4 cups Semolina
1 cup Flour
1 1/2 cups Melted Crisco (Yellow Butter Flavored)
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 TBSP Yeast
3 TBSP Ground Anise Seeds
1 1/2 tsp Ground Mahlab
1 1/2 tsp Ground Mastic
3 13 oz. Packs Baking Dates
1 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3/4 cup Warm Milk (As needed)
The day before you plan on making the Maamoul prepare the semolina and oil mixture. Melt the Crisco and then measure. Allow it to come to room temperature. Measure the oil and set aside. Mix the flour and semolina. After the melted Crisco has cooled pour the melted Crisco and oil on the semolina flour mixture. Using your hands, rub the semolina flour mixture with the Crisco and oil so all the semolina is coated well. Cover and set aside for at least 24 hours.
Prepare the dates by sprinkling 1 1/2 TBSP Ground Anise, Cinnamon, Ground Nutmeg, and Olive Oil. Knead it well and measure out 0.5 tbsp balls. Place on a greased tray and set aside. Mix the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp Ground Anise, the Mahlab, and the Mastic into the semolina mixture. Set Aside.
When you are ready to work with the semolina warm the milk. I work in three batches so the whole dough doesn’t rise. Evenly split the semolina oil mixture into three. Begin working the first batch. Sprinkle 1 tsp yeast onto each 1/3 once you’re ready to knead it. Mix in well. Warm 1/3 cup of milk to about 100 degrees.
Slowly pour the milk, 1 TBSP at a time onto the semolina mixture as you rub it between your fingers to knead the dough. Once the dough begins to hold be careful with the milk. You want to add enough so the dough holds but isn’t soggy. The dough will hold quickly but will be stiff. Continue to slowlt add milk till it’s soft yet asborbed. You also don’t want it to be dry. Feel free to add more milk if needed.
Measure the dough using a small cookie scoop and line on a tray. Flatten each ball of dough into a small disc and place a ball of dates in the middle. Wrap the dough around the dates and place on the tray. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
Using a round ended wooden spoon, or your pinky finger, pierce the middle of each ball of dough all the way to the bottom.;Use your maamoul tweezers or a fork to decorate the maamoul.
Bake at 500 F for 5-8 minutes or until bottoms are browned and tops are slightly browned.
Cool completely and store in a covered container for up to 6 months.