8 Dates: Ma’amoul

Only the best will survive in the harshest of conditions.

Ma’amoul (معمول‎) is a festive date-filled cookie. (Photo from Mervat Salman, made available under CC License)

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Eid Mubarak! Ma’amoul is prepared and eaten to break fast during Ramadan, and the festive Eid holidays. It is made with dates and nuts, and served with Arabic coffee and chocolate.

Dates has three forms of sugar – glucose, sucrose and fructose. It is sweet, really sweet, but don’t avoid it just yet! Sweet as it may be, it is good source of vitamins and minerals, and also contains fibre, protein and calcium. Due to trade, these sweet fruits have been eaten around the world – some eat it alone, others mix it into warm drinks, while others, like the Arabs bake it into desserts as their coffee snack.

The fruit is one of the main ingredients in Middle Eastern cuisines, and for good reasons they are! The date palm trees are hardy. They can survive and adapt in harsh conditions with poor soil nutrients and hot climate. It also provides shade, prevents desertification and of course, most importantly, produces dates! The leftover seeds can be culled for animal feed, while the crop residues can become building materials. All in all, this palm tree is a sustainable wonder – a necessity in desert locations where most food fail to grow.

Sweet and nutritious – eating dates provide for a wide scope of health benefits. (Photo from sweyang, made available under CC License)


Play Your Part:

  • Support the local food source – this does not have to be dates, but what is grown naturally and locally (some research will be required)
  • Understand and learn from food cultures and sources from across the world – insights can be gained from anywhere


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Dates are sweet…but the Arabic coffee is even more bitter! Take a trip to the Middle East, ride into the desert and camp overnight to enjoy some Arabic coffee and dates with the locals…important note to remember: go in their winter, summer heat is not to be braved. However, if you can’t make it all the way to the desert, take your baking supplies and whip up your own batch of date cookies to entertain guests and impress your Arabic neighbours.

Molds make for elaborate, artistic cookies to the break fast. (Photo from fugzu, made available under CC License)

Ma’amoul (from Amanda’s Plate)

Yield: 2 dozen




  • 3 cups farina (milled wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup ghee, clarified butter (or regular butter)
  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup whole milk


  • 3 cups dates, pitted
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)

Special Equipment:


  1. Blend dates, nutmeg, cardamom and 1 tbsp coconut oil in food processor. Add orange blossom water
  2. Roll filling mixture into small balls
  3. In a bowl, mix yeast in lukewarm water, and allow to stand for 3 minutes
  4. Mix farina, flour, salt, sugar and butter using hand mixture
  5. Add yeast, water and milk to bowl. Mixx until dough forms
  6. Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes
  7. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
  8. Using mold, press dough in center. Place date ball in center. Cover filling with dough (see video below)
  9. Tap mold until dough releases
  10. Place on parchment-lined baking tray
  11. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown


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Ingredients of the Environment: A Cookbook Copyright © by Hazel Chew. All Rights Reserved.

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