3/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (I used chopped, dates I bought at Walmart. Amport Foods brand)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon superfine (caster) sugar
3 2/3 cups flour
1 1/3 cups unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar (powdered sugar)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup milk
To make the date filling, blanch the dates in boiling water, then quickly immerse in cold water to loosen their skins. Peel and pit the dates, then put them in a saucepan with the water and sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook over a low heat, stirring continuously, until the dates soften and melt to a smooth, sticky mass. Remove from the heat and when cool blitz to a smooth paste with an electric hand-blender. (I used our Vita-Mix instead and it worked fine.)
To make the cookie dough, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter (I cut it in slices) and rub in with your fingers until it's the consistency of fine crumbs. Add the icing sugar and mix in well. Make a well in the center of the dough and add the oil and milk, then work in until you have a smooth dough.
Dust your work surface with flour. Divide the dough into 2 portions and shape each into a ball. I then put the dough in cling wrap and refrigerated for about 10 minutes while I prepared the cookie mould. Grease your Ma'amoul mold generously with coconut oil.
Take out the cookie dough and shape a small piece of dough and flatten it into the mould.
Use a spoon to put some date mixture inside the dough. Then put another piece of flattened cookie dough on top. Press the edges of the cookie dough together with your fingers.
Tap the mold until the cookie falls out and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 325'F for 10 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 275'F and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks. The cookies should not color, but remain pale and delicate.
They turned out light and flaky with a nice sweet filling. Happy baking!
Here is another recipe for Ma'amoul, with lovely photos too.