Makroud (a Date Filled Semolina Cookie) A North African Afternoon

Makroud (a Date Filled Semolina Cookie) A North African Afternoon

May 18, 2016

Makroud is an exceptional kind of cookie, not just for their origin, but how very little white sugar is in this recipe. The sweetness of the date, orange and spice filling carry this cookie to the finish line. The semolina is dense, but not heavy. The deep fry creates crunch and the Orange Blossom Sugar Syrup provides the sweet finishing moisture.

I made Makroud on a Spring Saturday afternoon with two very talented food bloggers from Montreal: Evelyne of CulturEatz, and Hilary of Cocoa Bean The Vegetable. The idea was that we team up for a North African Afternoon. On collaboration day, Evelyne and Hilary arrived to The Finer Cookie kitchen. In perfect style, we poured Proseco and St. Germain (never too early) and then got to our work.

Evelyne featured Chicken Bastilla, a marvellous Moroccan Chicken Almond Phyllo Pie, while Hilary chose Roasted Stuffed Eggplant with lots and lots of fresh herbs.

I was all in for the cookie part. My challenge was to find a North African cookie that would compliment the comforting Bastilla and the fresh herb Roasted Stuffed Eggplant. My friend from Tunis (with whom I dance Tango) has been asking me to make Makroud–a Date-Filled Semolina Cookie. He remembers them piled high in pastry cases in his neighborhood bake shop. He’s right. They’re delicious.

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Ingredients

Makes 24 cookies

Makroud Cookie Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon ½ teaspoon ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon 1⁄8 teaspoon 1⁄8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 1/4 cup 1/4 cup 2.3 ounces canola, or any other flavourless oil
  • 4 tablespoons 4 tablespoons 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups 2 1/2 cups 14.3 ounces wheat semolina flour, finely ground

Orange Blossom Sugar Syrup Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 cup 5 1/4 oz sugar
  • 1/2 cup 1/2 cup 6 ounces honey
  • 1/4 cup 1/4 cup 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons 2 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • ½ teaspoon ½ teaspoon ½ teaspoon fine salt

Date Filling Ingredients

  • 4 ounces 4 ounces 4 ounces pitted dates
  • 2 tablespoon 2 tablespoon 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon ½ tablespoon ½ tablespoon fine salt
  • ½ tablespoon ½ tablespoons ½ tablespoons orange zest
  • 2-4 tablespoons 2-4 tablespoons 2-4 tablespoons water depending on the dryness of the dates

Frying and Finishing Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon 3 tablespoon 3 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 cups 2 cups 14 ounces flavourless oil for frying

Instructions

TASTE SENSATIONS IN THREE COURSES

  • Evelyne is featuring Chicken Bastilla, which is this marvellous Moroccan Chicken Almond Phyllo Pie, while Hilary chose Roasted Stuffed Eggplant with lots and lots of fresh herbs.
  • I was all in for the cookie part. My challenge was to find a North African cookie that would compliment the comforting Bastilla and the fresh herb Roasted Stuffed Eggplant. My friend from Tunis (with whom I dance Tango) has been asking me to make Makroud–a Date-Filled Semolina Cookie. Growing up, he remembers them piled high in pastry cases in his neighborhood bake shop. When he says they’re delicious, he’s right. For me, Makroud is an exceptional kind of cookie, not just for their origin, but how very little white sugar is in this recipe. The sweetness of the date, orange and spice filling carry this cookie to the finish line. The semolina is dense, but not heavy. The deep fry creates crunch and the Orange Blossom Sugar Syrup provides the sweet finishing moisture.
  • So on collaboration day, The Finer Cookie kitchen was mostly organized when Evelyne and Hilary arrived. In perfect style, we began with Proseco and St. Germain (never too early) and then got to our work.
St. Germain and Prosecco to start the day!
St. Germain and Prosecco to start the day!
  • What a pleasure it was cooking together. Didn’t the day fly by? You’re both very talented—everything went so smoothly. Thank you Evelyne and Hilary! I had a really good time. I think our North African feast was exceptional.
Me, Evelyn and Hilary. This shot wasn’t posed.
Me, Evelyn and Hilary. This shot wasn’t posed.
  • I urge you to visit Evelyne’s amazing Bastilla, and Hilary’s very gorgeous Roasted Stuffed Eggplant. Below is the Makroud—A Date Filled Semolina Cookie. All three dishes are perfect for an outdoors in the summertime, as they inspire sunshine and warm ocean breezes.
  • One last item: Thank you Saveur Magazine for this very delicious recipe. Click on the link to see the original post.
Our North African feast!
Our North African feast!

MISE EN PLACE FOR THE MAKROUD SEMOLINA COOKIE

  • In a small bowl, combine 1⁄2 teaspoon salt with the saffron and 1⁄2 cup warm tap water and let stand for 5 minutes to allow the saffron to steep.
  • Melt the butter
  • Add 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil to the melted butter.
  • Measure the semolina and set aside.
  • Line 1 baking sheet with parchment.
  • Pour the oil for frying into a deep, wide mouth sauce pan or sauté pan.
  • Measure the sesame seeds onto a plate or small bowl and set aside.
Steeping saffron and salt.
Steeping saffron and salt.

ASSEMBLE THE COOKIE DOUGH

  • Add saffron liquid, and butter and oil together in a large bowl and stir until combined.
  • Add the semolina flour to the liquid and stir until a smooth dough forms.
Have fun while mixing.
Have fun while mixing.
Mix the semolina dough.
Mix the semolina dough.
  • Knead the dough briefly in the bowl until it becomes a smooth and dense.
Gather the semolina dough.
Gather the semolina dough.
  • Divide in quarters and wrap each piece in plastic wrap.
Two of the four pieces wrapped in plastic.
Two of the four pieces wrapped in plastic.
  • Let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

MAKE THE ORANGE BLOSSOM HONEY SYRUP

  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with the honey, lemon juice, orange blossom water, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.
Making the Orange Blossom Syrup.
Making the Orange Blossom Syrup.
  • Remove the syrup from the heat, pour into a medium bowl, and let cool completely.

MIS-EN-PLACE THE DATE FILLING

  • In a food processor, combine the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt with the dates, olive oil, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, orange zest, and 2 tablespoons water and purée into a smooth paste.
Zesting an orange.
Zesting an orange.
  • If the paste isn’t smooth and is too gummy, add the remaining water 1 tbsp at a time to create a thick paste.
  • Fill a medium size pastry bag with a #9 ¼ inch tip with the date filling.
The date filling in the piping bag.
The date filling in the piping bag.

ASSEMBLING THE MAKROUD

  • On a clean work surface, unwrap 1 piece of dough and roll into an even 12-inch rope. Using your finger, press along the top of the rope to flatten the middle, creating a moat of dough with high sides.
Make a mote for the date filling.
Make a mote for the date filling.
  • Pipe the filling into the middle of the moat.
Piping the date filling into the mote.
Piping the date filling into the mote.
  • Using your fingers, bring the sides of the dough up and over, pinching to enclose the filling.
Close the semolina dough
Close the semolina dough.
  • Roll the rope back and forth to create a smooth surface.
  • Flatten the rope slightly until It is roughly3⁄4 inch thick
  • Using a paring knife, trim the ends and cut on a deep diagonal at every inch so you have twelve 1-inch-wide diamonds.
  • Transfer the diamonds to a parchment paper—lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Transferring the cut Makroud to a tray.
Transferring the cut Makroud to a tray.
  • In a 12-inch skillet, heat 2 cups oil over medium-high until an instant-read thermometer reads 350°F.
  • Working in small batches, add the diamonds to the oil and fry, flipping once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
Frying the Makroud.
Frying the Makroud.
  • Using a slotted spoon, lift the diamonds from the oil and submerge in the honey syrup for 15-30 seconds.
Dipping the fried Makroud in the Orange Blossom Sugar Syrup.
Dipping the fried Makroud in the Orange Blossom Sugar Syrup.
Dipping the fried Makroud in Sesame seeds.
Dipping the fried Makroud in Sesame seeds.
  • Transfer the pastries to a large serving platter
  • Optional: Pour any remaining syrup around the pastries on the platter.
  • Store any remaining pastries in an airtight container, covered in the remaining honey syrup, at room temperature for up to 2 days
Makroud–A Date Filled Semolina Cookie The Finer Cookie
Makroud–A Date Filled Semolina Cookie The Finer Cookie
  • Check out this beautiful North African recipe by Hilary of Cocoa Bean the Vegetable. Her Roasted Stuffed Eggplant is super favourable! Don’t miss it!
Roasted Stuffed Eggplant The Finer Cookie
Roasted Stuffed Eggplant The Finer Cookie
  • Then, check out this exquisite Chicken Bastilla by Evelyne of CulturEatz . You won’t want to miss this absolutely incredibly delicious phyllo pie.
Chicken Bastilla The Finer Cookie
Chicken Bastilla The Finer Cookie

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