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.
- ½ lb butter
- 2 Tbs. Crisco
- 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
- Cream butter, Crisco and sugar.
- Add eggs and vanilla, and then the dry ingredients.
- Stir in the nuts and/or chips.
- Refrigerate dough for about 2 hours (or spread the dough thin along the edges of a metal bowl and freeze for 20 minutes).
- Hand roll into eight 1″ rolls, placed about 4 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets, then flatten using the palm of your hand.
- Bake at 350° for 20–25 mins, or until very slightly browned.
- 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.
- 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