Do you know what these are? I had no idea when they caught my eye last Saturday at my favorite Middle Eastern Bakery & Deli. As soon as I saw these beautifully patterned cookies, I knew I wanted to bring them home with me, even before I really knew what they were.
The delightful shop owners explained that they are Maamoul – rich shortbread like semolina cookies filled with date paste – popular in Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East. Now, these cookies really had my attention, because I love shortbread, semolina, and dates.
Did I stop to consider the PointsPlus value of these date cookies? Absolutely not. I just thought they would be a delicious accompaniment to the yogurt panna cotta with honey oranges with 4 PointsPlus value I was planning to make.
Cookies are so small, one or two usually can’t get you into too much trouble.
I’ve discovered through they years that sticking with the Weight Watchers plan means knowing – or finding out when you don’t know – the PointsPlus values of the foods you are eating so you can account for them. It’s like knowing the cost of something before you buy it, so you can decide whether you can afford it or not.
Fortunately, figuring out the PointsPlus values of foods is usually pretty easy. A quick Google search brought me to a Washington Post recipe for maamoul with nutrition information. Plugging the nutritional values into my Weight Watchers PointsPlus calculator on e-tools, revealed that that particular mamoul cookie recipe has 3 PointsPlus value. Further research on a few other sites suggested that the PointsPlus value was probably somewhere between 3 and 5.
Knowing this allowed me to track, with relative accuracy, the PointsPlus value of the delicious, crumbly, sweet, date filled cookie I enjoyed Easter Sunday. It was perfect with the panna cotta!
While the realities of the PointsPlus values of some of my favorite foods isn’t always pretty, it’s necessary to know, for the Program to work. (Just like tracking my spending is necessary for my finances to work.)
Ignorance isn’t bliss. Look before you leap. Know the PointsPlus value before you eat.
Want to know a little more about mamoul? If you’re like me – forever curious about food and culture – here are some interesting links.
More About Mamoul Lebanese Semolina Date Cookies:
Here’s a great video by Lebanese Chef Kamal demonstrating how to make these Lebanese date cookies:
And a beautiful comprehensive photo-filled post on making maamoul from Bethany at Dirty Kitchen Secrets. And a delicious looking recipe for maamoul with instructions for shaping them by hand and decorating them with a fork so you don’t need the molds typically called for (Food.com).