Mandel Bread is an Eastern European Jewish cookie, not bread at all. It is twice-baked and is very much like its Italian cousin, Biscotti. My Grandma Bea used to make it and the chilly weather here in Chicago this past week reminded me of fall and winter days when we would sit in the house and make it together. Missing her so, I had to recreate that feeling; nostalgia was calling. The only thing is, her recipe was more like a “little bit of this and a little bit of that”! Luckily, my friend Cerise came to the rescue, sharing her grandmother’s recipe with me. I also found a wonderful recipe online and, with a few of my grandmother’s touches (“more cinnamon sugar, Cindala, she would say”), and a few of my own little tweaks (I have to add vanilla bean paste to everything), I think what you’ll find is an addictive cookie, and you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it!
Makes 10-16 slices, depending on the thickness of your slices.
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 3/4 tsp cinnamon + 3/4 tsp more for cinnamon sugar dusting
- 3 eggs
- 2 sticks melted, cooled, unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar + 2 tbs sugar for cinnamon sugar dusting
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (if you can’t find it, vanilla extract is fine)
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 bag of Ghirardelli Grand chips (larger chips; but regular semi-sweet chips are fine!)
- 3/4 cup toasted pecans or almonds (optional)
- Mix cooled melted butter with sugar (make sure the butter isn’t hot or it will “scramble” your eggs). Add eggs slowly. Mix 2 - 3 minutes. Add vanilla bean paste, and almond extract.
- Whisk all dry ingredients. Add to wet; mix until just incorporated.
- Add chips.
- Preheat oven to 350◦ degrees.
- Divide dough into 2 portions. Wrap in Saran. Chill 1 - 2 hours.
- Remove from refrigerator. Place each onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Mold into two long logs, 12” long x 2” wide x 1” tall
- Bake 25 minutes, rotating pans after 12 ½ minutes, until lightly brown.
- Cool 15 minutes on rack.
- Using a chef’s knife, slice on a diagonal. Wipe the knife in between cut.
- VERY IMPORTANT: REDUCE OVEN TEMP TO 250°
- Mix the extra cinnamon and extra sugar well. Lay each on its side on parchment with the chocolate chips exposed and dust BOTH sides of the cookie with the cinnamon sugar. If you run out, make more…do not put sugar on the top of the cookie, only the sides with the exposed chips.
- Bake another 45 minutes, rotating halfway through.
- Cool on a rack.
- Package in cello or in an airtight container and enjoy!
- It freezes well!