information
1. Fabulous photos and more maamoul drooling can be found at:
www.pastrystudio.blogspot.com/2008/10/maamoul.html

2. Ready made maamoul bicuits, including the chocolate coated variety ~groans~ can be bought and shipped directly from the factory in Saudi Arabia: www.alkaramah-sa.com/ready%20maamoul%20products%20.html

3. Date paste for making your own ma'mol can be bought and shipped from:
http://www.palmwonders.com/department/date-paste/

3 comments:

NiDa said...

LOL what a co-incidence I just ate a couple myself :D! You are right, you can't eat just one. They are too good!

Pixie said...

I am married to a Saudi and I HATE mamoul unless it is dipped in chocolate.

Tammy said...

We love maamul...definately can't eat just 1.

http://tammyssomalihome.blogspot.com/