Makroud (Sugarless~Gluten free Moroccan Semolina-Date Cookies)

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Makroud a.k.a Makrout is a North African pastry eaten in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and in some parts of Libya. The dough is made mainly of semolina, not flour, which gives the pastry a very specific texture and flavor. Traditionally, Makroud is composed of a dough made of semolina that is most commonly filled with dates but also figs or almonds. Of course, there are various recipes: some are baked or fried in oil, while others contain almonds or sesame seeds. In any case, the classic recipe remains pretty much the same everywhere. It is then rolled and cut in diamond shapes. The pastry is then dipped in a honey syrup made from sugar and lemon or orange blossom water.
 
Makes: 30-40 cookies
Author:Parinaaz Marolia(A Dollop of that)
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups (250g) fine or medium semolina
  • 1/3 cup (70g) softened butter
  • 2 tbsp rose water OR orange flower water if available.
  • 250 gms date paste (See Step 2)
  • 50 gms pistachio nuts.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Honey

Method:

Step 1: Making the dough 
  • Place the semolina in a large dish and using the tips of your fingers, mix it with the softened butter until each grain of semolina is well coated
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  • Add a little bit of the rose or orange blossom water to the semolina and mix well until you get a soft dough
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  • Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour
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Step 2: Making the date filling
  • Steam pitted (wet) dates in a colander over boiling water for 20 mins.
  • Once cool make a puree of the same in the chutney grinder of your blender, add a little water if required.
  • Add in cinnamon powder.
  • The paste must resemble 'play doh'' any softer and it will keep oozing out at the time of filling the cookies.
  • Add in chopped pistachios or any chopped nuts of your choice, and mix well.
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  • The filling is ready! Divide the date paste into 2 portions.
  • Oil your hands and roll each portion into a log about the thickness of your finger
Step 3: Shaping the MakroudTake half of the dough, and shape it into a log as long as the date paste log.
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- Flatten the dough and insert the date paste log in the center - Pinch the dough around the date paste, then roll the entire log a few times on your workstation to seal it completely - Slice the log with diagonal cuts into bite size chunks
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Step 4: Baking the makroud 
  • Transfer the makroud on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 360 F / 180 C for 30-40 minutes or until the makroud have a beautiful deep golden brown color.
  • As soon as your remove the makroud from the oven, dip in a thick mix of honey, water and rose water (or orange flower water if using.)
 
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  • Let the makroud cool down for several hours before serving them.
 
NOTE:A must mention here is that since these cookies are made of coarse semolina, the dough needs to absorb the liquid ingredients to become pliable, hence resting time is imperative.
 
Ingredients :
  • Minced chicken  - 450 gm
  • Plain whole milk Greek Yogurt  - 1/2 cup
  • Olive oil  - 4  tablespoons
  • Paprika powder  - 2 teaspoons
  • Cumin powder  - 1 teaspoon
  • Crushed red pepper flakes  - 1teaspoon
  • Zest of lemon  - 1 no
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper-  1 teaspoon
  • Garlic cloves minced-  5 no
  • Master sauce - 2 teaspoons 
  • Wooden  skewers  - 4 pieces
Instructions:
  • In a mixing jar combine the  yogurts , 2 tablespoons of  Olive oil  , paprika powder  , cumin powder , red pepper flakes  , salt , master sauce  , peppers and  garlic mix well and make a  smooth paste .
  • In a mixing bowl add chicken keema and   blended  paste and lemon zest mix well.
  • Keep a bowl of  water ready by the side . Wet the hand , take some mixture into the hand , fold  palm and keep pressing  the kebabs on to the skewers.  If needed dip into the  fingers  in that water and keeping  the chicken kebabs on to the skewers till they are  at least 5 - 6 inches long and thinly hugging the  skewers.
  • Grease a  heavy bottom pan with the oil . Place kebabs in the  pan , apply oil brush on top and  cover the lid , medium low flame  .
  • Turning  occasionally cook the chicken kebabs for 10  - 15 minutes or till they are brown from all the  sides .
  • Drizzle some lemon juice  on kebabs and serve with fresh hot salad.
  • Enjoyyyyy .....

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