Mandel Bread

Mandel bread is the most basic of Jewish cookies, and has always been a staple on our holiday cookie platter. They look like biscotti, but are as delicate and crumbly as a butter cookie. Crisp, browned, and crunchy, these cookies are not for soft-cookie lovers. The secret is that they are baked three times, slicing and rotating the cookies for even browning. For my husband, who happens to be a soft-cookie lover, I take out  some of the ends (which we lovingly refer to as the mandel butts) after the first bake so he can enjoy the goodness. Traditionally made with almonds (mandel=almond), feel free to substitute your favorite nut, to add mini chocolate chips or chopped, dried fruit.

 

Ingredients

  • ½ lb butter
  • 2 Tbs. Crisco
    (optional)*
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • ½ c. chopped pecans
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips
    (optional)

Directions

  1. Cream butter, Crisco and sugar.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla, and then the dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in the nuts and/or chips.
  4. Refrigerate dough for about 2 hours (or spread the dough thin along the edges of a metal bowl and freeze for 20 minutes).
  5. Hand roll into eight 1″ rolls, placed about 4 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets, then flatten using the palm of your hand.
  6. Bake at 350° for 20–25 mins, or until very slightly browned.
  7. Remove from oven and cut into ¾” diagonal slices, turn each cookie 90° onto a cut edge and return to oven to bake for another 8–10 mins.
  8. Remove from oven and flip each cookie over onto the other cut edge, return to oven for another 8–10 mins.
*makes a bit flakier cookie

After the first baking, the mandel bread is sliced. Use a very sharp knife (or one that is serrated) so that you are slicing through the dough without pushing it down.

Turn each cookie onto a cut edge, return to oven, repeat.

Members of our temple got together to bake on Sunday.

 

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