These traditional cookies originated in Aleppo, Syria. The unique appearance is achieved by rolling the dough into a ball, making a depression, filling, closing, and pinching with special tweezers.
Yield: 65 cookies.
Place all dough ingredients in the mixer bowl. On low speed and with the dough hook, combine everything into a soft, workable dough. Combine all the filling ingredients in a separate bowl.
To assemble the cookies, pull off balls of dough and roll into rounds a bit less than an inch (4-cm) in diameter. Working with one at a time, place a round of dough in your palm, and use the other hand to make a depression in the dough. Gently widen the depression to form a well; it should look something like a flat piece of dough surrounded by “walls.”
Fill this depression with chopped nuts and pinch the edges closed.
Transfer the finished cookies to a baking tray lined with Gefen Parchment Paper and bake at a bit less than 325 degrees Farenheit (160 degrees Celsius) for twenty minutes.
Don’t wait for the cookies to turn brown; they are ready even though they remain light-colored (the bottoms will brown slightly). Avoid over-baking the cookie because the filling will harden too much. Remove the tray from the oven and cool. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Rotate the cookie until it is seam-side down, and pinch the top and sides of the cookie with special baking tweezers. (The tweezers are also used for fondant; you can buy them at baking supply stores.) Continue with the rest of the dough and filling.
To prevent the confectioners’ sugar from being absorbed into the cookie, add a bit of potato starch at a ratio of one flat tablespoon of potato starch for every cup of confectioners’ sugar. Commercially sold confectioners’ sugar already contains a bit of potato starch or other starch to prevent absorption.
The mamoul stays fresh for two weeks if kept in a sealed container, and much longer if frozen. (Freeze without the powdered sugar; sprinkle it on after defrosting somewhat and just before serving.)