Mandelbread or mandlebrot cookies are an Ashkenazi Jewish dessert dating back to the early 19th century. The word mandelbrot means almond (mandel) and bread (brot) in both German and Yiddish. In America, these tasty little cookies are usually called “mandelbread.” Twice-baked, which makes it crispy and crunchy, it has a fairly long shelf life, keeps very well in your cookie jar and is great for long road trips.
The Italian cookies known as biscotti, which were first made in the Middle Ages, are very closely related to our traditional mandelbrot. The word biscotto means “biscuit” or “cookie.” Biscotti are named according to their original method of baking. The root words bis and cotto literally mean “twice” and “baked.” There is also zweiback, which is a German cookie that is what it is called, also “twice baked,” but they are much blander than either biscotti or mandlebrot.
Some of us call these delicacies mandelbread, while others use the word biscotti. Whatever you choose to call them, they are quite yummy, so make them soon and share them with your family and friends.
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. oil
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 c. walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet miniature chocolate morsels
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cream sugar and oil. Add the eggs, salt, lemon juice and extract. Add flour and baking powder in three parts. Add nuts and chocolate. Form into two loaves, two inches wide on prepared cookie sheets. Sprinkle top with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake 45 minutes in preheated oven. Cut into slices while warm. Freeze or keep in cookie tins.
Savti’s Chocolate Biscotti
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted margarine melted and cooled
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
1 bag (12 ounce) semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
8 ounces good quality semi sweet chocolate
Place the racks in the oven in the upper and lower thirds of your oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheets with parchment.
Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and salt on medium speed until light in color, about two minutes. Gradually add the sugar, then beat in the vanilla. Pour the melted margarine in and beat for 30 more seconds.
Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips, then fold in the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing only until they are fully in. Let the dough rest for ten minutes to thicken. It will be easier to handle.
Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the pans and form four logs (two logs on each pan) measuring about 10 inches by 2 inches wide. Flour your hands lightly so you can easily work with the dough.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until set on top. Let logs cool on pan for at least 20 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2 slices. Turn the slices cut side up, and return to the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Turn the cookies onto their other side and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until cookies are crisp. When done, remove from oven and let cookies cool.
To make the glaze: Place water, corn syrup and sugar into a saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it stand for three minutes, and then quickly whisk until smooth. Let the mixture sit for five minutes to thicken, then dip the ends of the cookies in the glaze and place on parchment until the chocolate is set.
Gail Hochman resides in Fair Lawn and is the mother of three children who’ve blessed her with many grandchildren.
By Gail Hochman