This biscuit is a traditional Arab sweet used on special occasions. It is definitely a must have and simple to make, though note to only very slightly brown the biscuits. The biscuit or cookie can be filled with walnut or pistachio or dates. I've included both, the choice is entirely up to you! Remember: do not expect the dough of the biscuit to be cohesive, but it will be damp enough to form into balls to pack into the cookie moulds. This recipe needs to be started a day ahead.
Melt shortening and butter together (or use all butter). Cool slightly. Mix flour, semolina, salt, baking powder and sugar together. Rub melted butter into dough with fingertips until it is like fine soft meal.
Cover bowl and let it rest overnight.
To make the walnut or pistachio filling - mix all ingredients together in abowl.
To make the date filling - cook dates with butter over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Mash occasionally until dates are completely pureed. Cool before filling.
Combine flower waters with 7 tablespoons water and sprinkle over the dough. Toss lightly with a fork to distribute liquid evenly. Mix until just combined, like pie dough (another person says to knead the dough well).
Dust the shaped cookie moulds well with flour. Invert and tap gently to remove excess flour. Estimate the amount of dough need to fill the mould and make a ball of dough. Flatten it out slightly and place a good tablespoon of filling in centre. Close dough around filling to cover it. Pack ball into mold. Level off cookie even with the lip of the mold. Be sure all the filling is encased or it will stick to the pan as it bakes.
Tap cookies out onto the work area with a sharp firm hit to the top of the mould. Transfer cookies to baking sheet with a spatula.
Bake at 160-165 degrees C for about 12 minutes, until barely coloured.
Cool and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.
The measures in this recipe have been changed to measurements more familiar to Australian and New Zealand cooks.
Substitute butter or margarine for vegetable shortening.
Cookie moulds can be bought at some kitchen shops but you can also use mini muffin tins to shape the Ma'mouls