literary dishes: date filled ma’moul

January 29, 2019

Today’s post will be slightly different than anything else on this blog. In lieu of Hafsah Faizal’s upcoming release We Hunt the Flame (May 14th 2019), we (meaning one of the groups of her Street Team) brought a Blog Hop to life. I am extremely thankful for being part of this awesome Street Team and furthermore the #Sarasinners! When it was time to think about my contribution to the Blog Hop, I knew I wanted to make something special – something different.

I am not very creative when it comes to aesthetics (by the way, there are already lots of beautiful pieces floating around the web!), I can’t draw (so no fanarts) and I’ve never been good with make-up. I am fearful of making a cosplay for the awesome characters of the story and I don’t think I have the right vision when it comes to fancasts. But as I mentally went through all the ideas, I realized that I am good at something: making food. I am by no means a chef or master at this and I don’t bake and cook enough (because of time reasons) to be considered really good. But I can make edible food and I pour my heart into it. So that’s when I decided I wanted to cook something for you.

There are some Arabian dishes that play a part in We Hunt the Flame. I have to say at this point that I have never been in touch with the Arabian kitchen before – meaning I neither ate or made such dishes. But I wanted to try and pay some tribute to the food of the story.

After some research of the dishes, I finally decided on making Ma’moul or Maamoul – a delicious dessert in cookie form. There were a ton of recipes and the first ones I saw were with a semolina-based dough. I have never worked with semolina before and already saw my kitchen going up in flames. Luckily, I realized that there are also other variations of Ma’moul that aren’t semolina-based. (Honestly – I feel like every family has a different recipe for Ma’moul and that it’s all about personal preferences!) And those recipes I found were easy enough and contained only ingredients that everyone can hunt down in their trusted supermarkets. So, without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Date Filled Ma'moul

Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 16 cookies

Ingredients

dough

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup butter (melted and hot)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup milk

filling

  • ¾ cup dates (pitted and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder

Instructions

MAKING THE DOUGH

  • mix the liquid ingredients in a bowl and set aside
  • add all the dry ingredients in a different bowl and stir well
  • pour the hot butter into the flour and mix it, using a whisk until well combined (this might not look like dough to you at first since it can be flaky)
  • add the milk and knead for at least 5 minutes
  • cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for one hour

MAKING THE FILLING

  • add all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir on medium heat (the dates will soften with time and will develop a sticky dough-like texture
  • let the mixture cool completely

MAKING MA'MOUL

  • preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F
  • grease a baking pan with butter or use a baking sheet
  • form around16 equal balls from the dough
  • take a ball and flatten it slightly in your palm, place a ball of date in the centre and close the dough forming a sealed ball
  • place the ball in a mould, press it gently until the surface is even
  • slam the edge of the mould on a folded towel a few times to release the dough
  • place the Ma'moul on your greased baking pan (or baking sheet)
  • bake for 15 - 20 minutes
  • let them cool and dust them with confectioners’ sugar if you wish (optional)

Notes

Usually you would use a traditional Ma'moul mould for making the cookies, but if you're like me and don't have one and can't / don't want to invest in one, you can simply use the back of a juicer top as a mold! I saw this trick (along with this awesome recipe, which I changed to my personal liking, here!

Let me say – I have never eaten anything else like this before. Ma’moul is a whole new world for me and I am incredibly glad that I tried my luck with these. At this point I also want to thank my best friend Svenja for being my trusted photographer at this project. Without her, you wouldn’t be able to see the deliciousness of these treats!

Last but not least, here’s the excerpt from thw book where the cookies are mentioned. They’re Zafira’s mom’s favourites!

I might do more literary dishes in the future after this project turned out to be so much fun. Have you ever tried to cook something out of a book? ♥

P.S. – you might want to keep your eyes open for the yellow graphic! When seeing it, you found another contribution to the Sarasin Blog Hop!

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