Sunday, November 25, 2012


There is nothing Syrian about Mandelbread. In fact, Wikipedia says: "Mandelbrodt, Mandelbrot, Mandelbroit or anglicized to Mandelbread, is a dessert associated with EASTERN EUROPEAN JEWS. The Yiddish word mandelbrodt literally means almond bread. It is made by forming dough into a loaf, baking it, slicing the loaf into oblong cookies and then baking again. The crunchy, dry cookies were popular in Eastern Europe among Rabbis, merchants, and other itinerant Jews as a staple dessert that kept well."

But Mandelbread is a dessert that I associate with my grandma and with my Syrian cousins and aunts and uncles. My grandmother was born in America and so she wasn't only exposed to Syrian influences. She probably had some Ashkanazic (Jews from Europe) friends and was exposed to Mandelbread through them. 

My grandmother did not write down the Mandelbread recipe in the cookbook she made for my mother. I believe that this recipe is from my mother's first cousin, Mimi. When I was a little girl I would spend summers in West Long Branch, New Jersey so I could hang out with Mimi's daughter, Ida, who is my age. There I was exposed to some Syrian foods that even my grandmother did not make. And of course there was Mandelbread. Mimi's father, my Great Uncle Izzy, cherishes the Mandelbread that his wife, my Great Aunt Renee, makes and I know that he loves me because he always lets me have one! 

This picture is upside down, right? I don't know why that is...

Anyway, here is the recipe:


1) 3 eggs
2) 1 cup sugar
3) 3/4 cup oil
4) 2 tsp vanilla
5) 3 tsp baking powder
6) 3 cups flour or enough so batter isn't sticky
7) 1 tsp of cinnamon

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

1) Beat eggs
2) Add sugar
3) Add oil
4) Add vanilla
5) Add flour, baking powder & cinnamon

Feel free to add chocolate chips, nuts, or any flavorings

Put parchment paper or PAM on a cookie sheet
Form the dough into two logs
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar
Bake for 30 minutes

Lower oven to 300 degrees
Cut and lie on sides in two trays
Return to oven until crisp (about 30 minutes)

I made one log plain, and I added walnuts to the second one. The top one in the picture is plain, the bottom one is with walnuts. Of course they were side by side, but for some reason my picture flipped again. I will have to get to the bottom of this picture flipping business. 

If you have extra Mandelbread, just freeze them. They are delicious eaten straight out of the freezer.

1 comment: