Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Picnic Game and Ma’moul ~A traditional Lebanese cookie

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Are you ready for a picnic?  July is National Picnic Month and, thanks to Louise and her lovely blog Months of Edible Celebrations, it’s time for the Picnic Game again!  Louise has been running the picnic game for 5 years.  I was lucky enough to join in on the fun last year with my Limoncello Biscotti. The game is based on the children’s game, where everyone chooses a letter, and comes up with a picnic item that begins with that letter. In this case, each blogger will bring to the picnic a variety of virtual food, to fill the picnic basket; starting with A and working through to Z!! So lay down your blanket,  join the fun, and visit all the wonderful bloggers participating. They are bringing some wonderful food!


So here it goes…  I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing:
Aloo Gobi
Blueberry Cucumber Salsa
Crispy Curry Fried Chicken
Dying for Chocolate Chocolate Cake
Eton Mess
Fish In A Jar 

Golden Pillow Hee Ban
Hummingbird cake
Ice Cream Sandwiches
Jersey Hot Dogs
Kahlua Mocha Ice Cream
Light and Soft Japanese Cheesecake 
Ma’moul (Lebanese Pistachio Butter Cookie)

This year I’m bringing Ma’moul to the picnic. You always need something sweet to enjoy while your sitting on that blanket.  Ma’mouls are a traditional Lebanese filled cookie. They are very popular in the Gulf countries of the Middle East. I would describe them as having the consistency of a butter or shortbread cookie. The flavors are Mediterranean, with the essence of Rose water and/or Orange Blossom water. These pastries are always filled with either dates, pistachios or walnuts. The shapes of Ma’moul may vary. You will see them in balls, domed or flattened, and can either be decorated by hand or made in special wooden moulds. I used a mould. I have made Ma’moul many times before using a recipe from one of my Lebanese cookbooks.  This time I decided to try a recipe from Nick Malgieri’s cookbook “A Bakers Tour”.  The difference being, my recipe calls for semolina flour in addition to the all-pourpose flour, and his was made solely with all-purpose flour.  My recipe also includes sugar in the dough, his did not.  This dough was easy to work with, and the taste and texture of these lovely cookies was quite nice. Filled with a delicious pistachio filling, dipped in powdered sugar, they are melt-in-your-mouth delectable, and are a wonderful treat to bring to a picnic.  I’m sure everyone will love them. 
So glad you came by to see what’s in my picnic basket…hope you’ll go see what the other picnickers are bringing to our 2013 virtual picnic. 
Happy Picnicking everyone!

Break a piece of dough off and place into the mould…if you do not have a mould you can form it in the palm of your hand.
Make indentation
Place a spoon of nuts in the center 
Then cover with dough…you could add more dough to the bottom if needed
Turn out of the mould
Place in the oven and bake
Serve the  ma’moul with powdered sugar
Melt in-your-mouth delicious!!
Oh so yummy!

Pistachio-Filled Butter Cookies (Mamoul)

Cooking Time: Bake 20 to 30 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
14 tablespoons butter (1 3/4 sticks), unsalted
1 tablespoon rose water
2 tablespoons milk

3/4 cup pistachios, unsalted, shelled, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons rose water*
 Powdered Sugar

* Rose water is available in Middle Eastern food stores and through online gourmet shops. If you prefer, you may substitute orange-flower water.

Line 1 1/2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans lined with parchment or foil. Set rack in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

Dough: Place flour in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade and add chunks of butter. Pulse to mix butter in finely, keeping mixture powdery. Take off cover and evenly sprinkle flour and butter mixture with rose water and milk. Cover and pulse again until dough forms a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cover with plastic wrap while making filling.

Filling: Stir together pistachios, granulated sugar and rose water in small bowl. To form the mamoul, roll dough into a cylinder about 18 inches long. Use knife or bench scraper to cut dough every ½ inch to make 36 pieces of dough. To form each cookie, roll one of the pieces of dough between the palms of your hands to make a sphere. Insert a fingertip to make an opening, then use your thumbs to enlarge the opening and make a little cup. Fill the cup with a spoonful of the filling and pinch the opening closed, forming the mamoul into an even sphere. Place formed mamoul on one of the prepared pans, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough and filling, placing mamoul on pans about 1 inch apart in all directions. After all the mamoul are formed, use a fork and pierce the sides and tops of the cookies.

Bake mamoul until just barely golden (they should remain pale), about 20 to 25 minutes. Change position of pans from upper to lower rack and vice versa, also turning the back to front at least once during baking. If your oven gives strong bottom heat, stack 2 pans together for lower rack, to provide insulation. Cool mamoul on pans on racks. When they are completely cooled, dust them heavily with powdered sugar.

To store, keep cookies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in container with a tight-fitting lid. If cookies are made in advance, dust them with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

3 dozen cookies

 Recipe by Nick Malgieri


  1. Kathy, these Lebanese cookies look exquisite! Love the recipe, the very pretty wooden mould you used and the pistachio flling - looks like quite the treat for a picnic. And your post reminds me of the fact that you baked the wonderful Limoncello Biscotti for the virtual picnic last year and that I was thrilled with that recipe as well when I made it.
    Have a great weekend, Kathy!

  2. Kathy me encanta esta receta de galletas muy buena saludos y abrazos.

  3. my aunt used to make these and I loved them... wow what memories you just unveiled in my past! thank you for that and the recipe will be bookmarking this one! hugs!

  4. Hi Kathy!

    I just knew you were going to bring something extra special to the picnic and indeed you did! As Andrea said, your Ma'moul "look exquisite!." I can hardly wait to taste them at the picnic. I'll be setting up my blanket right smack in the middle so I'm near all the goodies. I had a tough time getting one of your Limoncello Biscotti last year. I'm not taking any chances this year!

    Thank you so much for playing the Picnic Game with us once again Kathy. We always have such FUN! Now, I better run, I have a picnic to set up and a letter to send along to the other picnickers. "See" you there!

  5. I adore mamoul, it´s one of my special cookies, though I made it only a few times. I´m so jelous of your mold Kathy! Will go search for one. With all the ridiculous gadgets I own, I should have a wooden mamoul mold.

  6. Kathy , the mamoul cookies looks so good and delicious as if I could reach in and grab one ... I'm reserving my now see you at the picnic :)

  7. Wow, Kathy - I think I would eat them all! I love your mold, too.

  8. These ma'moul look gorgeous! Love your mould too.

  9. These cookies looks amazing! Something new to me, and I'm looking forward to enjoy these cookies at the picnic!

  10. ivy sew http://simplybeautifulhealthyliving.blogspot.comJune 30, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    This is beautiful and yummy. Pls reserve some for me.. :) See you at the picnic!

  11. Love his récipe! these ma moul look amazing, always I think in make because my Mother in law always made and hubby love them!! I will try your récipe and I will comment you!
    See you in the picnic!!

  12. OHMYYYY these look amazing!!

  13. These cookies look utterly incredible :D


  14. I love these cookies -now I want the cookie mold!!! Traditional Lebanese cookies sound just wonderful and look oh so yummy ;)
    I like the picnic game and remember playing it with our kids at the dinner table-years ago. Maybe we should bring it back- we always had a few laughs playing it!

  15. Melt-in-your-mouth? Sounds divine!

  16. Kathy, what an interest mold for those amazing cookies. Love the pistachio filling. Such scrumptious and yummy Lebanese cookies. I'd love to come along to that picnic, you certainly have a long list of delicious things to bring. I would think of bringing a few nice Hungarian and Italian goodies along!

    BTW- I've been on Bloglovin' since probably day #1. Never check it to see who even follows me...probably no-one, but I do make an effort to follow some people, and I just followed you as well!

  17. Your mamoul looks so much easier to prepare. Thanks so much for sharing it. Btw, I am bringing some home with me at the picnic party. Do you mind? >o< Hope you're having fun too!
    Cheers, Kristy

  18. I've never heard of these sweet treats before! But I LOVE that pistachio filling. It's my favorite nut!

  19. These are so pretty and unique! They would be perfect for lots of events (showers, brunches, etc) but I'm glad you brought them to the picnic Kathy!

  20. Kathy , I will love baking and shaaring these cookies ...thanks for sharing :)

  21. This is an amazing cookie. I am sure where I am sitting. I want, at least, one of these so please put my name on some.

  22. What a beautiful, sweet treat! I bet my husband would enjoy it too.