Berber, Moroccan, Jewish Mona Recipe
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
This recipe has been passed down in my family for #generations.
No one seems to know exactly how old it is, or what it's origin is- but Monas are downright delicious, and they were a childhood favorite of mine.
I'm continuing the tradition by making these for my crazy little bunch!
I've searched for similar recipes but I haven't been able to find anything else quite like it.
As best I can tell from what I've pieced together, the recipe is either originally Berber (from the Moroccan Atlas Mountain region) or Jewish.
Apparently the Berber and the Jews have been living in the Atlas Mountains harmoniously for over 5,000 years, so who came up with the recipe first is anyone's guess. My Jewish grandmother on my father's side passed this recipe down to my mother, who has passed it down to us. How much further back it may go I couldn't say!
So.... what is a Mona?!?
My best attempt at a description goes something like this: it's a sweet, thick dessert- similar in consistency to a bread. It's rolled (picture like a cinnamon roll) and you can stuff it with all kinds of goodies. My favorites are crushed nuts mixed with a little sugar and chocolate chips! YUM!!!! These would totally be amazing with dried fruits or other sweet treats rolled in as well. I rarely make them because they are time consuming (they need to rise overnight), but they make an amazing breakfast, snack or dessert!
Without further ado- here's the recipe!
If you make it- let me know below!!
AND if you have a similar recipe in your family I would LOVE to know what the origin is and compare notes with you!
2 cups sugar
2 cups oil (I use olive oil)
3 envelopes yeast
2 lemon peels grated OR 15 drops ingestible Lemon Essential Oil
10 cups + flour (I like to use a 50:50 ratio of almond flour and wheat flour)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup of warm water
Semi sweet chocolate chips, crushed nuts with sugar, or any other fillings
1.) Dissolve yeast in bowl of warm water with 1 tbs of sugar and set aside to foam for about 15 minutes.
2.) Put all other ingredients in a large bowl and mix lightly.
3.) Add yeast.
4.) Work with a wooden spoon. Add more flour if necessary- just enough to create a very soft dough.
5.) Knead over a floured surface for about 10 minutes.
6.) Place in a clean bowl and cover with a cloth.
7.) Allow to rise at least 10 hours or overnight. Your dough should roughly double in size.
Dough seems to rise best in warm climates so if you are making this in the winter I usually suggest that you place it in your oven or somewhere else away from cold drafts.
Just don't forget it's there and turn your oven on!!
8.) Remove small amounts of dough and roll them out so they form a long snake. Flatten the roll and add in your chocolate, nuts and whatever else you like!
9.) Starting at one end roll your Mona like a pinwheel and use a dab of water to help the end stick. Your completed Mona should be approximately 3-4" across in diameter.
10.) Place on a greased cookie sheet, cover with a clean cloth, and allow to rise a second time for about 1 hour.
11.) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Yield: approximately 24