I could talk about my love of Mandel Bread until the cows come home. Not that a crispy almond cookie needs any explanation, but the reasons I love Mandel Bread so much go past its delicious flavor and satisfying texture.
My go-to recipe, which is inspired by Tori Avey’s, doesn’t require any planning ahead in the way of softening butter or acquiring obscure ingredients, and you don’t need to dirty up your electric mixer to make the dough. In that sense, it’s a very portable recipe, so if ever you find yourself in someone else’s kitchen with a hankering for a cookie, you can whip some up easy peasy.
Mandel Bread also has a super long shelf life because of its dry nature, so that paired with a strong sturdiness makes for a perfect addition to a care package for a loved one. Whenever I make a batch, it’s pretty much a given that half of it will be sent off to far away friends.
I love the recipe’s flexibility as well. Typically, I switch up the flavors by adding different nuts, dried fruits, chocolates or sprinkles. I also often use chopped almond paste in the place of almonds to break up the texture with some softness. This time I’ve added a twist by using one of my favorite ingredients as of late, pretzel flour. It’s so simple to make, all you do is grind up pretzels, and the resulting cookie is a wonderful blend of sweet and savory with a perfect hint of pretzel flavor.
I’ll be breaking my fast with these and I’ll also be saving some to eat while I watch the season premiere of Homeland on Sunday, which stars one of my all time favorite actors, Mandy Patinkin. Of course the fact that his full name is Mandel only adds to my love of Mandel Bread.
Pretzel Mandel Bread
Makes 20-24 pieces
2 cups pretzel flour (or about 8 ounces pretzel sticks, finely ground in a food processor)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup slivered or crushed almonds
1) Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together flours and baking powder. (If your pretzel flour is still in the food processor, you can simply add the all-purpose flour and baking powder and pulse a few times to combine.)
3) In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of sugar and the oil. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, and then add the vanilla and almond extracts. Stir the flour mixture, chocolate chips and almonds into the wet ingredients.
4) Line a baking sheet with parchment, divide dough into two equal parts, and then form long rectangles, about 4 inches wide. Leave a few good inches in between the rectangles because they will spread in the oven. If the dough is too sticky to work with, you can dust it with a bit of flour. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and then bake for 25 minutes.
5) Remove from the oven and reduce heat to 250˚ F. Cut the rectangles into 1-inch-wide lengths and place them on their sides. Bake for 20 more minutes, or until desired crispiness.
Molly Yeh is a food blogger who recently moved from Brooklyn to a farm outside of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Her blog is mynameisyeh.com.