Ma’amoul bil Tamer (Lebanese Date Shortbread)

  • Serves

    makes 25


These Lebanese shortbread cookies feature a buttery pastry scented with rose and orange blossom waters wrapped around a cinnamon and nutmeg–spiced date filling. Though they're easy to shape by hand, it's worth seeking out a traditional ma'amoul mold to make them. The beautiful long-handled tools, known as taabehs, are intricately carved with designs that correspond to their fillings, with distinct patterns for ma'amoul filled with dates, pistachio, or walnut.


For the Crust

  • 3 cups fine semolina
  • 12 cup flour
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 12 tsp. kosher salt
  • 13 cup whole milk
  • 2 12 tbsp. rose water
  • 2 tsp. orange blossom water

For the Filling

  • 5 cups pitted dates
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 12 tbsp. grated nutmeg


Step 1

Make the crust: Pulse semolina, flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor into pea-size crumbles. Add milk and rose and orange blossom waters; pulse until dough forms. Flatten dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap; chill 2 hours.

Step 2

Make the filling: Purée dates, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a food processor until smooth. Divide into 25 balls; chill 30 minutes.

Step 3

Heat oven to 400°. Divide dough into 25 balls. Working with 1 ball at a time, press finger into dough, creating a pocket. Place 1 ball of filling into pocket; pinch sides to encase filling and roll into a ball. Press balls into ma'amoul mold, or flatten slightly using your palm; transfer to a baking sheet. Bake until golden, 20–25 minutes; let cool before serving.

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