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Makrout el Ghars | Norh African Honeyed Date Semolina Cookies

Makrouts are considered North African delicacies since they combine all the goodness of the land; the cereals (semolina), nuts, olive oil and dates.

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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EDIT:   This is an older post that I re-posted with a few updates due to popularity and the upcoming Eid holiday.

Makrout [المقروض] (also spelled makroud, makroudh, makrood or maqrout) are delicious little losange shaped semolina cakes, filled with either of date paste. Makrouts are considered North African delicacies since they combine all the goodness of the land; the cereals (semolina), nuts, olive oil and dates.Traditionally deep fried, when properly done yield a tender yet crispy outside and a soft chewy inside. These little delights are submerged in blossom water-scented honey after frying.. Heavenly morsels for sure ... these are very rich and are usually reserved for special occasions, like for Ramadan, the Eids, weddings, and births. but one, maybe two are enough as they are very sweet and caloric!

Makrout were in the past only made at home by grandmothers, but with wide popularity, all over the world even fancy bakeries are preparing them, showing off their modern decorative skills!

This special dessert comes from the Andalusian tradition as other famously familiar North African and Middle Eastern sweets such as Khoubz el  Bey, Makrout L'asselQalb bel louz, Besboussa and Khoubz Tounis . In Andulasia cooking, they used real honey for this dessert, but nowadays Algerians make this cake a little more economical by using assila, which is a simple syrup.with a thick sugar syrup and artifical smen or ghee. I personally think using higher quality ingredients is not tastier but also better for the health. Since this is special occasion sweet, why not make it with quality ingredients. But I have included the recipe for assila, for those who would like to use that.

The dough recipe much like many Algerian sweets recipes using a measure. So that means you can use any size cup to measure out the ingredients. So if you'd like to make a small batch use a 1/2 cup measuring cup or a tea glass and if you'd like to make a regular recipe size (about 40) use a 1 cup measure - a coffee mug and if you're making this for a lare gathering use a soup bowl which is about 1 3/4 cup.

Makrout is traditionally made with medium grained semolina but you could use a fine semolina for a finer cookies or even a demi-grosse larger grain for a more rustic cookie.

For additional shaping options see the ideas in this post.

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So let's get started with the recipe.

KITCHEN TIME 🕓 ACTIVE PREP TIME : 15 min |   INACTIVE PREP TIME : overnight   |  COOK TIME : 12 min 

cookies | makes about 40-45

  Makrout el Ghars 
Makrouts are considered North African delicacies since they combine all the goodness of the land; the cereals (semolina), nuts, olive oil and dates.  


‣ 3 cups - 725 medium semolina
‣ 1 cup - 250g melted butter or real ghee, cooled 
‣ pinch of salt
‣ 2/3 cup -160ml water
‣ 3 TBS orange blossom water
‣ 3 TBS sugar
‣ 2 1/2 TBS all purpose flour

‣ 250 g - 1 cup packed, of commercial date paste (baking dates, or pitted dates)
‣ 3 TBS roughly ground almonds(optional)
‣ 1 TBS soft butter or 3/4 TBS neutral oil
‣ 2 tablespoons water of orange blossom
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
‣ generous pinch of ground cloves OR cardamom
‣ 1 TBS orange blossom water

Honey mixture:
‣ 340ml - 2 cups real honey (orange blossom, acacia etc)
‣ 3 TBS orange blossom water


"Assila" simple syrup:
‣ 2 cups - 400g sugar
‣ 1 cup - 250ml water
‣ juice of half lemon
‣ vanilla essence

‣ Oil for frying
‣ toasted sesame seeds or ground almonds for decoration (optional)

1.If you're using the assila syrup prepare that first. To prepare the syrup simple,add the water, syrup, vanilla and lemon in a heavy bottom pot to boil. Once the ingredients are boiling, reduce the heat so they reduce to a syrup.

*** If you're using honey, simply heat the honey with orange blossom water before you fry the cookies.

2. Mix the semolina, flour, salt and butter in a large bowl. The flour I have found helps bind the dough. Without the dough usually crumbs apart when cooking.I prefer good quality butter. Rub the grains of semolina between your fingers, so that all the grains are well coated with the butter/oil mixture. Continue to rub the grains between your fingers for several minutes before proceeding.

2. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside. Let it rest like this for at least 2 hours. But ideally, as I do let it rest overnight. Then work with it in the morning. The dough should be like wet oily sand in the morning.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the date paste by taking the baking dates or whole pitted dates, along with the remaining ingredients and steaming them in a couscoussier or a steamer. Steam for about 15-20 minutes. This will make the paste tender and malleable. Be careful that the dates don't get wet, or the filling will fall out as you fry them. 

After steaming, allow to cool enough, that you can safely handle it. Knead the paste into a ball then form long ropes as shown in the picture. Set on a tray, cover and leave in the fridge until you're ready to assembly the makrout.

4. After 2 hours or the next morning, slowly in batches add in the blossom water and water, until you have obtained a soft and homogenous dough. Don't knead the dough or over work it. But rather rake the semolina and mix with your finger to incorporate the liquid until a moist dough forms. It should hold its shape. If needed, add little more (few teaspoons) of orange blossom water at a time. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

5. Take the date paste logs and divide into 4, making 4 long logs. Recover until you use it.

6. Divide the dough into 4 portions. Then taking one form into a rough log, about the same length as your almond paste logs. (See photo. Create a cavity in which the filling will be placed in. Place the filling log in the center of the cavity as in the photo.If the filling has dried out little no worries, just gently sprinkle it into the cavity.

7. Cover the cavity by folding over to close the filling. Pinch the edges together tightly. shaping the dough around the filling. Pinch and set aside any extra excess dough or filling. Gently roll the logs on your work surface smoothing out the log. Cut the logs in half if it is more managable for you.

8. Cut the dough roll into equal (about 3 cm) lozenges - diamonds - diagonal pieces as above. If you like, you can press in a pattern with a cookie cutter or by using the back of your knife. This is optional. You can leave the Makrout plain without any decoration if you prefer.

⇢⇢ If you're using a makrout form (like the designs above in the collage) to decorate the Makrout, the dough should be slightly smaller than the form since you press down on the dough. The dough, once you press down on it, should about the same size as the form.

9. Reshape the cut ends to have a nice uniform look.

10. Repeat the steps until you have used all the dough.

11. Set the makrout aside to rest, for at least 20 minutes. After about 15 minutes, you can heat up a saucepan with oil - about three fingers deep. And in another pan, heat up the honey syrup. The syrup should be hot but not boiiling.

12. Test the oil with a small piece of the dough. If the oil, is hot enought, fry the makrout in small batched until goliden. Be very careful, as boiling hot oil is very dangerous! Use a slotted spoon to transfer the makrout in and out of the oil.

13. Once the markout are golden but not brown yet, remove from the oil and allow to drain the excess oil on a kitchen paper towel for a minutes.

14. Then dip or soak the makrout in the honey; allowing the honey to absorb for a few minutes. Drain. Then resoak in the honey. Drain again. And optionally garnish with sesame seeds or almonds.

For a nice presentation place each makrout in a dainty little cupcake paper holder. It also helps absorb a lot of the honey. Makrout is best eaten with hot North African style mint green tea!

    Make Ahead
    ⇝ The dessert can be easily a day or two made ahead, chilled and stored in a container if you're making it for a gathering.But remember it may dry out a bit, so you'll need to drizzle it again with honey.

    ⇝ This dessert can be stored on the countertop for 3 day, in the fridge for up to 7 days. This dessert  isn't freezable.

    ⇝ You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free cornmeal.

    ⇝ If you test one makrout in the hot oil and you find it breaks apart, then don't fear. This happens. It comes down to the quality of your semolina. Best thing, to do if this happens is just  knead in a few tablespoon of flour into your dough. Reshape and test fry one. If the dough is still crumbly simply place all your makrout on a baking sheet then bake in a 170°C - 325°F oven for about 15 minutes. Making sure the Makrout isn't burned on the bottom. Then remove from the oven, then soak in honey.

    Healthier options 
    ⇝ You can easily bake these cookies (called Makrout au Four - Makrout bel Koucha) in a 170°C  325°F oven for about 15 minutes, instead of frying them. Be sure to check them after about 10 minutes. Makrout should be lightly brown on the bottom, not dark or burnt. Too browned, the Makrout will be unpleasantly bitter when eaten.

    ⇝ You can also forego submerging the makrout in honey and lightly drizzle the honey on before serving. 

    ⇝ You can shape this into different shapes or decorate the tops in different ways using a knife, decorating tweezers or makrouts forms.

    Vegan & Vegetarian
    You can make this vegan by using oil or vegan butter instead of the animal butter. And drizzle with vegan friendly honey or the assila syrup.

     CATEGORIES: dessert, quick & easy,   RAMADAN,  eid, algerian sweet

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       ➤ This dessert would beautifully with Mint Tea or an Algiers style coffee.
      ➤ Be sure to also check out this Makrout cookie with almonds.
      ➤ To see other North African honeyed cakes, click here.
      ➤ Or get inspired at the Recipe Index.

      do you like to prepare cakes for eid? If so, tell us which ones in the comments below.


      1. Is there a variation of the recipe to prepare them baked? If so, what temperature and for how long should we bake them?

        1. Hello Sarah, Thank you for stopping by. Yes, you can easily bake these cookies in the oven at 170°C - 325°F for about 15minutes, but baking time depends on your oven. Check after about 10-12 minutes. I have edited the recipe with more info in the kitchen tips section.


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