Thursday, May 10, 2012

Makrout - Algerien Date Cookies

I am going to jump right into this recipe, because otherwise I will spend a number of paragraphs explaining my new found, deep love for all things Algerian cooking. With five amazing meals in my stomach, my first algerian wedding under my belt, and a conviction that moving to Algeria next year is a very good idea, I have returned from my weekend with Sabrina and her family in Orléans (an hour or so south of Paris). I will be back soon. To follow are a tajine, a traditional semoule bread recipe, a roasted chicken, and of course, these cookies for you :)

My apologies if the recipes aren't exact or easily replicable. I did what I could to get good measurements, but have you ever asked your grandmother how she makes that amazing old family recipe that generations have adored? Yeah, try. She will tell you 'oh its just a pinch of this, and that and voilà.' 

These cookies are known all over the place, but according to Sabrina the Tunisians and Moroccans usually fry them, while Algerians bake them and then dip them in honey. We skipped the honey.

Cookie dough:
400g melted butter
~they actually said margarine is better, melted, and only using what rises to the top, and not the sediments
750g fine semoule 
1 large tablespoon salt
1 cup heated orange blossom water
~should be easy to find in an international market
more water as needed

Throw together the salt and the flour. Make a well in the flour and pour in the melted butter. Rub in the butter until it resembles a pile of moist sand. Pour in the heated orange blossom water and continue rubbing together. 
This will be almost more of a crust dough than a smooth bread/pasta dough. Meaning, you don't want to overwork it (making it too smooth by forming gluten bonds) or the cookies wont be flaky. 

You know its done when a handful of dough, squeezed tightly in your fist, forms a kind of ball. 

Pat the dough into a ball and set it aside for about 30 minutes.

Date filling:
1/2 kg date paste
a generous pour of olive oil
a generous 1/4c (or more?) orange blossom water
~ in the US, you'll probably have to visit an international grocery for this
1generous teaspoon of cinnamon

Work all this together like a dough until it is uniform and set aside.

To form the cookies: make hotdogs

Taking a fist sized chunk of the cookie dough at a time, roll it into a log then press into it with your fingers to form a hot dog bun shape. Roll the appropriate size of date paste into a hotdog and place it in the bun. With great finess, close up the bun and roll out the log.

There seem to be a variety of stamps available, and all kinds of dos and don'ts with shaping, but I won't pretend to know anything. These seemed really nice to me. We stamped them, cut them, and placed them on a cookie sheet. It made easily a hundred cookies...

After stamping and placing them, a small sliver of almond went perfectly in the middle, and had a surprisingly delightful taste in the finished product!

Bake at really high heat, maybe 400ºF/205ºC, but maybe much hotter. Their oven said it was 260ºC, but it didn't feel that hot to me. 15-20 minutes, juuuust until they start to brown.

Traditionally, they're dipped in and dripping with honey, but we all preferred them without.


  1. Hi, Makrout is one of m fav cookies here in Algeria, thanks for sharing our cuisine. Heni from

  2. I am an Algerian living in NYC ,I don't know why but since I came to the US my makrouts are never as good as in Algeria they crack they don't brown as they should, so seeing your sweet and good looking makrout makes me think it's possible to find the perfect combination to make them succeful here, continuing my quest

  3. Hi Hanna, i dont know where you learn your makrouts and your english ! your makrout's recipe is false. Its a shame ! you use FINE semoulina ! excuse me ! and in the directions you are talking about flour instead of semoulina !
    please, dont bull shit us, fucking around with your shit makrout recipe is a bull shit !
    i forgot , go back at school learning english Mrs Orléans from France !
    Nobody use Fine semoulina and you mess up semoulina ? Flour ? semoulina ?.... tell us more about your recipe....