Ma’Moul and Ka’ak Bi Ajwa- Semolina Cookies for Easter

There is a special cookie that has been around since the Egyptian Pharoahs, a cookie that carries religious significance for Christians and Muslims, a cookie that is so meaningful it is only made once a year in most Arab households. That cookie is….Ma’moul, and the date ring cookie cousin called Ka’ak bu Ajwa (also known as semolina date cookies)  


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For Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian Christians, these cookies are supposed to symbolize Jesus’s crown of thorns. I know that sounds morbid, but in my family we eat these cookies as a celebration of Jesus’s resurrection after we go vegan for the 40 days of Lent. And let me tell you after 40 days of food sacrifice, I am ready to inhale an entire bakery! Muslims also eat this cookie to celebrate their Eid al-Fitr and evenings of Ramadan as well. From start to finish, these cookies are tribal, in that they require a “tribe” of people or an assembly line put together. One mixes and rolls the dough, another seasons and rolls out the dates. Another assembles the cookies. And finally another person decorates the cookies using special molds or tweezers. The tribal traditions kick in afterwards, as most families make over 60 cookies to exchange with other families as well. The funny part is families get competitive, trying to make the best cookie in the neighborhood. Just the smell of buttery semolina and sweet dates when these cookies are baking floods my mind with incredible childhood memories. Preparing the dough and the dates is simple enough, but you can form an assembly line of helping hands to shape and decorate these cookies. My children especially love participating in making and eating these cookies just as much as I did as a child. To decorate these cookies you can use this special cookie TWEEZER  or WOODEN MOLD that you can order online. These molds are also available in Middle Eastern markets. If you don’t have a market near you, you can use a fork to make the decorative dents instead. Notice these cookies do not have sugar in the actual dough. This is not by accident. The dates are so sweet there is no need for extra sugar. Also, this is my mother’s secret to making moist cookies that last longer. If you add sugar to the dough, the sugar will crystallize, and you get a crumbly, rather than a chewy cookie. My mom shares our Palestinian family recipe in the video below–do you have any memories of this cookie? Or better yet, are you going to create your own memories with this cookie? 🙂





3 cups SEMOLINA flour

1 cup  GHEE or clarified butter (no substitutions)

1 package fast rising yeast

1 tsp sugar

½ cup warm water

1 ½ lbs DATE PASTE or pitted soft mejdool dates

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp MAHLAB (powdered cherry kernels see note)

For Walnuts:

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 tbs sugar


6 thoughts on “Ma’Moul and Ka’ak Bi Ajwa- Semolina Cookies for Easter

  1. Thank you so much for sharing! I have really been enjoying your videos and can’t wait to see more traditional recipes. I first had ma’amoul last year in Jerusalem and fell in love with them.

  2. Just made these, I’ve made some of your other recipes! SOOO GOOD ! Thank You – I’m on a intermittent fasting group on Facebook and one of the guys on it is in Syria (may they have peace soon!) But is always posting beautiful food – so every time I see something, I check out how to make it and so far you’ve been my go to 🙂 so thank you sharing – Also I love when your mom and brother are cooking with you! Blessings to you and your family

  3. Seeing you and your mom in the kitchen brings so many memories with my mom. I loved watching you both. Thank you.

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