Maamoul – Stuffed Date and Orange Cookies

Maamoul are small shortbread pastries filled with dates and other fruit or nut fillings, famous in the Middle Eastern cuisine. They are particularly popular during Ramadan, but also around other Muslim and Arab celebrations. Using date paste as a filling is a convenient and faster way of stuffing the maamoul cookies with dates as it saves time necessary to pit and blend dates, yet it preserves the nutritional value of this super-fruit.

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 225g Date Paste
  • 75g crystallised ginger
  • Pinch salt
  • Grated zest of 1 orange

Biscuits

  • 280g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 10g icing sugar plus some for dusting
  • Pinch salt
  • 115g butter
  • 2 tbsp veg oil
  • 60ml milk

Method:

  1. Grease and line a baking tray and pre-heat the oven to 160C / 325oF/ Gas mark 3.
  2. Make the biscuit. Using a food processor, blend the dry ingredients with the butter to a crumb consistency. Add the oil and milk to form a soft dough. Do not overmix the dough or it could become tough.
  3. Prepare the filing: Bend the date paste with finely chopped crystallised ginger, salt and the finely grated zest of 1 orange.
  4. Divide the biscuit dough into 20 evenly sized balls. Flatten and place 1 tsp of the date filling in the centre. Draw the edges of the biscuit up over the filling to fully enclose it.
  5. Flatten the balls and decorate the edges with a fork.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until maamouls are light golden in colour.

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