Lebanese Ma’moul Molds
It seemed as though in recent years there wasn’t a ma’moul mold to be found anywhere around here. Granted, ma’moul has never been as prominent on our holiday cookie plate as it could have been, but still, the molds are traditional Lebanese and special. Even if we weren’t making the cookies that often, we did have molds.
I’m blaming their disappearance on the move. My mother is blaming their disappearance . . . on me. All suspicion was cast in my direction when I pulled out a bag of no fewer than 10 molds to make ma’moul for you the other day. That’s where they’ve all gone, she said, as though it’s been my guarded secret to hold her ma’moul molds hostage in a green plastic bag in her basement.
In fact, I started collecting the beautiful, uniquely shaped wooden forms last year when I went to Lebanon. When we were down to the last few hours of our visit and I still had no molds, our driver (you have to have one there) screeched down a narrow street in some kind of market that I couldn’t believe he hadn’t taken us to yet, and blocked honking traffic while I ran into a shop and bought several.
Then I was talking ma’moul with Aunt Louise earlier this year and she reached into her basement refrigerator (she keeps them chilled!) and pulled out an unbelievable bag filled with molds, some of which had been my Aunt Hilda’s. Hilda was the ma’moul baker in the family, and Louise was her best friend, so it was fitting Louise saved the molds when Hilda passed away. Louise marked Hilda’s with a heart and an “H” so she’d know them. She put several in another bag and gave them to me. How special is that?!
So my trove was not built on ma’moul molds of my mother’s that I silently and illicitly hoarded. I have no idea where those are, and since we didn’t mark them with hearts or initials, she’s pretty sure I have no proof that most of mine aren’t actually hers. So that’s that.
Oh—to the point, you want to know what ma’moul molds are? These carved wooden, hand-held molds are for shaping and forming stuffed Lebanese butter cookies. There are all kinds of designs and sizes which are meant to indicate the different types of fillings. Walnuts, pistachios, dates—that’s what you’ll find tucked inside an incredibly tender, meltingly good butter crust snowed over with confectioner’s sugar.
Find the ma’moul recipe here.
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These look just like Chinese mooncake molds!
Sounds like the same discussions we all have about who has what out of moms kitchen. Very nice post. Yes there is nothing more special than a mold passed down from one to another and put to good use. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you cousin–God rest Aunt Sarah.
Check out this etsy seller for organic, hand-made maa moul.
PS – Maureen, would you be willing to share your family recipe for ma’amoul? (So many different spellings online!) I found this informative video w/a recipe for how to make them: https://www.dedemed.com/mediterranean/maamoul-recipe-maamoul
Thank you so much for sharing your heart and soul and all they embrace when you write about food.
Yes Wendy, ma’moul recipe is coming up shortly!
How long have I been Lebanese? “50-something years” and I never knew there was such a thing as M’amoul molds! That’s because our “Aunt Laura,” (said with a heavy Arabic accent – like she spoke) was the M’amoul maker in our family. She never shared that little tidbit. No one was allowed in the kitchen when she was baking. She simply presented beautiful tins of freshly-baked date-filled M’moul on special ocassions. It never occured to me to ask how she got them into perfectly “molded” shapes.
That is just hilarious Mimi! And special.
Thank you, Maureen. Reading you is always a pleasure.
Your post made me realize that I need to buy a new set of molds! The wood in my old molds has gotten kind of frayed, or tattered, so the ma’amoul will stick to the inside of the mold and just won’t come out. It is so frustrating!
Last year I almost unwillingly or accidentally bought some plastic molds, back in Lebanon. It was not Easter nor ma’amoul season, so wooden molds weren’t readily available at the supermarket. All they had left were plastic molds. One single mold has different and strange shapes for ma’amoul that I’m not familiar with, and they’re not as pretty as the wooden ones, but they will unmold the ma’amoul easily.
I would really like to find a nice, traditional wooden set that will actually work. Thanks for your advise on where to buy them. The links are most appreciated!
Carlos, have you tried lining the mold lightly with cornstarch or powdered sugar, or a mixture of, before filling? It really facillitates the release with Chinese mooncake molds, assuming that the damage you describe is not too far gone.
My mom lines the mold with plastic wrap, the thin film allows the design to show and prevent the ma’moul from sticking. But you have to press well.
PS I am interested on how to freeze the ma’moul. Before baking?
Hi Jamil–great tip, thank you! I would freeze them unbaked on sheet pans, then once frozen gather them up into an airtight container and freeze that way, so that they are solid before they’re packed together.
Thank you Susan, Jamil and Maureen. It is so great to be able to read your stories and learn from your tips. It motivates me to cook more and enjoy Lebanese food even more. Happy holidays!
I really hope to see the cookies and recipe soon❤️
Maureen, I NEVER EVER knew this–never heard of ma’moul molds–my Grandmother Nassir, born in Lebanon, made perfect ma’moul for every New Year’s—each one of every batch was perfect and every year’s batch looked just like every one of the previous years! I marveled at this–makes me smile just to think of it–thank you for sharing our grandmothers’ and aunts’ secret with us!!!
Love this….especially our Lebanese friends and family that kept the molds a secret from the rest of their family…what a hoot!! I have two molds just like the two on the right of your first picture. .
Love that u have soooo many. Because mine r like yours, does that mean mine will taste like yours??
Love the story!! Excited to see the recipe and pictures soon.
I’m so excited about making ma’moul mold cookies. Do you have any suggestions for sources for buying the molds? I didn’t have much luck with the links in your article about the cookies, probably because they are old links. Thanks.
Good morning, can you recommend where to purchase ma’amoul molds (or when they will be available through Maureen Abood Market)? The ones I did find online are very rough and splintered, and I’m afraid the dough will stick and not turn out properly.
What a delightful site. I’ve been using Great recipes from “The Art of Syrian Cookery” by Helen Coury and gifted her cookbook to my daughters and friends. Everything always turned out perfect. Now it looks like I’ve found a new one in Maureen Abood’s book I’ve enjoyed reading the posts, many chuckles.
Our foods are really the greatest! I thank God for my rich heritage.
Now that’s an honor, as we all grew up on Helen Coury too! We are blessed with our Lebanese legacy, absolutely. Thank you Anita!
wow… so glad I found this site. Love it. My family is Haddad from Beirut Lebanon. my grandmother taught me how to cook almost all the lebanese dishes. I just made some Sambusiks. I was asking where to find the Ma’moul wooden domes? I knew of these but never owned. My husband does anything ‘wood’ and he can even make these if I had some kind of measurements? just inquiring. Thank you for your help.
Marian, good domes are difficult to find. I try to offer them at Maureen Abood Market.com but am still working on presenting an excellent mold. If your husband can make yours, that would be incredible! The carved mold indent is about 2 ¼ inches diameter and about 1 ½ to 2 inches deep. The depth is key and only the very old molds have this depth. Length of the mold is 7-8 inches, with about 3-4 inches of that as handle.