Ma'amouls are what I would call, cookies from Heaven!! They melt in the mouth and make you feel so happy. These little goodies, packed with rich nuts, scented with orange blossom water and sweetened with honey are so addicting that you would never want to stop eating them. I love the ones with pistachio filling the best.
Pulse the soft butter (at room temperature) in a food processor with the orange blossom water.
Add the chilled water to the butter and pulse again to a smooth consistency.
Combine the flour, salt and sugar together in a separate bowl.
As the processor is running start adding the flour mixture through the spout stopping at intervals so as not to heat up the processor just until all the flour is incorporated. If the dough you get is too moist and sticky add a little more flour and if too dry then a little more butter. But for me, with 4 cups and a little more it turns out just right. Remove and set aside in a bowl. Do not knead the dough by running the processor more. This makes the dough more glutinous which we do not want. It should be like short bread dough easily tearable and not elastic.
Meanwhile pound the nuts coarsely. You can use different fillings with mixed nuts (almonds, pistachios and walnuts) or just any nut of your choice (pistachios, walnuts or almonds) in combination with honey, icing sugar and orange blossom water. You can also use just date paste mixed with orange blossom water. Or dates and mixed nuts with orange blossom water. You can be as creative as you want with your fillings. For the maamoul fillings recipe here
Make a depression in the small rounds of the dough, shape them like a bowl by swirling around and pinching the edge/rim with your fingers and thumb. Place the filling in the bowl, close the dough over the filling, pinch to seal and smoothen it like a ball. Please note that there should be a considerably thin layer of dough around the filling (not so thin that the filling comes out on baking and not so thick that there's very little filling inside). Wipe your hands with the tea towel each time you touch the filling to avoid discolouring the dough.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Now tap the mold on the edge of the cookie sheet to get the ma'amoul fall off. Or you could keep a separate tray to tap the mamouls from the mold. Repeat with the rest of the ma'amouls.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Bake the maamouls for around 10 -12 minutes till the base of the ma'amoul is lightly golden brown. After 12 mins take a flat thin spatula and lift the base of a ma'amoul to see if it is done. Remove when they look firm but still white at the top and lightly golden at the base.
Cool on wire wrack for one hour. Dust them with icing sugar after they cool down completely and enjoy.
Do not store these cookies in the fridge. Store them in a cool dry place in an air tight container or cookie jar. They stay fresh outside for 2 - 4 weeks. You may freeze them if you want to store for longer periods of time. But bring them to room temperature before serving them.