It’s the time of year when the hearts are filled with love and joy. Diwali brings a lot of happiness along with it. It is when you get along with all your loved ones, your family and friends. Lighting diyas on Diwali has a warm feeling attached to it. It just symbolizes hope for me. In these times of distrust and sorrows of a mean world outside, a small lighting diya or candle uplifts your spirit and makes you believe in yourself. This being an auspicious time, I don’t want to drag about the serious subject. Because I believe the hope this beautiful festival brings is eternal.
I so love this time of year. Everything is amazingly beautiful and festive. The food, the people and the surroundings. You just happen to love everything about Diwali. You get to eat a lot of sweets and dry fruits and a plenty of rich Indian food, eventually making your tummy happy as well. Every year, I think of planning and starting in advance. But I fall prey to the rush of the last moment. Like every other time, this year I had thought of making Baklava from scratch for Diwali, which I obviously couldn’t make due to some last minute thoughts. And I didn’t have enough time to roll the thin layers of phyllo from scratch and I didn’t want to buy it from market either.
Like every other Indian family, Diwali also means consumption of lot of dry fruits for us as well. Now, when I couldn’t make Baklava, I thought of making these dry fruits and nut filled eggless cookies called Ma’amoul from one of my favorite cookbooks author Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. Oh! I so loved these cookies! They are buttery, rich, filled with mixture of dry fruits and very gently sweet. One bite of these and you’ll too sure fall in love.
Traditionally, these are made with filling of dates. But, I filled these kind of shortbread cookies with a medley of nuts and dates. Walnuts, cashews, pistachios, dates, orange rind and a generous handful of rose petals adorn the inside of these cookies. Lovely, rich and fragrant flavors! A true epitome of this festive season!
- 350 gm semolina
- 40 gm plain flour
- 40 gm caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 150 gm unsalted butter, cut into cuber
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tsp rose water
- 50 gm walnuts
- 50 gm pistachios
- 100 gm cashews
- 45 gm dates, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup edible dry rose petals
- 1 tsp vanilla powder
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp orange rind
- Put the flour, semolina, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir together. Add the butter and work with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Add the water and rose water and mix to make into a ball. Knead the dough to make it completely smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover with damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes.
- To make nuts filling, place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse quickly to until you get a uniform coarse paste.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degree C. Line two baking sheets and keep aside.
- To mould the cookies, remove walnut sized pieces of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten each ball in the cup of your hands and lift the edges to shape it like a little pot.
- Fill the pastry with heaped tablespoon of the filling. Pinch the edges over the filling so that the pastry pot is sealed and then roll into a ball again. Flatten the ball between the palms of your hands and then place on the baking sheet. Repeat the process of moulding the cookies, until all the dough and the filling is used. You may wish to give it a design by gently pressing the top of the cookies with a fork twines or using a cookies design plunger.
- Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes until cookies are very lightly golden on the edges. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to five days.