Maamoul

 

 

 

As Easter Sunday nears, most people will be preparing to get together with their families to celebrate. They will also make sure that they have colored their easter eggs, bought their chocolate eggs and most importantly their traditional Maamoul sweet. Maamoul is a wonderful sweet made of very simple ingredients and stuffed with either nuts or dates. Most people don’t have time to make their own Maamoul these days, but they will make sure to get some for themselves or for when they visit someone else’s home on Easter. And I have to say that the Muslims also love to make this sweet during Ramadan and the Eid.

In our family, it is an important part of our tradition to get together to make our own Maamoul. I have used this recipe for many years and my daughters have always helped make them when we are together. And recently with the new additions to our family, my grandchildren are also now involved in the process. As I mentioned before, the Maamoul is stuffed with pistachios, walnuts or dates, but I always make sure to leave one of each shape without any stuffing. The person who gets the empty Maamoul is considered lucky.

The molds and one tong            The mixed butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo semolina
  • 1/2 kilo butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp mahlab (wild cherry tree)orfenugreek
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp dried instant yeast
  • 1 cup milk (more or less depending on the type of semolina)
The butter and semolina mixture
The dough ready
Preparation:
  • Place the butter large mixing bowl,mix it until it becomes fluffy
  •  Rub with semolina using your fingers until all the semolina has absorbed the butter. Cover with a tea towel and leave overnight
  • Preheat the oven to 180DegC
  • The next day, add the instant yeast and sugar and rub well again. Add the milk gradually until the dough is well-combined
  • Form a small ball using the dough,  flatten the ball. Then stuff with your choice of stuffing as described below. Place in the mold and slam down on your hard work surface to release the Maamoul
  • Place the Maamoul on a baking tray and continue until all the dough is complete
  • Bake in the oven for 12-15 mins until the top is light golden in color
  • Leave in the trays until completely cold
  • Dust the Maamoul stuffed in nuts with icing sugar, for the date ones you don’t need too because they are sweet enough
Stuffing with dates                   Put in the mold

The fillings:For the date stuffing:

– If you cannot find dates puree, bring dates, remove seed and skin, in a small saucepan melt one tablespoon of butter and add the dates, mix until puree. Sprinkle with a pinch of ground nutmeg. when they are cold, make them into small balls.

The dates shaped like balls    The walnut filling                   The pistachios filling

 For the nut filling:( pistachios or walnut)

-Ground roughly a cup of nut of your choice, mix with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon rose water and two tablespoons of orange blossom water

Nota Bene: if you cannot find the mold you can shape the balls of Maamoul with your hands then design with a tong, like the one on the picture above.

ET VOILA… HAPPY EASTER.:)

Lazy Cake (Biscuit au Chocolat)

I love chocolate. I mean, I think I am addicted to chocolate. I always have some in the house. Every week, I have to make a chocolate cake, cupcake, biscuit with chocolate or anything else! My children also love it, especially my quadruple chocolate cake (maybe I’ll post it someday). Today I made this biscuit au chocolat, popularly known as Lazy Cake. Why did they call it lazy? Maybe because it doesn’t require any oven cooking, or maybe it can be made with simple ingredients. In any case, what counts is that it is DELICIOUS! 😀

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cup of icing sugar
  • 8 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 200 grams butter
  • about 250 grams of biscuit ( you can use any kind you like, I used petit beurre biscuit)

Preparation:

  • Beat the eggs until pale yellow, then add the vanilla and sugar while mixing
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add it to the egg mixture, then add the cocoa slowly
  • Snap the biscuits into pieces by hand over the mixture and fold with a spoon to cover all the pieces of biscuit with the chocolate
  • Line a cake tin with plastic cling film and pour the cake mixture in. Press the cake down with a spoon while pouring
  • Cover the tin with cling film and refrigerate for at least 5 hours until set
  • When the cake is hard enough, remove the cling film and take out from the cake tin , place in a serving plate and slice it and you’re ready to enjoy. As simple as that

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT! 🙂

Fondant Au Chocolat

Have you ever tried a Fondant Au Chocolat in a nice restaurant or coffee shop with a scoop of ice cream? The hot chocolate melting in your mouth, contrasting the cold of the ice cream and wished you can eat it any time you want at home? I did. I love the texture of this creamy chocolate and cannot stop myself from eating it even after a heavy dinner. I’ve tried so many recipes to find the perfect one that can satisfy my craving, until a few years back, I found a nice one in an old french magazine and I’ve tried it and I said “that’s the one I am looking for”!! It was perfectly delicious. My children also love it. I made it again today to share this lovely recipe with you. By the way you should be very careful about the cooking time, if you leave it one minute extra in the oven, you will not have the melting chocolate oozing out from inside the cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of flour minus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 eggs+2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of icing sugar minus 1 tablespoon
  • 100 grams butter
  • 100 black chocolate
  • pinch of salt

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 210C
  • In a saucepanPlace the chocolate with the butter and the pinch of salt and let it melt on water bath for 5 minutes stirring continuously
  • In a bowl whisk the eggs with egg yolks until pale yellow
  • Add the flour to the eggs and mix well
  • Add the icing sugar now
  • Pour the mixture of chocolate-butter over the eggs and flour
  • Grease 6 small molds ( the cup cake ones will be perfect) and divide the mixture into them
  • Bake in the oven for 9 minutes,( you now it is done when the top of the cake is  not soft anymore
  • Eat while it is still warm. Or you can reheat them on the microwave for few seconds only

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT. BON APPETIT!

Coconut Balls

My sister in-law invited me to an afternoon gathering with her friends yesterday, and she asked me to make cheesecake to bring over with me. Knowing how much she enjoyed it the last time I made it, I obliged. I felt guilty leaving my son without a dessert for him to snack on so I decided to surprise him by preparing these coconut balls. I know how much he likes them, and I wanted to do something to cheer him up after a long day at university. It certainly did the trick 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 5 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup  less 2 tablespoons semolina
  • 1 cup less 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • one lemon’s zest
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • icing sugar to cover the coconut balls (optional)
Preparation:
  • Whisk the eggs with sugar, vanilla and the pinch of salt until the mixture becomes light and fluffy
  • Add the lemon zest, semolina, baking powder, coconut and the melted butter and mix well
  • Preheat the oven to 180c, prepare the baking sheets for the oven by lining them with wax paper, no need for butter
  • Roll the dough in palm-sized balls and roll in the icing sugar (you can choose not to roll in the sugar, either way is yummy)
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until they turn light golden color
  • Leave in the trays until cool

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Biscuit With Anise

Few days ago, I had a mild flu. I felt like eating something sweet but nothing too sweet. I remembered that when I was young, my aunt used to tell me that anise is very good when you have cold. Boil the seeds in water then remove them with a spoon and add some honey, you will feel better. She was telling me this while making these biscuits with anise and until now I remember that wonderful aroma that wafted to me from the oven. I brought my notebook, which I have been filling until this day with recipes I collect from my mother and her sisters since I was 17 years old, and wrote down that which I’m going to share with you.

In my flu-ridden state, I turned to this biscuit recipe in my notebook; thankfully I had all the ingredients ready and didn’t need to go do grocery shopping. The best thing about this recipe it is quick to prepare, and the rest is left to the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of butter softened
  • 1 tablespoon of anise seeds
  • 1/3 cup of corn oil
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • sesame (optional but recommended)

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C (or 300 F)
  • Mix all the ingredients by hand. Add water to the dough if you feel it’s hard
  • Take a small piece from the dough and shape it to your liking by hand. Dip the circle in some sesame seeds if you have some ready
  • Place these biscuit in a baking tray and cook in the oven for 30 minutes until they are a nice golden color from the top
  • Enjoy the aroma while it cools. Have it with some tea if you’re feeling under the weather like I was, it’s a real treat

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Lebanese Macaroon

The Lebanese Macaroon is very different from the French one. For one thing, the French Macaroons are made from almond powder, egg whites and sugar whereas the Lebanese ones are made out of semolina, oil and some spices. Also, the French Macaroon is baked in the oven while the Lebanese variation is fried in oil. It’s a very indulgent dessert, with a high amount of sugar (how much sugar syrup you add is up to you.) I’ll be posting the recipe for the French Macaroons sometime in the future; you can try it then and see the difference for yourself.

When I was young, I used to help my mother to roll the dough when she made macaroons. It would make me happy to sit on the floor, shaping the dough and rolling it on a straw chair to create a pleasant texture. It maybe difficult to find a straw chairs nowadays (its not necessary to use one) so rolling the dough on a cheese grater will create a similar effect.

This is my mother’s recipe and it is unmistakably delicious. Help yourself to a wonderfully indulgent dessert 🙂

Sugar Syrup Preparation:

  • Boil 2 cups of sugar in a cup of water, stirring occasionally
  • When done, add a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of rose water
  • Keep warm until you use it in the macaroon

Macaroon Ingredients:

  • 500 grams fine semolina (3 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground anise
  • 1 teaspoon dried instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel
  • warm water to form the dough, about 1 cup of water (have a bit more handy)
  • oil for frying
  • sugar syrup

Preparation:

  • Mix the semolina, fennel, anise, dried yeast, sugar and the corn oil together with one cup of water until it forms a soft dough (add only one cup at the beginning, but if you find that the dough still hard add more water little by little until the dough is soft and easy to manage)
  • Take a palm-sized roll of dough, roll it into a long shape (about one finger’s length) and roll it against the grater to give it texture
  • When you finish all the dough, deep fry them until they give a nice golden color
  • Remove from them from the oil and straight into the sugar syrup. Do this quickly so that the macaroons absorb the syrup

ET VOILA C’EST TOUT:)

Melon Jam

Melon Jam is not very popular. For me however, eating it reminds me of fond memories from my childhood. When I was young, I used to go to my grand parents home often; one time, when I had arrived at their house, I could smell something very special cooking… but I couldn’t recognize it. Curious, I went to the kitchen and saw my grand mother peeling melon with the help of my mother and aunts, preparing sugar and other ingredients. That was the first time I saw anyone making Melon Jam.

Now, I make it for my own children and I feel the same way I felt when I saw how they made it for the first time. Today I am sharing this recipe with you. Trust me, you will love the nice aroma it makes.

A serving suggestion: Enjoy it with toast (as seen in the picture) or with croissant, crepes… Everything tastes better with this jam.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg melon peeled and seeds removed
  • 700 gs granulated sugar
  • 100 ml red vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1 teaspoon butter

Preparation:

  • Cut the melon into small cubes
  • In a casserole, mix the melon with sugar and vinegar and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly
  • Add the butter, the ground cinnamon and the half vanilla pod, cut lengthwise
  • Let it boil for 15 mins
  • Lower the heat and let the jam cook for about 25 mins, stirring often
  • Remove the vanilla pod
  • To check if the jam is ready, place a drop of jam in a cup of cold water; if it forms a ball then the jam is ready
  • Place the jam in jars, close them and place them upside down for 10 mins

ET VOILA.. CES’T TOUT! 🙂

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

Cookies are always fun to make. The recipe for these cookies I have from my mother, and I’ve been making it since 20 years and let me tell you, it is  a big hit! The feeling of these soft cookies melting in one’s mouth will make anyone’s mood shift quickly into a blissful state, problems will dissolve as the cookies crumble, and the day will seem brighter.

I know there’s a plethora of stores showing off their latest cookie recipes, but today I’d like to show you how you can make these fluffy delicious mouth adventures on your own. And believe me you cannot go wrong with it!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 butter softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4  all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 C. Grease lightly few cooking sheet
  • Cream the sugars with the butter and shortening until light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one, stir in the vanilla
  • Sift together, the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and the salt, add to the sugar mixture, beating well
  • Fold the chocolate chips
  • Make from the dough small ball, place it on the cooking sheet and press it with fingertips
  • Bake for about 12 minutes.
  • Cool it on the tray before removing to a rack to cool completely.

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT:)

Apple Jam

In the old days in Lebanon, people used to store their food in what we call in Arabic, a “Mouneh” or another term for the Lebanese Pantry. In the villages, these pantries were made usually under brick structures –  prove the equivalent of today’s fridges. Since fruits are not all available all year around we used to make jams from all kinds of fruits to enjoy them even out of season.

Today I made apple jam. Apple, known for its vitamins and minerals is an ideal jam for the cold winters in the mountains in Lebanon, and since some would grow apples near their homes, it was common to find them in the Mouneh of people’s village homes.

I would like to share with you my mother’s recipe for apple jam, which my mother herself took from her mother.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg of yellow apple
  • one  lemon
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Preparation:

  • Wash the apples, peel them, remover the seeds and cut into quarters
  • Cut the lemon and rub the apples so they wont turn black color
  • Put the apples in a casserole, cover it with 3 cups of water and boil until it becomes tender
  • Remove the apples and put aside. Add the sugar to the boiling water with the cinnamon stick and let it boil for 5 minutes
  • Put the apples back to the water and let it boil on a medium heat fire
  • Reduce the heat and and let it simmer on a very low fire until the color of the apples turn like honey color and it thickens also like honey consistance
  • If the apples get dry before it reaches the desired color, you can add a little bit of water.
  • Put the apple jam in a jar, when it becomes cold close the jar tightly.

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT.

Strawberry Tart

Happy Valentine’s day to all of you! I wish each and every one of you love that encompasses your hearts beyond only this obscurely invented holiday 🙂

Strawberry Tart

As you may have noticed in the gift stores in your neighborhoods, LOVE is highly associated with the color red, the color of fire, passion, and STRAWBERRIES! The delicious strawberry resembling the kiss of a loved one. My gift to you this valentine’s day is to share with you a recipe for a strawberry tart, which I hope will ignite your taste buds and will make your kisses with your loved ones sweeter.

Ingredients:

  • 200 gs of all purpose flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 100 gs of butter
  • 1  coffee spoon of sugar
  • 500 gs of fresh strawberry

Preparation:

  • Mix the flour with salt and the sugar
  • Rub it with the soft butter until the flour becomes granulated
  • Put the water and knead the mixture with the fingers quickly, when the dough is soft wrap it in a plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to rest for about one hour
  • Preheat the oven on 200C
  • Roll the dough and put it in a greased  tart mold with loose buttom
  • Cover the top with waxing paper and put dried beans
  • Put in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes

In the meantime make the “creme patissiere”

Ingredients for the cream:

  • 1 liter of milk (about 4 cups)
  • 100 gs of sugar
  • 4egg yolk
  • 60 gs of corn starch (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation:

  • Boil the milk with the vanilla on low fire
  • In a bowl mix with the electric beater the egg yolk with the sugar until the sugar dissolve and the mixture becomes yellow pale color
  • Add the corn starch gradually to the egg mixture and whisk slowly, when  it becomes homogenous pour half of the boiled milk, mix slowly at the beginning, when the cream is soft mix faster
  • Put the cream mixture in the casserole of the milk on very low heat, always mixing, until the cream thickens
  • Put the fire off and don’t stop mixing to allow the cream to cool quickly
  • Put it in a plate and cover it with plastic wrap until needed
  • When the tart is cold remove it from the mold,cover it with the “creme patissiere”
  • Decorate with the strawberries
  • As a final touch, dissolve one bag of jello (strawberry flavor) with one cup of hot water and pour half of it over the strawberry

ET VOILA. C’EST TOUT:)

ENJOY VALENTINE’S ❤