It’s this time of the year where the neighborhood smells sweet. Housewives and women of the family would be traditionally gathering right now to bake batches of Maamool. The aroma sneaks out of the oven to reach every sense of smell around and makes one desire to eat Maamool instantly. Hopefully this ritual will never go out of style, as it adds excitement to this beautiful occasion.
Maamool is very popular in Lebanon during Easter and I’ve been asked for the recipe hundreds of times. I hope you will love it as much as I do and appreciate the artist behind this elegant treat. I think who ever invented it, did care about each of his taste buds. Who would have thought about the mix of this fragrant dough coming from the combination of the rose water and the orange blossom water. The result is a delicious cookie that melts in your mouth and the pistachio filling gives it a soft chomp. Impressive!
Maamoul With Pistachios or Walnuts
For 30 pieces
3 cups coarse semolina (ferkha)
2 cups fine semolina (smeed naim)
½ cup of sugar
3 sticks/300g of butter, melted (and let cool down) I use Lurpak blocks
100ml of rose water
30ml/2 tbsp of orange blossom water
⅙ teaspoon instant yeast
200g of unsalted pistachio nuts or unsalted walnuts
¾ cup of regular sugar
2tbsp of rose water
3tbsp of orange blossom water
Icing sugar to decorate
Mix coarse semolina, fine semolina and sugar together.
Add yeast and melted butter and rub with hands until well combined.
Gradually pour WARM orange blossom water and rose water, kneading the dough gently with hands. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a wet kitchen towel. Let it sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
To make the filling, combine all ingredients.
Divide the dough in 2. Scoop walnut size of maamoul dough and flatten it on the palm of your hand, fill it with pistachios or walnut filling and make a ball. Repeat this step until you finish the dough.
Press gently each ball into a traditional “Maamoul” mold to take shape and tap out on the baking sheet to drop out of the mould. If the dough is sticky, lightly flour the mold.
In a preheated oven 200C/400F bake the maamoul cookies for about 15-20mn or until the sides are slightly golden.
Sprinkle with icing sugar, while still hot. Let cool down and sprinkle again until fully covered.
This is one of those recipes that just came together in my head in 3 minutes.
1. I wanted to bake a cake.
2. I didn’t want it to contain eggs, milk or butter.
3. A cake that uses black treacle.
You may wonder, what’s the occasion? I have friends visiting me tomorrow.
Why no eggs – no milk – no butter? Because during Lent many friends abstain from eating meat and dairy, therefore my guests will have no reason to say no to my cake.
Why black treacle? Well for the simple reason that I still have a bottle since Christmas and I want to finish it;-)
The resulting DELICIOUS cake had a dark color, strong flavor and viscous consistency. The combination of treacle and aniseed is the secret to this succulent cake. There’s something flavorful about this blend that lights up my mood even on bad days. For some the taste of treacle, might be very strong and for those who love this taste, close to licorice if I may say, will fall in love with this recipe.
You can always use milk instead of water or if desired, use half milk and half water. You may also substitute the black treacle with date molasses. And if you decide to use all-purpose-flour then I suggest you add 2 teaspoons of baking flower. Many options can be explored but my one-advise is not to skip the aniseed addition!
Black Treacle Cake Recipe
3 cups self-rising flour
2 tbsp ground aniseed
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups black treacle
1 ½ cups water
½ cup slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 180°C. In a bowl, mix flour and aniseed. Add oil and stir to make a paste.
In a separate bowl, combine treacle and water. Add gradually to the flour paste and mix.
Grease a cake mold and pour batter. Make sure it’s flat and even. Sprinkle with almonds.
Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before transferring to a plate.