A few weeks ago my youngest stepdaughter texted me a picture of a cookie that she was enjoying during a cozy night out. The text she sent with it was: ‘Muriel, please can you make these sometime, they are sooooo yummy!!’ Well, when she’s requesting me this, so sweet and full of enthusiasm, then of course I can not say no. As I wrote in my last blog, I was about to prepare something which has date paste incorporated. So, this date cookie is what I meant.
A date cookie is one of the most famous Moroccan cookies that exist and served a lot during the Sugar Feast (Eid al-Fitr ). They have a variety of shapes, but the most typical thing about it is that they’re generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. The main ingredient is date paste and above that there’s a diverse variation of other ingredients such as cinnamon, cardamom, Mazhar (i.e. orange blossom water) or Maward (i.e. rosewater). In addition, different elements are used as filling, such as nuts and/or seeds. Chopped almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios and sesame seeds are the most used. I have already described date paste in detail in my previous blog, so this requires no further information. In this particular recipe I used cinnamon and Mazhar as ingredients. But what exactly is Mazhar? Mazhar is orange blossom water. Orange blossom water is hot nowadays. This particular water, distilled from the leaves of orange blossom, is widely used in the Moroccan cuisine. But what can you do with it exactly? It’s originally used mainly in sweet dishes. Think of desserts, cakes, cookies and puddings, but you can also add a special twist to savory dishes with it (for example, sprinkle it on your salad one time or use it in an oriental stew). Furthermore, orange blossom water combines well with oranges, pistachios, almonds and rice. Some find it super tasty, others super gross. In case you want to try it sometime anyway, taste it first and see what you think about it. In case you don’t like it, just skip it or you could for example recplace it by marrow of 1 vanilla pod or a drop of lavender oil. In this case you’ll miss the characteristic taste of the water, but without it the cookie is also appetizing, don’t worry. If you want to use it anyway, don’t be too lavish in all your enthusiasm! The taste may quickly dominate and that would be very unfortunate. Where can I buy Mazhar? Of course at the Turkish and Moroccan and Oriental Asian stores, but nowadays they’re also available in some well-stocked supermarkets.
Surely you want to know what this cookie tastes like? First you bite in a crunchy piece of dough, then you get a piece of soft dough, then a sweet creamy date flavor mixed with cinnamon and Mazhar, and finally (in this case) sesame seeds. Indeed, my stepdaughter is absolutely right: sooooo delicious!! I’m truly grateful that she suggested this cookie to me and in gratitude for that, I will prepare a whole bunch just for her. That, she can certainly count on!