Grandma Margie's Mandel Bread (Mandelbrot)

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My grandmother was a phenomenal baker. I mean, she really knew how to throw down in the kitchen. The best part about baking with her, was getting to eat everything she made, and make beautiful memories together. Every year around the holidays, we would bake at least a dozen different varieties of cookies to give to friends, family, and neighbors. It was such a sweet tradition and I miss it everyday. Sadly, she passed away in 2009 from cancer, and not a day goes by where I don't think of how much of an impact she had on me. Because of watching her in the kitchen, I embody that passion and that love of cooking and baking the way she did. Needless to say, this mandel bread recipe is hers, and I am so humbled to be sharing it with all of you.

Mandel bread, aka Mandelbrot, is an Ashkenazi Jewish cookie recipe that goes back to the early 19th century. It very closely resembles an Italian biscotti, but it's not as quite as dry or crumbly. Mandel bread is made with all of the essential ingredients such as butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, eggs, and traditional mix ins such as chocolate chips or sliced almonds. I'm more of a fan of the chocolate chip type, so that's what I made. Jewish baking traditions are rich with history, and this recipe always brings back beautiful memories. What I love about this recipe too, is that it is so easy to follow, and I didn't have to think of it! I followed my grandmother's recipe written on a years old recipe card, you know the kind with old stains and worn edges. This is what makes this recipe so special for me, using a recipe on a recipe card that is literally decades old. It gives me goosebumps, and makes my stomach growl simultaneously.

Mandel Bread Ingredients:

  • Butter: what all good cookie recipes need, buttah.
  • Flour: we use 384g of all purpose flour (or for those using US measurements, approximately 3 cups). We'll also be dividing the batter into two loaves, so we need all the flour!
  • Sugar: sugar always makes everything better.
  • Eggs: the binding agent
  • Baking powder: gives the mandel bread it's domed rise as it bakes
  • Chocolate chips: I love a chocolate chip mandel bread, but really you could incorporate any type of mix in you want.
  • Vanilla extract: amplifies the overall flavor.

Mandel Bread Tips:

  • This recipe makes two rather large loaves of mandel bread, so you can actually store one in saran wrap and in a ziploc bag, place in the freezer, and defrost for another day.
  • Don't worry about getting the loaf perfectly in the oven, it'll rise fine even if the shape is a little wonky.
  • Do NOT flip out when you see the entire thing start to bake in the oven, it'll initially appear as though the mandel bread is going to spread apart. The amount of baking powder in the recipe will keep it from spreading too much and it'll rise beautifully. TRUST ME!

When you make this recipe, you will instantly feel the kind of love and labor that goes into making this cookie. It's not much, but this mandel bread is absolutely delicious, and paired with a cup of coffee in the morning, or a schmear on a bagel, it's perfection. I know my grandmother is grinning from ear to ear with my bragging of her baking, making this recipe blog post even more meaningful. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

Grandma Margie's Mandel Bread (Mandelbrot)

Nothing is as special as is baking a family recipe. This Mandelbread (Mandelbrot) is a classic Ashkenazi Jewish cookie often compared to a biscotti, and tastes absolutely delicious. Buttery and rich, this recipe will bring you all of the nostalgia, and make you feel right at home.

Author:
Morgan

Ingredients

  • 6oz butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 384g all purpose flour (approx 3 cups)
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 pkg chocolate chips
  • 1 cup almonds, sliced (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375º and line a baking sheet with parchment
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add in the eggs one at a time and whisk.
  • Pour in the vanilla and whisk to combine.
  • Pour in the flour, baking soda, and salt and fold in to combine until the flour is just incorporated.
  • To the batter, fold in the chocolate chips and almonds (optional).
  • Form the dough into a large ball. Add a little extra flour to the surface of the ball so it does not become tacky or stick.
  • Divide the dough into two even balls and shape into two loaves on the baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Let cool before slicing.

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