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Macadamia Ma-amoul

The rules of my Muesli Bar Challenge series are that the Challenger must be healthy (low in sugar and saturated fat, low GI, wholegrain), based on in-season fresh produce, easy enough to be a realistic option for busy parents and kids themselves to make, and rated by my school age reviewers as no-way-going-to-be-left-in-the-lunchbox.

So many choices for a recipe for this week!

It is the turning point in the seasons – my strawberries and mulberries and pawpaws are still green but so close that a bit of warm weather will bring them on, and I haven’t yet finished with all the macadamias, oranges, mandarins, limes and tangelos that are all still just finishing their season. The cockatoos have finished off the bush lemons (which are the sweetest, much like a Meyer but hardier) but we still have plenty of Eureka lemons. What to feature?

In the end I’ve decided to go with this adaption of a traditional recipe that uses macadamias along with the date and orange combination that was so successful last week. The recipe takes more time than most of this series, but it is easy in the sense that even young kids can manage much of the making, and will probably love helping.

Traditional Lebanese cooks probably should turn away now. I have taken huge liberties with a traditional Middle Eastern sweet. These little pastry mouthfuls are tradionally a bite sized ball of sweet shortbread surrounding a date, almond, fig or pistachio filling. But for a lunch box treat, the dates and orange juice provide nearly all the sweetness needed, and macadamias make the most wonderful shortbread, smooth and buttery and melt-in-your-mouth, and they’re super healthy at the same time.

So this is a very non-traditional Ma-amoul that fits the rules of the Muesli Bar Challenge.

The Recipe:

First crack your macadamias. I’ve written before about this little tool that takes macadamias in shell from “too hard” to “seasonal staple”. Like all nuts, if you buy them fresh, in season, in shell, (or grow your own) you will be amazed how different they are to the stale, slightly rancid things you get in packets in mid-summer.

The Shortbread

You need 125 grams, or about a cup of macadamia kernels. They will blend quite easily in a food processor into a fine meal.

To the maca meal, add

  • 3 dessertspoons of cold butter,
  • 3 dessertspoons of brown sugar,
  • 2 teaspoons of finely grated orange zest, and
  • ¾ of a cup of wholemeal plain flour.

Process until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Then add cold water, a dessertspoon at a time, until you can knead it into a soft dough. Add carefully – you can’t take it out – but when you have a dough that just holds together, add another spoonful. You want a dough that is soft but not quite sticky.

Put your dough in the freezer for a few minutes while you make the filling.

The Filling

In a small saucepan, bring to the boil 100 grams (2/3 cup) of stoned dates and 100 ml of orange juice. Tip into your food processor and blend briefly till it is minced but not smooth.

Assembling

Now here’s the bit that kids will love doing.

Break off a piece of dough, large macadamia sized or slightly larger, and roll it into a ball. Push your thumb into the ball and hollow out the inside like making a little pot. (Mudpie making practice will help here). You should be able to fit a good half teaspoon or more of filling into the pot, then squeeze the top shut, roll it into a ball shape again, and roll the ball in a little raw sugar.

Put the Ma-amoul seam-side down on a greased biscuit tray and bake them in a medium oven for about 30 minutes until they are browned. Cool on the tray (they will crispen up as they cool). Store in an airtight container, but not for long, because they will disappear.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • lewie August 30, 2010, 4:01 pm

    I was given three little “maramules” with instructions that they could be eaten one per day…over three days. Somehow by 10 am two had been stolen and one was missing presumed eaten. They should be distributed slower as they are too tasty…

  • Joe Landers August 30, 2010, 4:24 pm

    I had a similar problem with the “maramules”. I thought I would just have a nibble on one at about 10 am and the next I looked, they had all disappeared completely. Maybe some kind of timer-release system could work.

  • Sue Landers August 30, 2010, 4:27 pm

    wow – i did not get three! Just a little nibble and that was enough to become addicted. Dangerous.
    I thought they were macaroons – they are good enough to be served at high-tea

  • Oak Landers August 30, 2010, 4:34 pm

    more….more……..more…. did i mention more…..
    it was great i think was the best!!!!!!!!! [apart from the passion fruit slice]loved it
    did i mention more………

  • ned August 30, 2010, 5:48 pm

    omigod omigod omigod oh my god!!!!!! your best yet i agree with every one else tried to only have one but kazam there all gone!!! i loved the outside and the date was dee-lish-ious!!!!!! gimme more! i give it 11 out of 10!!! i even copied the recipe,feel free to make that every week!!!

  • busta August 30, 2010, 8:05 pm

    tasty i liked the size good forn luch boxes

  • Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial August 31, 2010, 5:35 am

    Fascinating recipe, Linda, I’ve never made anything like this. It sounds and looks delicious, thank you!

  • Anna Johnston August 31, 2010, 12:25 pm

    This looks incredible.

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