Grandma Annie’s Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread
My Grandma Annie made the world’s best mandel bread, and she didn’t travel anywhere without it. Every time she came to visit us, she’d walk off the plane with cookie tins in hand. It never lasted long so we’d bake more with her, always tripling the recipe so we’d have enough to share with our neighbors. Eventually, the whole block came to love her visits!
If you’ve never had mandel bread, it’s a traditional Jewish cookie similar to biscotti. Like biscotti, mandel bread is twice-baked and crunchy. The main difference is that it’s made with more oil or butter than biscotti, so the resulting cookie is a bit richer and softer. You don’t need to dip it in coffee or tea to enjoy it — it’s delicious all on it’s own. I should note that mandel bread (literally, almond bread) is traditionally made with almonds but my grandma always made hers with chocolate chips and walnuts, so that’s how I do it. Also, most mandel bread recipes are non-dairy and call for oil (including my grandma’s), but I use butter because it tastes better.
To begin, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Beat the melted butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract until creamy.
Stir the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then add the chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
Chill the dough for about an hour, then form it into two 2-inch wide logs on a baking sheet.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly golden.
Let the logs cool, then slice them diagonally into cookies about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then bake again in a low oven until crisp, about 45 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
Grandma Annie's Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (use up to 1 cup if desired)
- 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar (combine 2 tablespoons sugar with 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract. Beat on medium speed until creamy and pale yellow, a few minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated, then mix in the chocolate chips and nuts (if using). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill until firm, 1-2 hours (you can speed this up in the freezer if you'd like).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape the dough into 2 logs about 2 inches wide, making sure they aren't too close together or too close to the edges of the pan. (If it's still sticky, dust your hands with flour.) Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Turn the oven down to 250 degrees. Let the baked logs cool for about 15 minutes, then slice them diagonally about every 3/4-inch. Flip the cookies on their sides (I squeeze them onto one baking sheet but you can use two if necessary), then sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar over top. Flip the cookies over and repeat with the remaining cinnamon-sugar. Place the pan back in the oven (be sure you turned temperature down to 250 degrees!) and cook until golden and crisp, about an hour. Let cool, then store in airtight container. (Note: cookies will get crunchier as they cool.)