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Introducing Ma’amoul – cookies that bridge cultures

People in the Middle East really like their sweets.  They drink their Tea and Coffee with lots of sugar – and they put dried fruit into many savory dishes to make them sweet.

If you have ever been to a Middle Eastern bakery, you’ll probably think of pastries that are drenched in honey, like Baklava.  Even Turkish Delight is very sweet (although delicious!) and is covered with powdered sugar.
 

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Ma’amoul is a shortbread cookie, filled with either dates, walnuts or pistaschios.  It is one of the few pastries served throughout the Middle East that actually is not super-sweet.  Some varieties can have powdered sugar on them – but most do not. 

Why do I say that this is a cookie that bridges cultures?  Because this is a traditional cookie that has its place with all of the many religions found throughout the region.  Muslims eat them during Ramadan – they fast all day, and then end their nightly feast with this sweet.  Christians serve them traditionally at Easter.  Jews eat the Date variety for Rosh Hashana (the New Year) and the other varieties at Purim.  One cookie – so many traditions!

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Google "Ma'amoul" and you will find so many different recipes - some more simple than others..... some variations use Rose water or Orange water, some use white flour while others use semolina... The traditional cookie has alot of versions, depending on where you are from or your family's way of doing things.... but the manner of making this cookie is the same.

There is a traditional MOLD that the cookies are made in - and depending on the design of the mold, you can always know what the filling will be.  I saw somebody liken that to chocolatiers.... who put different designs on their chocolates, so that you know what kind it will be before you bite into it.

This is the mold used for the Walnut version.... if you'd like to give it a try, you can find these molds in my store (click on the picture to link to it!).  If you'd like me to give you a recipe, just drop me a line. 

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I am going to make these cookies for the upcoming Rosh Hashana holiday - it is the Jewish New Year, when the traditional greeting is "Happy and Sweet New Year".  We eat sweets for a sweet year and we eat pomegranates so that our year will be prosperous. 

If I don't see you again before the Holiday, let me wish you "Shana Tova" - a good year!  May it be a Sweet and Prosperous year, full of Dreams Coming True!



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Reader Comments  (8)

Tuckerstuff
Tuckerstuff | September 15th 2011 at 1316075479

I'll take the super sweet, drenched in sugar stuff. Give me sugar! Must have sugar! And Coffee to go with it. lol. Just kidding (kinda), great blog and thanks for sharing your knowledge. Learn something new everyday.
twysp2
twysp2 | September 15th 2011 at 1316087624

So interesting about the different religions and cookies. I like the not so sweet ones rolled in powered sugar and pistaschios...as balls. Your molds make them look fancy.
Avocado Lane
Avocado Lane | September 15th 2011 at 1316089771

Interesting and delicious :)
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Lynn | September 15th 2011 at 1316103062

Wow, I love these too!! You can send me some for..uummmm ..uuummm .."Shana Tova" . Yes some of these cultures eat this sweets on the side, as not to put sugar in the tea. The sweet ends up being the sugar for the sweetness in the tea. Love it!!! Going to get me some tea now...Thaks my friend Martha.
Donna's Stuff & More
Donna's Stuff & More | September 15th 2011 at 1316104460

And I am so hungry right now. Will you be selling these? I want mine with the dates, please! ;D
Royal Presence
Royal Presence | September 15th 2011 at 1316128073

Delicious!
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BeewitchingItems | September 19th 2011 at 1316434825

I'm not big on sweets, but you have succeeded in making me hungry. These do sound so good, I just might have to try them one day.
Pacesetter
Pacesetter | September 24th 2011 at 1316867324

Sounds wonderful wonderful!!

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