My mother is an excellent baker. Her banana chocolate chip muffins are famous among my friends and family. Everyone fights for them. Especially the muffins that fall a little bit or are slightly under-cooked. I am drooling just thinking about them. She is equally famous for her mandelbrot, the Jewish version of Italian Biscotti. A couple weeks ago my mother sent a box of her homemade mandelbrot to my brother via UPS and she didn’t send me any! Her reasoning for not sending any to me was that I was fully capable of making my own. She was right but I was insanely jealous of my brother.
I have never made them before as I have been scared I would fail miserably. In my family there is the great mandelbrot debate. Crunchy vs. Chewy. I am firmly in the crunchy camp but I am always afraid of over-baking them. Burnt mandelbrot are not very tasty. Last week I decided it was time to give her recipe a try. She typically uses almond extract and lemon zest. I deviated a little bit and put my own twist on her recipe. The results were delicious!
Ellen’s Mandelbrot Recipe
All Purpose White Flour, 3 cups
Baking Powder, 1 tablespoon
Sea Salt, ¼ teaspoon
Eggs, 4 room temperature
White Sugar, 1-1/2 cups
Vegetable Oil, ½ cup
Vanilla Extract, 1-1/2 teaspoons
**My mother uses a mix of 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ of almond extract for some extra nuttiness.
Orange Zest or Lemon Zest, 1 tablespoon
**I prefer the orange zest.
Chocolate Chips or Taza Chocolate Covered Cocoa Nibs, ½ cup
Cinnamon Sugar, to dust with (see below)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is thick and pale.
- Add the oil and vanilla extract.
- Beat in the sifted dry ingredients.
- Add the orange zest and chocolate last.
- Add additional flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Shape the dough into two (2) big logs, about two (2) inches in diameter. Dust with cinnamon sugar.
- Place the logs onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Remove the logs and cut into slices. Dust with more cinnamon sugar on both sides of the slices.
- Put the slices back onto the greased cookie sheet, cut side down, and bake in the oven for 5 minutes on each side.
- Cool on a rack and then store in an airtight container.