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Mahmoul Recipe

You'll find various iterations of this filled cookie throughout the Middle East, where it's an absolute must-have during the holidays. This recipe comes from the Lebanese family of King Arthur baking school instructor Karen Ogrinc. Her family's nut filling recipe is in the Baker's tips below.

Note: While this recipe calls for a mahmoul mold, see "tips," at the bottom, for information on how to make the cookies without a mold.

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At a glance

46 cookies
Nutrition information


Choose your measure:



  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups chopped dates
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (grated orange rind) or orange blossom water
  • confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. To make the dough: In a large bowl, mix together the butter, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and egg. Add the vanilla, farina, and flour, and mix to make a smooth dough.
  2. To make the filling: In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.
  3. Place the dates, butter, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and orange zest (or orange blossom water) in the bowl of a food processor. With the machine running, pour in the hot sugar/water mixture and process until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment, or grease lightly.
  5. To shape: Scoop the dough by the tablespoonful and shape into balls. Scoop the filling by the teaspoonful and roll into balls.
  6. Press the portioned dough into 3" diameter disks with your fingers. Press the disk into a lightly floured mahmoul mold and place the ball of filling in the center. Bring the dough’s edges up around the filling and pinch to close. Pat the shaped cookie’s bottom a few times to set the pattern on the surface, then tip over and tap the cookie out of the mold. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1" of space between them.
  7. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
  8. Store cool and dry in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks; freeze for longer storage.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1 cookie, 34g
  • Servings Per Batch 46
Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories 142
  • Calories from Fat 81
  • Total Fat 9g
  • Saturated Fat 6g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 24mg
  • Sodium 40mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 14g
  • Dietary Fiber 0g
  • Sugars 4g
  • Protein 2g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.