Mamoul – Date Filled Cookies

Mamoul is traditionally filled with pitted dates, but we can also make them with coarsely chopped pistachio nowadays.

Since dates are naturally sweet in a sticky, candied-like fashion, sugar is not necessary in this recipe except for some confectioners’ sugar for dusting. That is not the case if we use pistachio, however.

Although native to the Middle East, dates have now earned a place in California agriculture. Golden to dark brown when ripe, they are about 1 or 2 inches long with one seed in the center. Dates are fresh but do give the appearance of dried fruits because their paper-thin skin is characteristically wrinkled.

Packaged dates are available year round, and fresh domestic dates are in season between October and December.

ingredients for mamoul

Date Filling

Pitted dates, finely chopped ½ lb.
Water 3 Tbsp


All purpose flour 1¾ cups
Unsalted butter, 12 Tbsp or 1½ sticks
cut into pieces
Rose or orange flower water 2 tsp
Milk 2 Tbsp
Confectioners’ sugar for finishing
    Preparing dates for cookies

  • Put dates and water in a saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce and stir often until the consistency is thick and jam-like. Spread the filling on a plate or shallow bowl to cool.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  • Process flour with butter in a food processor until they are well combined.

  • Sprinkle with rose water and milk. Continue processing until dough just forms a ball.

    Shaping mamoul

  • For even portions, divide dough into 25 – 30 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then insert an index finger into it to make a hole. Use your thumbs to enlarge the hole so that it becomes a little cup.

    date-filled cookies are ready for baking

  • Fill with a spoonful of the filling and pinch the opening closed. Place each cookie seam-side down on prepared baking pans, leaving about 1-inch around in all directions.

  • Press each mamoul gently to flatten, then use a fork to pierce the surface in a decorative design.

  • Bake for about 20 minutes, making sure that they remain very white. They should take on no color at all because there is no added sugar in the recipe. Therefore, caramelization, if any, should be minimal.

    Mamoul-Syrian and Lebanese Cookies

  • Cool in pan on racks. Dust heavily with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Store between sheets of parchment or wax paper in airtight containers.

¾ cup unsalted, shelled, very green pistachio, coarsely chopped
¼ cup sugar
1½ tsp rose water

If you prefer pistachio, use:

Mix pistachio, sugar, and rose water together in a small bowl to make the filling.

Other Easy International Cookie Recipes

This recipe for Mamoul is in Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2000.