Grandma Annie’s Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread
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Mandel bread is a traditional twice-baked Jewish cookie similar to biscotti.
My Grandma Annie made the world’s best mandel bread, a twice-baked, crunchy Jewish cookie similar to biscotti. Whenever she visited us, she’d walk off the plane with a big smile and cookie tin in each hand. Her mandel bread never lasted long at our house, so we’d always bake more during her stay, tripling the recipe so we’d have enough to share with all the neighbors. Eventually, the whole block came to love her visits.
Like biscotti, mandel bread is crunchy. However, it’s made with more fat than biscotti, so the resulting cookie is a bit richer and less dry. You don’t need to dip it in coffee or tea to enjoy it – it’s delicious all on its own. Most mandel bread recipes are non-dairy and call for oil (including my grandma’s), but I use butter because it tastes better.
What You’ll Need To Make Mandel Bread
How To Make Mandel Bread
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Whisk to combine.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract.
Beat on medium speed until combined.
Add the eggs.
Add the eggs and continue beating on medium speed until thickened and pale yellow, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the dry ingredients.
Mix on low speed until just incorporated.
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 to 2 hours. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and shape the dough into 2 logs about 2 inches wide, 13 inches long, and 1 inch tall.
Place the logs on two parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until lightly golden, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back midway through. Remove the pans from the oven and place on cooling racks. Let the baked logs cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 250°F. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
Once the logs have cooled, cut them diagonally into 3/4-inch-thick slices (I do this directly on the baking sheets, but you can transfer the logs to a cutting board, if you’d like).
Flip the cookies on their sides and 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 the temperature has reached 250°F!) and bake until golden and crisp, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool, then store in airtight container. (Note: the cookies will get crunchier as they cool.)
You may also like
- Double Chocolate Biscotti
- Almond Biscotti
- Cinnamon Raisin Rugelach
- Chocolate Babka
- Chocolate Rugelach
- Coconut Macaroons
Grandma Annie's Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread
Mandel bread is a traditional twice-baked Jewish cookie similar to biscotti.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1¼ teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled (or 1 cup vegetable oil)
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans, walnuts or slivered almonds (optional)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the nutmeg.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the melted butter, 1 cup of the sugar, the vanilla extract and almond extract. Beat on medium speed until combined. Add the eggs and continue beating on medium speed until thickened and pale yellow, 2 to 3 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 to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and set two oven racks in the centermost positions. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and shape the dough into 2 logs about 2 inches wide, 13 inches long, and 1 inch tall. Place the logs on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until lightly golden, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back midway through. Remove the pans from the oven and place on cooling racks. Let the baked logs cool for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 250°F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
- Once the logs have cooled, cut them diagonally into ¾-inch-thick slices (I do this directly on the baking sheets, but you can transfer the logs to a cutting board, if you'd like). Flip the cookies onto their sides, and 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 the temperature has reached 250°F) and bake until golden and crisp, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the mandel bread cool on the baking sheets on the cooling racks, then store in airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. (Note: the cookies will get crunchier as they cool.)
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months: Shape the dough into logs, wrap each securely in plastic wrap, and place them in a sealable bag. When ready to bake, remove the logs from the freezer, thaw the dough until pliable, and then proceed with recipe. To freeze after baking: After the cookies are completely cooled, double-wrap them securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.
- Serving size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 169
- Fat: 10 g
- Saturated fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 20 g
- Sugar: 10 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Sodium: 90 mg
- Cholesterol: 33 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
Jenn, I might have reviewed this when I first made them, and they are phenomenal! I’ve made mandelbread forever (40+ years) and this is the best recipe!
I have a question. I want to make them about half the size. But I don’t want to cut them as I like the finished look and they won’t look the same if I cut them. So, can I make 4 logs, making each half of your dimensions in width? What do you think?
So glad you like them, Gerilyn! Yes, what you’re suggesting should be fine. 🙂
They came out perfect!!
I’m making these lovely cookies right now. I just finished the first part of baking them and I have a couple of questions; Is there a particular reason for a diagonal slice instead of straight?
I’ve dusted one side with the cinnamon sugar but if I turn them over it will mostly fall off from what I can tell…
And thank you for the recipe. ☺️
Hi Jan, I slice them diagonally just so they look prettier. Some of the cinnamon sugar will fall off, but much of it should adhere to the warm cookies.
I love the consistency of these cookies and have made them several times. I was wondering if I could switch out the chocolate chips – I have a recipe for Italian twice-baked Christmas cookies that use green and red candied cherries – and leave the rest of the recipe ingredients/measurements/oven times the same. The desired result would be a buttery/sandy textured and crumbly cookie that I’m hoping will be as good as the original recipe.
Can you let me know what you think?
Hi Marilyn, I’ve never tried them in that way, but I think it will work. I’d love to hear how they turn out!
They turned out awesome. But I think the original recipe is still the best. I have also made them with craisins, pistachios and white chocolate chips and some orange zest just for a variation and they were also very good. But Grandma Annie’s mandelbrot is still the one and only. Thank you for sharing her wonderful recipe.
Good to know, Marilyn — thanks for the follow up!
We loved it!! Grandchildren loved it. Next time I will double the recipe.
I made these yesterday and they taste delicious and the consistency is lovely. I am not an experienced baker, and my question is about using an electric hand mixer, since I don’t have a countertop one. By the time I added the chocolate chips, the dough was fairly dense and sticky. Using a hand-mixer on low, it was just too hard to incorporate the chips evenly, and I didn’t want to “over-mix” the dough by raising the speed from 1 to 2 or 3 (out of 5). So I just stopped! I probably could have used a wooden spoon but I was too nervous about overmixing. What do you think I should have done?
Hi Maralin, because a handheld mixer is not as powerful, you don’t need to worry about increasing the speed a little to get everything mixed — that’s normal. Glad they came out nicely!
I made this recipe as written, however when baked, the dough flattened out considerably more than what your picture appears to be. I didn’t get the dome shape that I was expecting. What do you think the reason is for this? Thanks, Nicole
Hi Nicole, Is there a chance that your baking powder is old or expired? Also, what brand of flour did you use?
Do you ever substitute matzoh cake flour for passover?
Hi Kelly, I’ve never tried it. For the most predictable results, I’d recommend looking for a mandel bread that is kosher for Passover.
I’ve tried a few different “add-ins” all with very positive feedback from family and friends. I added a small amount of espresso powder to your recipe and most recently made a batch with pistachios and unsweetened dried cranberries. Both adaptations worked well and that cinnamon sugar sprinkling really sets these apart. Great recipe and so easy to adapt. I think I’ll try adding pumpkin pie spice with the spices or combining it with sugar for the sprinkling as the weather gets cooler.
I can’t go a week without baking these, and although, I have several other Mandelbrot recipes, these get rave reviews and requests for more! Using butter instead of oil makes these a treat. My granddaughter asked me to make them for the Kiddush after her Bat Mitzvah. Today’s batch is for a very different event. The shape of them is a bit similar to a chimney swift’s body so I’m adding paper wings to them after cooling them and bringing them to our local bird club’s Swifts and Sweets gathering to watch chimney swifts as they roost in a school chimney for the night! Your recipes are wonderful and versatile for any occasion.
This recipe is delicious. I’m trying to watch my weight. Can you suggest any changes to the recipe to make it lower in calories?
Glad you like them! There are a few places where I think you could cut some calories — Instead of using 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar, I’d cut the 1 cup back to 3/4 cup. You could also cut the chocolate chips back to 3/4 cup and omit the optional nuts. Hope that helps!
As with all your recipes I have tried to date another perfect one!
Our favorite Jewish bakery closed and now we are seriously in withdrawal for mandel bread 😀 Came across this recipe and am so excited to try it (also doing your chocolate rugelach!). My question is whether I can skip the second bake (the toasting part) to have a cakier/breadier texture to the result. The one we always enjoyed was very firm but definitely not crisp like biscotti. Would you recommend a single bake for 35-40 minutes? Or will that result in an underdone loaf?
Thanks so much – I can’t wait to try my hand at these “new-to-me” recipes. Hope you are having a healthy, safe and restful holiday season.
Hi Victoria, I think what you’re proposing would be fine but they will definitely be softer. Please LMK how they turn out if you try them this way!
It was a huge hit!!!! Everyone loved it – the flavor was perfect. I think I underestimated just how big the single loaf would be, so next time I will split the dough and bake 2 smaller ones, which should work out well. Thank you so much for the recipe and the reply to my comment. You helped me to bring a smile to my mother’s face when she saw what I made.
So glad it worked out well (and nice to know that it brought a smile to your mom’s face) 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to follow up!
I just made my first batch. Delicious and didn’t overly spread the way other recipes have. I only had 80% cocoa morsels so I substituted them for the semi sweet. Only question is why did the top of the logs crack while baking? I want to give these as holidays gifts and I’d like them to look pretty. any suggestions on what I might have done wrong?
Hi Pam, It’s normal for mandel bread to have some cracks on top (that’s just the nature of it), so it doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong!
I just put my dough in the fridge. I make this recipe every year. It is our favorite mandel bread. Every year my husband asks for it even though his own father makes a different mandel bread each year for the holiday and gives us half of it. Thank you for this recipe. It is truly wonderful and easy to make.
Warm regards, Nancy
I would like adapt this recipe for Passover. Have you made it with Matza Cake Meal? Would it be a 1:1 swap? Are any other changes necessary? This is my favorite holiday cookie and my family eats two full batches at every seder! Please let me know as soon as you can. Thank you.
Los Angeles, CA
Hi Julie, I’ve never tried this with matzo cake meal, so I wouldn’t recommend it – I’m sorry! I’d recommend looking for a mandel bread that is kosher for Passover.
Jenn, Thanks for your quick reply. I have an old passed down recipe that I have been using that is similar but has more eggs and you cream the butter instead of melting. Here are the quantities, if you want to try out a Passover version:
2 sticks butter (or vegan butter sticks)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups matzah cake meal (or GF matzah cake meal)
3/4 cups potato starch
1/2 tsp salt,
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup nuts (optional)
sugar/cinnamon mixture for rolling cut pieces.
Cram butter an sugar -add eggs, vanilla, mix in the combined dry ingredients , but do not overtax – stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Same method of shaping into 4 logs and bake 45 min at 350
turn oven down to 250 then return cut log slices rolled into cinnamon/sugar while still warm and bake another 45 minutes, turning half way from cut side to cut side.
Thanks for sharing Julie — happy Passover!
Have made your pecan biscotti several times and I’ve been craving it recently, but have grandchildren on top of me right now and figured they’d prefer this instead. They are really good, but, and I’m sure it’s me, they fell apart when I turned them over to sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon on top. Maybe I didn’t have them thin enough when they were cooking, by that, required more cooking time. Either way, they are very good, but I’m going to stick to your amazing biscotti. 😀
These mandelbread cuts are unbelievably delicious, with the perfect combination of Cinnamon and Chocolate. I made two batches and learned that it’s really important to chill the dough for a couple of hours. I used only one tsp of vanilla, and added a touch more cinnamon for the finishing sugar sprinkle.
I made your Mandelbrot and I really appreciate this recipe! I have tried others but I would lose the shape and end up with a wide cookie. I am so grateful you said to refrigerate dough! This step makes a big difference. Thank you!
I will definitely make again.
These are delicious, and memorable cookies, which are now on my Fav cookie, and Christmas cookie lists. These keep well, if made ahead, and I hide them. Thanks, Jen!!
Made this recipe for the holiday and gave it as gifts for my friends!
I’ve made many biscotti recipes but this was is so good and unique with the cinnamon sugar topping. Don’t forget that topping it makes these cookies so good! I froze these cookies and froze beautifully! Biscotti always takes more time than a regular cookie but so worth it! Will definitely make again.
I have made these three times already (and I don’t usually bake cookies)! I made half the recipe with just chocolate chips and half with chocolate chips and almond slivers (kids prefer without nuts). Very easy recipe. Do not skip chilling the dough before shaping into logs, otherwise it’s very sticky.
Loved the hint of nutmeg in these cookies—I grated fresh nutmeg!
Easy recipe to add to your recipe files I added walnuts. Next time I will try dark chocolate or fruits. Recipe freezes well