For more tasty bakes, see my collection of family specialties:
You Can’t Have Dry Coffee: Papa’s Excuse to Have a Nosh And Nana’s Perfect Pastries
Mandel bread is another of those Jewish staples, something that you’ll often see at an oneg Shabbat (a social gathering after temple services) or for the high holidays. They are crisp, light, butter cookies, which are twice-baked; something like biscotti but much more delicate. The name comes from mandelbrot which means almond bread. While some bakers put almonds in their mandel bread, my mother was partial to pecans. This is her recipe. If you compare what follows to her recipe card, you’ll notice that I’ve increased the salt a bit, since Ruth used salted butter and I prefer unsalted for baking.
- 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
*makes for a bit flakier cookie
- 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). Next: Shape, bake, slice, and bake some more
- Hand roll into eight 1″ rolls, place onto greased cookie sheets, spaced about 4 inches apart and 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.