Ka’ak bil Ma’amoul (Date-Stuffed Ring Cookies)

  • Serves

    makes About 27 Cookies


These holiday cookies are flavored with orange blossom water and stuffed with a sweet date filling. This recipe first appeared in our December 2013 issue along with Nancy Harmon Jenkins' article Heart of Palestine.


  • 1 14 cups flour
  • 1 14 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 34 cup fine semolina
  • 12 cup water, heated to 115°
  • 1 12 tbsp. orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp. ground anise
  • 2 tsp. plus 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 12 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 12 tsp. nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 tsp. ground mahlab
  • 12 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 8 oz. pitted medjool dates
  • 1 12 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 12 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 14 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 18 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 18 tsp. ground cloves


Step 1

Mix flours, oil, semolina, waters, anise, 2 tsp. sugar, yeast, nigella, salt, mahlab, and sesame seeds in a stand mixer fitted with a hook until dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high; knead until dough is smooth, 2–3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, 2 hours.

Step 2

Place dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water; let sit until soft, 5–10 minutes. Drain, discarding water, and transfer to a food processor. Add remaining sugar, plus butter, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves; purée into a paste.

Step 3

Heat oven to 400°. Divide dough into twenty-seven 1-oz. balls. Divide paste into equal number of balls. Working with 1 ball dough at a time, roll into a 5" × 1½" rectangle, about ⅛" thick. Using wet hands, roll 1 ball paste into a 4½" log; place in center of dough lengthwise. Fold dough up and over the paste; brush edges with water and seal closed. Using hands, roll log until smooth; pinch ends together to form a ring. Arrange rings on greased baking sheets; bake until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes.

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