This is a second posting of my family’s mandel bread recipe, baking them today from my new home in Virginia.
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.
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 Tbs. Crisco
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 c. nuts
- 1 c. chocolate chips (optional)
- powdered sugar
Cream butter, shortening and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients, then add to butter mixture. Stir in nuts and chips. Refrigerate dough for two hours or overnight. Divide into eight portions. Roll each into a 1″ diameter log, place on greased cookie sheet and slightly flatten. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 mins. Slice into 1/2″ slices, turn each onto its side, return to oven until toasted. Remove and flip over the slices, returning once more to the oven until toasted a light brown on all sides. Let cool before storing in an airtight container. If you want to by fancy, dust with powdered sugar right before serving.
On a damp day, my grandmother, Mollye, would leave them on the cookie sheets in the oven to cool, so that they would stay crisp.