Friday, April 1, 2011

Family Memories

I have 2 very different, very distinct memories of mandelbread. The first is of my grandmother teaching me how to make it. Well, actually, the memory is of the power going off just as she was about to teach me how to make it, so we went to the pool instead. Despite having a very fun day, I never did get another chance to learn how to make this traditional dessert.

The second is actually a borrowed memory from my mom and aunt. Their mother used to bake by the dozen and freeze everything so there would always be tasty treats for anyone who stopped by. (sound familiar?) When they were younger, my mom and aunt and all of their friends used to sneak the treats from the freezer, leaving only the paper cup behind. Then, when my Nana went into the freezer to get snacks for her friends, she would be out! Let's just say that she was not too happy with her daughters when this happened.

When I was flipping through Paula Shoyer's The Kosher Baker and saw her recipe for mandelbread I was overcome with both of these memories. I knew I had to finally learn how to make it on my very own. I know it is cheesy, but I love how this cookbook is helping me reconnect to my family in a way that I was never able to before.

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder (not baking soda like in the picture, close call!)
Dash of salt
1/4 cup orange juice
3 large eggs
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
10 ounces pareve semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, orange juice, eggs, oil, and vanilla.

Combine until the mixture forms a dough.

Add the chocolate chips and mix again to evenly distribute the chips.

Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log, about 10-12 inches long by 3-5 inches wide.
Flatten each loaf slightly.
Place the 2 loaves on the prepared pan, about 5 inches apart.

Bake for 35 minutes...

Or until the loaves look golden brown on top.
Slide the parchment and logs off the pan and onto the counter.

Slice each loaf crosswise into 3/4-to-1-inch thick slices.
Don't worry if the insides of the sliced cookies seem unbaked.
Place the sliced cookies on a new piece of parchment back on the pan, cut side down.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 4 minutes more.

Slide the parchment off the cookie sheet and onto a cooling rack.
Let the cookies cool and enjoy!

I decided to put some in the freezer (of course!) so I could enjoy a few right out of the freezer like my mom and aunt used to. I'm not sure which way I enjoyed eating the mandelbread more: fresh and hot out of the oven all gooey and yummy, or from the freezer, a little cooler and crisper. Both were delicious.

Thank you Paula Shoyer for another great baking experience!


  1. Oh my! I've never heard of mandel bread. It reminds me a lot of a biscotti, though. I'm going to have to make it to see which I like better--hot or cold. Thanks for the memories :-)

  2. thanks @hester. It does tastes like biscotti! Let me know how it goes :)