Today I’m joining several other bloggers to take part a virtual potluck hosted by Kitchen Play. We’re all preparing recipes from An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky. I was tasked with making date-filled cookies, a recipe that I’ll admit was a bit outside of my comfort zone. Up until now I’ve had zero experience with preparing Middle Eastern cuisine.
I do love dates, though. They’re one of my favorite dried fruits and I always jump at the chance to use them in a recipe. I did tweak Faith’s recipe slightly; I added about a tablespoon of orange blossom water to the dough. Rose water would have also been really good. It makes such a fragrant, lovely cookie! These are very unlike the cookies I typically make; they’re a bit dense and not overly sweet. We loved them and I’m looking forward to trying more recipes from the book.
This recipe calls for a few unique ingredients and tools. These cookies are typically made using a decorative ma’amoul cookie mold. I didn’t have one so I shaped them by hand and have included instructions on how to make the cookies with or without the ma’amoul. The recipe also calls for a spice called ground mahlab or sour black cherry pits. You can find this at any Middle Eastern market or online. However, the cookies will still taste good even if you omit that spice altogether.
Here’s what Faith has to say about these cookies:
My mother-in-law always makes these beautiful date-filled cookies for the Eid (“Festival”) at the end of Ramadan. They can also be stuffed with orange blossom-scented pistachios or cinnamon-spiced walnuts, but date filling is particularly delicious and is traditional for holidays.
The date filling is uniquely spiced with the flavors of mahlab (a spice that comes from the seed kernel from the center of St Lucie Cherry pits), anise, and fennel, along with more commonly used warm spices like cinnamon and ginger. In my cookbook I show step-by-step photos for how to use a Ma’amoul mold to fill these cookies, and I also give directions on how to shape and fill these cookies by hand without a mold…it’s easier than you might think!
Paired with a fresh pot of steaming hot Turkish coffee that’s scented of cardamom, these cookies make for a lovely afternoon.
You can purchase the book online here: An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair. Here’s Faith’s post about the her book.
Be sure to check out the other posts from today’s virtual potluck (more links will be added throughout the day):
- Bibberche – Spinach Turnover
- The Spiced Life - Scrambled Eggs with Meat and Onion
- MarocMama – Meat and Veggie Casserole with Pomegranates
- Kitchen Concoctions – Falafel
- 52 Kitchen Adventures - Coconut Semolina Cake