Who doesn’t love a good cookie, especially one that holds up to a dunk in a hot cup of coffee or tastes great with a glass of cold milk?
Mandelbrot (pronounced mandelbread), otherwise known as the extended relative of biscotti, is a twice-baked cookie that my entire family enjoys.
But it was just recently that I acquired a taste for these crunchy treats. I’m very particular when it comes to the texture of my cookies, and I usually prefer a soft, chewy center. However, the older I get, the more I enjoy a simple cookie, like shortbread or these mandelbrot.
This treat can be enjoyed any time of year, but winter is the perfect time to get cozy with some tea, coffee or cocoa and a slice of mandelbrot.
According to my internet research, the origin of these cookies is unclear, but they date back to the early 19th century and have long been a staple dessert for Ashkenazi Jews.
If you scour the internet or cookbooks to find the perfect recipe, you’ll come to realize that in almost all of them, the base ingredients are identical. Once you find just the right ratio of flour, sugar, eggs and oil, the result will be perfect, stable cookies. Then, you can go wild with any add-ins that your heart desires.
Grandmas everywhere have perfected this cookie, and now it’s time for me to put my best effort forward!
I’m a purist, so I went with a chocolate and nut combo, but you can try dried fruit and different extracts, or even substitute gluten-free flour. Because they are made with oil, not butter, they are pareve.
And the best part about these cookies? You can make them in advance, and they will keep at room temperature for up to two weeks.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to plan a tea party and whip up a batch of these goodies!
LISA MAYBRUCH (email@example.com) is the manager of adult programs at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island. Her occasional series, “Baking with Lisa,” appears in Jewish Rhode Island and online at Jewishrhody.org/baking-with-lisa.
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons water
2 cups halved pecans
In a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, melt together brown sugar, cinnamon and water until mixture is bubbling. Add pecans, stirring thoroughly to coat. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until liquid evaporates.
Spread pecans onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let sit at room temperature until fully cooled.
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup candied pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips (plus more for dipping)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roughly chop 1 cup of candied pecans, then set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, almond extract (if using), cinnamon and pinch of salt until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Stir in chopped candied pecans and chocolate chips.
Shape dough into two logs the length of the baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and set. Remove from oven and let cool until easy to handle.
Cut into 1-inch slices on a diagonal and place cut-side down onto baking sheet.
Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes, then flip each cookie and bake for another 10 minutes on the other side.
Once the cookies have cooled, melt extra chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl or double-boiler. Dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place on parchment paper to cool and harden
Sprinkle sea salt or extra pecans on top and enjoy!