Maamoul: Stuffed Date and Orange Cookies

Beautiful crumbly biscuits filled with Midde Eastern flavours.
  • For the date-orange filling
  • 225g pitted soft Medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 75g crystallised ginger
  • Pinch finely-grated orange zest
  • For the biscuits
  • 280g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 10g icing sugar, plus about 60 to 125g more for dusting
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, plus 30g
  • 2 tbsp neutral flavoured oil, such as canola
  • 60ml milk
  • For the apricot-golden sultana-nut filling
  • 40g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (other nuts can be substituted)
  • 55g golden sultanas
  • 60g apricot jam
  • Pinch fine salt
  • For the quince-walnut filling
  • 50g walnuts, toasted
  • 100g quince jam
  • Pinch fine salt

Serves: 20 cookies

To make the date-orange filling:
Puree the filling ingredients in a food processor until evenly combined, about one to two minutes. Remove and set aside. Clean the processor bowl.

To make the biscuits:
1) Preheat the oven to 160°C / gas mark 3. Put the flour, baking powder, 10g icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse three to four times to mix. Add the butter, oil and milk, pulsing until the dough just comes together. Take care not to overwork the dough; it will be slightly wet.

2) Remove the dough from the processor and roll into 20 equal size balls. In the palm of your hand, press and pat each ball of dough into a 7cm round. Place a rounded teaspoon of filling in the centre of each round and draw the edges up and around the filling. Pinch the dough together to make a sealed ball, and then carefully roll between your palms to make a smooth round ball.

3) Press gently to flatten the biscuit slightly, then place seamed side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Gently prick the cookies with a fork or a wooden skewer in a decorative pattern, taking care not to pierce the dough to the filling.

4) Bake the cookies until firm and slightly puffed, and the tops are pale but the bottoms are just beginning to turn slightly golden, about 25 to 30 mins. Dust generously with icing sugar, cool and dust again.

For the apricot-golden sultana-nut filling:
Puree ingredients in a food processor until evenly combined.

For the quince-walnut filling:
Puree the ingredients in a food processor until evenly combined.

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