Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mandelbrot




Hilary of Nosh With Me tells a lovely family story about her Aunt Helen and this recipe for twice baked cookies called Mandelbrot. They're sort of the Jewish version of biscotti although the texture is generally softer and crumblier (is that's even a word). Kat at A Good Appetite also featured Mandelbrot recently. It's a similar recipe but adds anise to the mix that I'm sure gives it a very distinctive flavour.

Baba (my mother) was never much of a baker but one of the things she used to make was mandelbrot. Literally translated from Yiddish a mandel is an almond (plural it would be mandlen) and brot is bread. Perfect - this recipe has no almonds and doesn't look like bread. It's a cookie and a darned fine one at that. When I saw Hilary's version, well... what can I say - you can already see what happened.

Ingredients

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup oil
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips

Preparation

Mix eggs and sugar with a wooden spoon. Add vanilla and mix.
Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add to the egg mixture, alternating with the oil, four times.
Add chocolate chips and mix. Batter will be stiff. (She’s not kidding, it’s stiff!)



Refrigerate overnight, or at least three hours. (Aunt Helen recommended overnight.)
Roll into four logs, approximately 1 1/2″ in diameter.




Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, remove from oven, and immediately slice into 1″ pieces. (Both H's mom and Aunt Helen said it’s very important to not let the logs cool because they will crack when you slice them.)



Place cookies on their side on cookie sheet and bake 10-15 minutes more.





I learned a couple of very important things with this recipe. First of all, Hilary's Aunt Helen was a maven (Yiddish word for someone who really does know it all). I've made recipes simiilar to this in the past and never thought to leave the batter in the fridge overnight. It did make a world of difference. The second thing I learned is do not let the logs cool before you cut them otherwise they'll crack. That's a very important tip. I've had cracked mandelbrot and biscotti before but I can tell you it won't happen again. And the third tip and probably the most important one - go back to basics - use a wooden spoon to mix this with. The texture is so superior to that of using a hand or stand mixer. Go figure. All this modern technology and the simplest way in this case is the best.

Aunt Helen has certainly left one of her legacies in this household. StumbleUpon

28 comments:

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Thanks for all the excellent tips Giz. It is good to be in the know:D

Anonymous said...

Haha, that is awesome! I'll have to tell Aunt Helen her recipe is a success in other households as well, thanks to the Internet. I'm sure she'll get a kick out of that.

RecipeGirl said...

I was just reading about Madelbrot on Cakespy and can't believe I've never heard of it! I even worked at a Jewish school for 3 years and can't recall having this. Now I'm intrigued and wish to give it a shot!

Elly said...

I have never had mandelbrot but it looks incredibly tasty. I am imagining the texture as similar to these popular Greek cookies.

The Peanut Butter Boy said...

Very interesting Giz, I love seeing recipes from different cultures that are similar but not exactly the same to what is "the norm". It's like when I walk past a bakery in China town and everything looks so foreign but nonetheless enticing.

Anonymous said...

Looks great! My mom used to call this "kamish" bread. Why? No idea. I never really liked mandel bread--or biscotti, for that matter--but who knows? Maybe a vegan version would be good! ;)

Hopie said...

Looks like those would be great dipped in some hot chocolate! If you two want to head over to my blog, there's a post all about you!!

pam said...

I make biscotti all the time, I'll have to try these tips, because mine usually cracks!

Lori said...

I was looking through a bunch of cookies. I think it was on Cooking light just recently. I saw mandelbrot, made a little differently. I thought, hmmm, I d like to try that. Then I go to Kat's site and see it and now yours. Are the gods trying to tell me something?

LyB said...

I've never heard of these. They look delicious. I love biscotti and now you have me intrigued with these. :)

Bunny said...

I never heard of this either, I love finding new things! These look wonderful and I'll be trying them too. Thanks!

Camilla said...

oooooh!!! I cannot wait to make these! I adore mandelbrot, and yours look perfect; I feel happily fatter already :)

kat said...

I love seeing everyone's versions of mandelbrot starting to pop up. I never knew how popular it was

Vera said...

These look yummy, Giz! I'm so in love with crunchy cookies!

Anonymous said...

Oooh those look sooo delicious! I could totally go for a few with my coffee right now!

OhioMom said...

Katie took the words out of my keyboard, I would love one or several of these with my morning coffee. How wonderful to share and enjoy a family recipe. My Mom only made a few specialties, and by the time I was ready to enter the cooking world it was too late to copy them.

Hugs

Adam said...

Very cool post, Giz. MAndelbrot is always one of those words I recognize, but never knew what is was. I love the crispy, dry affect they have, and I bet would work great with coffee. But remember, you said it yourself, coffee is not water :)

michael, claudia and sierra said...

growing up, this was my dad's #1 favorite. my aunt dotty would make them, my spinster great aunt from brooklyn and they were so hard you could crack your teeth on them. great post. loved it.

giz said...

Cook Eat Fret - if you nearly cracked your teeth on them - it doesn't sound to me like they were made right, although I did get quite the visual on broken teeth all over the place. Thanks for the chuckle.

Peter M said...

Just read the other Mandelbrot recipe this past weekend and nice to see many forms of this twice baked cookie.

Enjoy the many coffees and mandelbrot!

NĂºria said...

Thanks for the tips girl! Now that I'm getting into the "baking world" is great to know all these "small" things :D

grace said...

i like my cookies soft, but i'm a sucker for hand-me-down recipes. :)

Darius T. Williams said...

I've never heard of these - but I should have because these look absolutely great!

-DTW
www.everdaycookin.blogspot.com

That Girl said...

I remember my mom bringing these home from bakeries for me and my brother. They always felt like a very grown up cookie!

Anonymous said...

Did you know I am a maven? bwahahahahahahah!

These are wonderful sounding, I have never had them but always heard of them.

Anonymous said...

I like all variations of twice baked cookies. Something about making it makes you really feel that you accomplished something.

Penny Wantuck Eisenberg said...

A very interesting recipe for Mandlebrot. I've never seen one with such a soft dough. Will have to give it a try.

Hilary (on behalf of Aunt Helen) said...

Thank you very much for your letter to my great niece Hilary regarding my recipe for mandel brot. I am very happy that you learned something from it, it took me a long time to perfect it. I'm elderly now and I don't bake anything else except my mandel brot and it really comes in handy. I package it in plastic containers and I keep them in the freezer (it freezes well) so I always have something on hand to bring to a hostess if I'm invited to dinner, to bring to a sick friend, and to send to all of my grandchildren and my wonderful nieces.

Enjoy,

Aunt Helen

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