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Shared by Léa Karsenty

North African Makroud with Dates and Semolina

Yield: Around 50 cookiesTime: 3 ½ hours

Shared by Léa Karsenty

Makroud piled atop white plate.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

North African Makroud with Dates and Semolina

Yield: Around 50 cookiesTime: 3 ½ hours

Family Journey

Figuig, MoroccoMecheria, AlgeriaOran, Algeria
Toulouse, FranceParis

Makroud are North African cookies made with a toasted semolina dough and stuffed with a date and hazelnut filling. While each component of this recipe takes time, the glossy, diamond-shaped cookies are well worth it. These cookies will keep, covered, on the counter for 2-3 days. 

Léa Karsenty’s grandmother serves these cookies at the family’s Yom Kippur break-fast meal, alongside her famous vanilla candied oranges and sweet anise mouna.


For the date and hazelnut filling:

  • 3 cups tender, pitted dates
  • 1 ¼ cups hazelnuts 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼  teaspoon kosher salt 

For the makroud dough:

  • 2 lbs. finely ground semolina flour
  • 10 tablespoons bread flour 
  • 1 cup peanut oil 
  • 1 cup + 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar 
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½  teaspoon baking powder 
  • Neutral oil, for frying 

For the honey syrup:

  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water


  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the hazelnuts in a single layer on the baking sheet. Toast until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, around 10 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Remove from the oven and wrap in a kitchen towel to steam for 1 minute. Rub nuts in the towel to remove loose skins and cool completely. Transfer to a food processor fitted with a blade and process until finely ground. Add the dates, cinnamon, and kosher salt to the food processor and process until blended into a paste. Remove from the food processor and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until needed.

  • Step 3

    Make the dough: add the semolina flour to a large frying pan over medium heat; let it toast for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl.

  • Step 4

    Add the bread flour, oil, water, ½ cup of the water, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and baking powder to the bowl and mix to combine. Knead the dough to bring it together — it needs to be moist for the baking powder to activate, but not too wet, or it will disintegrate during frying.

  • Step 5

    Add the remaining water and knead it into the dough to combine. Knead until it is soft, smooth, and easily forms a ball. Let the dough rest, covered, for 2 hours.

  • Step 6

    Remove the date paste from the fridge. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into two halves. Lightly flour each half and roll into rectangles, 15”x12” wide. If the dough cracks, gently patch it back together. Lightly flour the round of date and nut filling on both sides and roll out to 13”x10” wide. 

  • Step 7

    Gently pick up the rolled out date filling and press it into one of the rectangles of dough, using a spatula to help you remove it from the surface if it sticks. Carefully pick up the remaining half of dough and top the date paste, pressing it in all around and sealing it tightly with your hand. Trim the edges so you have a rectangle measuring approximately 12x9”. Cut into approximately 50 diamond-shaped slices.

  • Step 8

    Heat the oil in a large pot, bringing it to 350 degrees. Deep fry the cookies, in batches of 5 or 6 at a time, until lightly golden brown, around 30 seconds per side. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil; let the fried cookies cool on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

  • Step 9

    Make the honey syrup: boil the honey, sugar and water together for around 20 minutes, until bubbling and thickened. Add the orange blossom water to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and carefully, using two forks or a slotted spoon, dip each makroud in the syrup for around 30 seconds. Remove; let cool and serve.