~*Maamoul I love You, I love You Not ..

Springtime scents… Shortbread pastries filled with almonds, walnuts, pistachios and dates baking in the oven … One bite and the experience of involuntary memory causes me to experience childhood time spent during this festive period in a flood of memories: candles for Palm Sunday, a new dress for the holy day, family reunion, lots of eggs and tons of maamoul…

Renoir painting - Le dejeuner des canotiers

Many of you might also recall the maamoul experience and remember the load of calories consumed during Easter ….

You might reconsider the number of pieces that you would eat this year or simply ask Your dietitian about a healthier alternative… For You and everyone else, I have thought about lighter maamoul versions… They might not be the tastiest maamoul ever but the healthiest for sure!

Maamoul I love you Not…

The regular maamoul recipe contains semolina, farina or (flour “ferkha”), butter, sugar powder, orange blossom water and rose water.

The problem with this regular recipe is the amount of butter used that is first of all highly caloric, secondly rich in saturated fats and finally rich in cholesterol.

Studies have shown that saturated fats increase the blood cholesterol levels more than cholesterol itself does.And thus, consuming foods that are rich in both cholesterol and saturated fats would increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

As a substitute to butter, i thought about using Labneh light and apple sauce.

By comparing 500g of Labneh light to 500g of butter I realized how big the difference is in terms of calories, fats and cholesterol!

Labneh light (500g): Calories 470, Fat 10g, Saturated Fats 5g, Cholesterol 25mg

Butter(500g): Calories 3585, Fat 405g, Saturated fats 51g, Cholesterol 215mg


Recipe engineering:

The equation is very simple; I usually use 500g of semolina, 500g of flour ferkha and 500g of butter with orange blossom water, rose water and two large spoons of sugar powder. In the recipes that i created i simply replaced those 500g of butter with either 500g of Labneh light or apple sauce!

Dough Ingredients: (Makes around 60 pieces)

500g Semolina

500g farina (flour ferkha)

500g labneh light

2 large spoons sugar powder

1/2 cup orange blossom water

1/2 cup rose water

Dough Ingredients:(Makes around 60 pieces)

500g Semolina

500g farina (flour ferkha)

500g apple sauce

2 large spoons sugar powder

1/2 cup orange blossom water

1/2 cup rose water

Method of preparation:

1) Mix the semolina, farina, labneh and sugar.

2)Add the orange blossom water and rose water  a tablespoon at a time, kneading and working it into a soft sticky dough.

3)Cover the dough and let it sit 4 hours.

4)Process each filling separately in a blender.

5)Flatten the dough and place it into the mold and fill it with a teaspoon of one of the filling mixtures. Bring the edges together and seal well.Spray a baking tray with cooking spray and bake in a preheated oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes.

The filling:

200g almonds

70g sugar

2 tbsp orange blossom water

2 tbsp rose water

The filling:

200g walnuts

70g sugar

2 tbsp orange blossom water

2 tbsp rose water

The filling:

200g pistachios

70g sugar

2 tbsp orange blossom water

2 tbsp rose water

As discussed and displayed this morning during my live segment on OTV:

OTV  - Eat Like Nicole

Maamoul I love You…

Because your fillings are made of walnuts and almonds that are rich in monounsaturated fats that help raise the good cholesterol levels known as HDL and hold many other benefits…


-Contain 9 essential nutrients

-Have the highest rate of proteins when compared to other nuts

-Have the highest rate of fiber (3.5g per 23 pieces) when compared to other nuts

-Contain Riboflavin, Magnesium, Potassium, Niacin, Copper, Zinc, Calcium

-Are rich in Vitamin E (23 pieces provide 35% of the Daily Value of Vitamin E)


A famous Russian proverb states that: “A dog, a wife and a walnut tree: the more you beat them, the better they be”!I would simply apply the last part of it, stating that the better you beat a walnut tree the better walnuts would be .. Just make sure not to dream about walnuts as it implies unfaithfulness in relationships… The last cute fact about walnuts recalls Michelangelo that used walnut oil while painting the Sistine Chapel…

Back to scientific and nutrition facts; Walnuts have the highest Omega3 content when compared to other nuts! 14 pieces of walnuts provide 90% of the Daily recommended intake of Omega3.

They are also rich in proteins, fiber and contain magnesium, phosphorus and Vitamin E.

Maamoul I love You, I love You not … Whether you decide to try those light recipes or to stick to the classical recipe I would only like to wish you ahead of time a Happy Easter and remind you to enjoy everything in Moderation as it is the best key to a happy and long life!

Dietitian Nicole Maftoum

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