This is a special cookie to me. It's a family recipe by my grandmother and one that represents my Jewish heritage. Since Hanukkah started last week, this is the perfect time to share this cookie from my childhood and culture. Mandel Bread is a twice baked cookie similar to Italian Biscotti. It has a cinnamon sugar topping. Walnuts and/or chocolate chips can be added.
I have never made Mandel Bread until now. I left that up to my grandmother and my oldest sister, Maxine. My sister makes them every holiday season and I look forward to getting my fill whenever I get the chance to visit. Well, now that I have finally made these cookies on my own (what took me so long), I can enjoy one of my favorite childhood cookies any time of the year. And now, I can continue the tradition and pass on this family recipe to my daughters.
My grandmother (affectionately known as Motha) passed away many years ago but she was in the kitchen with me as I made her Mandel Bread. Don't forget the family recipes and traditions this holiday season. And maybe try some new recipes from other cultures as well.
Recipe by my grandmother, Annette Sussman
3 large eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 - 3 cups flour ( I used closer to 3 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped
semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients through salt in a mixer or my hand. Fold in walnuts or chocolate chips, if using. Place dough in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight. Divide dough into 3 or four equal parts and place in bread loaf pans. Spread dough evenly into pans. I use my hands for this. Depending on how many you use, you will have 3 or 4 pans of dough. The dough will be 1 or 2 inches high but it will rise some when it cooks.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. It should be crisp and a little golden brown.
Cut cookies into slices while still warm and still in loaf pans. Sprinkle tops of Mandel Bread with mixture of cinnamon and sugar, divided evenly between pans.
Place loaf pans back in oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Cool before removing slices from pan. Store in airtight container.
Variation: Add 1/2 cup or more chocolate chips to batter instead of nuts or with nuts. I divided the dough in half and placed chopped walnuts in one and chocolate chips in the other half.
Mom's Cooking Club Lesson: Gift/Packaging Idea: Place one or two pieces of Mandel Bread in a clear treat bag wrapped with a pretty ribbon. Place in a large coffee or cappuccino cup with matching saucer. For something extra special add a gift card to your local coffee shop.