STUFFED COOKIES – Pastry stuffed with nuts and dates

                   Festivals are fun. Festivals in India are very colorful. Whats your favorite festival/holiday?

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It’s one of those festive weeks for Indians. It’s called Ganesh Pooja. The festival of THE ELEPHANT GOD.
Throughout India, people celebrate this festival.  It’s colorful, bright, with people singing,chanting, music screaming everywhere, it’s a beautiful atmosphere.
Kids dress up in their new clothes, visit family and friends. It’s a time when people unite in streets to decorate and it’s a big grand affair. 
Food. This festival is all about Food, ranging from sweets, savory and more sweets with more food.

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Keeping that in mind, I’ve created this sweet/cookie. 
A marriage between a Moon Cake and Maamoul and out comes offspring, GUJIA. There is no other way to explain this cookie.  It all comes together quite well though, you’ll see.

I love moon cakes and moon cake molds, I think it is a genius piece of equipment. I enjoy cookies from all around the world, what’s not to love, they are buttery, sweet and there’s something for everyone.  

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The coating is a shortbread kind of pastry inspired by Lebanese Ma’amoul, made of semolina flour stuffed with nuts, dates and sweetened shredded coconut.  The stuffing is almost like a laddu(Indian sweet), the coating is crispy and not too sweet.  

It is a festival season, season to give and enjoy. They are perfect to wrap up and give as gifts.

Here is my ‘mix of cultures cookie’, for my favorite festival of the year.

NOTE:- YOU do not need a mold to make these cookies, I have given some simple alternatives in my recipe method…check #7.

cookies mold Cookies steps
SHORTBREAD COOKIES STUFFED WITH NUTS AND COCONUT
Makes around 24-30 cookies

350 degrees for 30 minutes
Skill level- Easy 

Ingredients:

For the outer layer:

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2-3/4 water
1 stick or 1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 large pinch of saffron
1 tsp crushed dried rose petals

For the stuffing:

1 cup dates
1/2 cup dried figs
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tsp kewra essense(optional)
1 tsp rose water

2 tbsp cream to brush on top of the cookies before baking.

Method:

1. Take semolina in a small bowl and add water to it and let sit for at least 30 minutes.  The semolina will soak up the water completely.

2. Mix all other  dry ingredients for the outer layer.
3. The butter should be melted and has to be at room temperature before you add it to the dry ingredients.  
4. Mix well together the dry ingredients and the semolina with the butter and make a smooth dough. If the dough is too dry add a tbsp or more to make it smooth.  MAKE sure not to work the dough too much. Mix till it incorporates well and is smooth and not too dry nor very wet.
5. Leave it at room temperature covered tightly for 2 hours.
6. In a food processor add all the ingredients for the stuffing and make a coarse and solid mix.  Make sure to grind the nuts a bit fine, because when you use the mold the nuts don’t stick out.
7. Make equal portions of the outer layer and the stuffing.  I used a scale and made the outer layer portioned out 25 grams each and the stuffing 10 to 15 grams. This way you get everything similar in size and bakes evenly.  
8. Take a portion of the outer coating and flatten, make sure the center is a bit thicker than the edges.  Put the stuffing in, bring the edges together to make a round ball and use a moon cake mold to make the cookies.
ALTERNATIVELY– You can just make a ball and flatten it with your palm or press with some water glass which has some design or press with POTATO MASHER very lightly so you get the design and you also get it flattened.
8. Put it on a parchment sheet or any non stick baking sheet,brush it with some cream for the sheen and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Mine took 30 minutes.
COOL and you can store this at room temperature for up to 10 days in a air tight container.
ENJOY!!

Note: Every oven is different, so if you see the cookies are browning too quickly, please turn down the temperature a notch. 

If your feel that the design of the cookie is getting dull or not sharp before you make all the them, put the cookies in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. 

You might have left over stuffing depending on the amount you use.

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Authentic Maamoul-Find HERE with steps.(Mama Lebaneseblog)
Authentic Moon Cakes- Find it Here.(AnnCoo Journal)
Authentic Gujia – Find it Here with steps.(Jopreet’s Kitchen)

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