Ma'amoul means filled in Arabic. These are very popular in Lebanon but can be found throughout the Middle East and North Africa. They are traditionally shaped as crescents or as pressed cookies and have several variations for the fillings. This one has a
INGREDIENTS (for 1 servings):
- 2 cups semolina flour
- 1 1/2 cups shortening
- 1 cup boiling water
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 2 cups ground walnuts
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)
Place the semolina flour into a medium bowl, and cut in shortening using a pastry blender or a fork. Pour in boiling water, and mix to form a solid dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for a minute or two to be sure the dough is well blended. Cover dough and let stand for at least one hour, or as long as overnight.
In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, ground nuts, and rose water so that the mixture is uniform. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper. Knead dough again briefly, and form into walnut sized balls. Make a hole in the center using your finger. Fill the hole with the nut mixture, and seal the dough up over it. Gently form into balls or crescents, or make designs into the dough using a fork. Place cookies at least 1 inch apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Dust with confectioners sugar while still warm if desired.
Almonds or unsalted pistachios may be used for filling also. If rose water is not available in your area, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon for flavoring.
There are many variations for shaping these cookies including rectangles rolled into mini jelly rolls, or shape 3 inch rounds from balls, place filling in the center, and fold the sides over to cover, and seal.