12 April 2012

Gastronomical alchemy

In the spirit of good sportsmanship, scientific advancement, and all around fun, I decided to make another batch of maamoul using a different recipe.  I feel it is only fair as there are dozens of variations on this delectable treat and I've only begun to scratch the surface.  I'm on a quest to find and create the best maamoul.  Plus, I received a few comments from some Lebanese friends who were shocked that I used flour.  (Also a few who wondered why I didn't use mahlab...)


Maamoul round 2!

This recipe is a modified combination of two (maybe more?) recipes from here and here.  Why modify?  Because I am a scientist.  That's what I do.  I modify things.  For fun.  For science!  (Plus, I didn't have coarse semolina on hand... and, I love butter.)

Anyhow, I am happy to report that this recipe is much easier than the previous one I attempted.  Less room to botch things up.  (Now I understand why dem Lebanese were so shocked!)  As for the taste... it was like biting into buttery shortbread with a slight nutty undertone.  (Mahlab is subtle like that...)  The verdict?  They were both delicious, but I think I like this one better.  It's easier.  And a half notch tastier.  Hurray for scientific experimentation and gastronomical alchemy!

Before introducing you to my new recipe though, and for some random fun, here are a few fun Easter/spring crafts that I love!

Ok.  Now I've got that out of my system, on to the recipe!

*Note, as this recipe contains both cream of wheat and semolina, it is, unfortunately, not gluten free. :o(

5 1/2 cups fine semolina
1 1/2 cups cream of wheat
2 cups butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp mahlab
3/4 - 1 cup orange blossom water

2 1/2 cups walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp orange blossom water

Mix first 4 ingredients together.  Add melted butter and combine well until mixture resembles a crummy dough.  Add 1/2 cup of orange blossom water and knead dough well.  Continue adding orange blossom water 1 Tbsp at a time until dough is sticky and cohesive.  (As Bethany mentions, the dough should be sticky, but not stick to your hands.)  

Set aside to rest for 3 hours.  (This helps the soften the semolina and cream of wheat.)  While waiting, prepare filling by dumping everything into your food processor and blending for a bit until it looks coarsely ground.

Knead dough briefly.  Pinch off a small walnut sized piece of dough and flatten with palms.  Place a generous spoon of filling in the middle and pinch the edges together to seal.  Place ball in a lightly floured (or semolina-ed) maamoul mold and press well.  Tap mold firmly on counter top or palm to release cookie.  

Place on baking tray and bake at 400 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes.  The colour should be pale gold, but not golden.  Remove, let cool and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.  

FYI: Apparently these babies will keep up to one month outside of the refrigerator if well sealed!  Bonus!  (That might not be a problem though since they don't usually last that long.  At least not in our house.)  Happy eating!


  1. intriguing! Never heard of these- I will have to give them a go!

    1. Let me know how they turn out for you!