This year I wanted to come up with a healthier holiday cookie that doesn’t necessarily taste healthy. Something that I could serve to my family for dessert along with tea and coffee at one of my parents’ family dinners and have people be satisfied with dessert – not left wanting something else.
I’ve been in the mood for Ma’amoul, which are Middle Eastern filled cookies. Perhaps the most common filling for these cookies is dates, but my mother-in-law also makes versions with walnuts and pistachios. For the walnut, she makes two different flavors: 1) cinnamon and 2) rose and orange blossom water-scented. The cinnamon-walnut are my favorite (even rivaling the date-filled for me).
I wanted to come up with a remake of that classic, with a few of my own touches. For starters, I made them into turnovers instead of cookies…and these turnovers are itty-bitty, just about the cutest little cookies ever. I made them a little healthier by using whole wheat pastry flour (instead of all-purpose flour), and using maple syrup instead of simple syrup as the sweetener. (I love how well maple pairs with walnut and warm spices!) And the filling isn’t overly sweet – there’s only 6 tablespoons of maple syrup in the whole batch! (But take note, for those who like things a little sweeter, feel free to roll the cookies in powdered sugar once they’re baked and cooled. It makes for a very pretty presentation too!)
The dough I used to make these cookies is actually my pastry crust recipe (that I use to make both sweet and savory pies), which is just about the flakiest crust a girl can hope for. It has perfect texture, crisp and flaky on the outside and tender inside, and a rich, buttery flavor.
These cookies are dry and crumbly, perfect for enjoying with coffee, tea, or your hot beverage of choice (mulled apple cider works well too). They were a hit with my family, and a few people mentioned that they taste like little Baklava cookies! I’ll take it. :)
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