Today I’m sharing Ma’amoul with Pistachios.
The Muslim calendar has 2 major holidays: the Eid (celebration) which marks the end of Ramadan, and the Eid which marks the end of Hajj, the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca. The latter is called Eid al-Adha, the sacrificial holiday where a family sacrifices a lamb to offer those less fortunate.
During both of these holidays, ma’amoul cookies play an important role. During Ramadan I shared the date-filled variety. Today I’m sharing the (arguably more delicious) pistachio-filled kind.
There’s a type of ma’amoul found in Aleppo endearingly called karabij. They’re crumbly cookies made with semolina which are stuffed with pistachios. They’re not very sweet, and to be honest, they don’t have much flavor on their own. There’s one very important thing that makes them special: a creamy, white, marshmallow-like dipping sauce that is made from soapwort root called natef, and there’s no way you can have one without the other.
These ma’amoul cookies are like karabij and natef rolled into one. The dough and filling are orange blossom and rose water-scented, they’re the perfect texture, and the powdered sugar adds the right amount of sweetness. They’re so addicting, you and your family members will keep wanting to come back for more.
Just about every ma’amoul recipe you find in the world makes a huge batch. This is no different. It’s intended for you to share with your family, friends and loved ones. Feel free to halve the recipe if you’d like to make a smaller portion.
I hope you give this recipe a try! If you do, don’t forget to put it in the comments and tag @omayah.atassi and #omayahcooks on Instagram.
Ma'amoul with Pistachios
These Middle Eastern cookies are typically prepared during Eid celebrations, but they're delicious any time of year. They're sweet, buttery and nutty and have the addicting flavors of rose water and orange blossom water.
Makes: About 120-130
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
8 c all-purpose flour
2 c coarse semolina or farina
4 c unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c confectioners or powdered sugar
1 tsp ground mahlab
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c orange blossom water
1/4 c rose water
4 c crushed raw pistachios
3/4 c ater, cooled (Middle Eastern syrup, recipe follows)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 c powdered/confectioners sugar
- Combine the flour, semolina, sugar, mahlab and butter in a large bowl. Mix with your hands and set aside to rest for about 1.5 hours or until soft.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine the crushed pistachios in a medium bowl with add syrup and butter. Set aside.
- Add the baking powder and orange blossom and rose waters to the dough and combine.
- Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C or convection 375°F/180°C. Make several small balls of filling. Form your cookies by hollowing out the middle with your thumb. The sides should be about 1/8 inch thick. Take a ball of filling and place it in the middle, filling the hole but making sure it can close easily. Close and roll to make smooth. Press in a ma'amoul mold and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Alternatively, press into mini bundt trays. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden.
- Allow the cookies to cool for about 10 minutes. Place the 3 cups of powdered/confectioners sugar in a medium bowl and dip each cookie in the sugar. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Ater (Middle Eastern Syrup)
This syrup is used for about all Middle Eastern sweets. It has a delicious hint of lemon juice and rose water. Reserve extras in the fridge for later use.
Makes: About 2 cups
Cook time: 7 minutes
2 c sugar
1 c water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp rose water
- Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves and the water starts to boil. Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and rose water. Set aside to cool and reserve in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.