Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mandel Bread

Grandmothers make comfort food, period.  My grandmother, who I called "Grandmommy," was no exception.  She always made amazing food, I secretly hope that I got some of my culinary talent from her.  Along with her culinary abilities, she also was an amazing baker - I think that was passed on to my mother, and not me.  She would always have some sort of cake or cookie waiting for us when we came to visit her.  My favorite cookie was called "Mandel Bread." It is a cinnamon biscotti type cookie that is almost as addicting as a Dexter Episode (I would know).  From my mother, the story goes, Grandmommy got the recipe from Auntie Mil who was the sister of an Army Officer stationed with my Grandmother and my Grandfather on some base "out there."  No idea where "out there" is but I am in awe of all the men and women stationed abroad and I am eternally grateful for their service to keep me at home safe.

This cookie has been my favorite since as far back as I can remember (I'm assuming I was still in Pull-Ups but only my mother can verify this).  I brought this recipe to The District, where I went to college, and my roommates quickly learned how to survive on these cookies.  I would make double batches and store them in the freezer to see if they could last longer, but to no avail, would be gone in days.  These cookies have gotten my friends and me through sickness, breakups, midterms, lonely winters, arguments, and most importantly BIRTHDAYS!!!  They seriously cure everything. 

It was my old roommate, and great friend, Miss K's Birthday was this week and she requested Mandel Bread for her Birthday Dessert.  It was our go-to dessert anytime we were craving something sweet.  So Happy Birthday Miss K!  Glad to be celebrating this birthday with you!

Auntie Mils' Mandel Bread:


1 Cup Sugar
1/2 cup Crisco - I know, gross but necessary
2 eggs, well beaten
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped almonds (TJ's has slivered toasted almonds that work really well)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup of sugar
1 heaping tbsp. cinnamon or more

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

In a mixer, cream the sugar and Crisco for 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla.

Sift a 1/2 cup of flower over the almonds and toss to coat.  Add to the sugar/egg/Crisco mixture.

Sift the rest of the dry ingredients.  Then add to the mixer and stir to combine until a soft dough forms.  PLEASE DON'T over mix, the dough will get tough.

Separate into three sections and make three long loaves into a lined cookie sheet, 2" wide and 3/4" high.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, should be slightly golden brown on the edges.

Take out of the oven and cut the loaf on a diagonal into 1/2 in slices, turn on it's side and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.

Put back into the oven for 5-10 minutes, until crispy.  Transfer to a cookie rack and let cool.  Consume, drink a glass of milk, wipe away crumbs, repeat.

Thank the lovely Miss K for this picture, she is a much better photographer than I am

1 comment:

  1. Christine CzarneckiAugust 30, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    A wonderful rendition of a family classic. Brava!

    A few notes:

    1. "Out there" was Vicenza, Italy, the favorite posting of all the ones where your grandfather was stationed.

    2. Pull-ups were not yet invented when you were a baby in need of such.

    3. I was making a batch of Mandel Bread when I went into labor with you. I finished the cookies, of course. So it's no wonder that you love them!

    4. I have baked them before with unsalted butter instead of the Crisco, and they were very tasty, if not quite as high rising, but this can be tried by those who are Crisco-averse.

    As if you haven't guessed,

    Love, Momma