• Yehudit Weiss. Photo: Courtesy of the Family.
    Yehudit Weiss. Photo: Courtesy of the Family.
  • Yehudit Weiss' Ma'amoul, by Adi Shilon. Photo: Adi Shilon.
    Yehudit Weiss' Ma'amoul, by Adi Shilon. Photo: Adi Shilon.
Recipe

Yehudit Weiss’ Favorite Ma’amoul Cookies

Their favorite dish: Ma'amoul were the staple cookies of Yehudit Weiss, she made them every week. Adi Shilon makes date filled ma'amoul in her memory

Yehudit met Shmuel at the Nahal Corps at Kibbutz Gilgal, the two fell head over heels for each other and that love paved the road they walked together for 45 years. They lived in Kibbutz Be’eri for 32 years – 32 beautiful years of raising family, volunteering, helping their community and adopting foreign workers and soldiers who came to the kibbutz.

Yehudit got excited when her grandchildren visit or when reading a good romance novel. She enjoyed listening to music and tried to make all of her son’s, Daniel Weiss, performances. Yehudit was addicted to documentaries, loved traveling the world with her friends, enjoyed day trips in Israel, spending time sitting in coffee shops with her girlfriends, going to interesting lectures, and adored attending performances with Shmulik at both Habima and the Cameri theaters, where they had a membership.

Yehudit was the glue of the family, the one who connected and brought everyone together. At 65 years old, she was an active and dominant grandmother; the kind of grandma who scheduled quality time with her grandchildren, had endless patience, baked with them, enjoyed time at the park with them and created memorable moments for them. Nothing beats Savta Yehudit’s Ma’amoul cookies. Filled with chocolate, dates, halva, peanut butter or nuts, Savta Yehudit would pack your favorite ma’amoul in a box with a personalized note, especially for you, straight from her heart.

To know Yehudit was to know she was the woman that every family member or friend called upon in time of need, trusted blindly and wanted to include in the unfolding of their lives.

On October 7th Yehudit Weiss was kidnapped from her home in Kibbutz Be’eri by Hamas, she was murdered while in captivity. Her husband Shmulik was murdered on October 7th. May their memory live on through the spirit, strength, passion and love of their children, grandchildren, friends and those whose lives they touched with their magic.

Ingredients for Ma'amoul cookies

For the dough:

  • 11.5 oz (325 grams) semolina
  • 9.5 oz (270 grams) white flour
  • 1.6 oz (45 grams) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) cinnamon
  • 7.75 oz (220 grams) butter melted
  • 2.1 oz (60 grams) milk
  • 1 capful rosewater or citrus blossom water

For the filling:

  • 1.1 lbs (500 grams) Dates cleaned and pitted
  • 1.4 oz (40 grams) butter melted
  • 1 capful rosewater
  • 2 tablespoons Sesame seeds

To garnish:

  • confectioner's sugar

Instructions

  • 1. In a large bowl, mix the semolina, flour, powdered sugar, milk and baking powder. Add the melted butter and mix well until it looks like couscous.

  • 2. Add the milk and rose water and form the dough into a ball. The dough should come together easily and be smooth and not sticky. Add flour/milk as needed. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter for an hour.

  • 3. In a food processor, grind all the ingredients for the filling until well combined. Divide into 30 equal balls and place in the fridge until ready to use.

  • 4. Divide the dough into 30 equal balls. Flatten each ball well between the palms of your hands, as thin as possible, place a ball of the filling in the center and wrap the dough around it. The filling should be completely covered. Shape the balls using a mold if you have one, or pliers, or a fork. Put the completed ma'amoul in the freezer for at least an hour.

  • 5. Heat the oven to 355F (180C) degrees on fan/turbo/convection setting and bake for about fifteen minutes, until it starts to turn golden. We don't want browning here. Cool slightly, dust with a generous amount of powdered sugar and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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This recipe is part of Adi Shilon’s “Their Favorite Dish” project, which tells the story of 60 abductees through the recreation of their favorite recipe for a pastry or dessert. For all the details and additional recipes in the project.

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