Because many people don't know what the heck mandel bread is, I've always told people this cookie is biscotti's brother. This cookie has always been an enormous crowd pleaser with the coffee, tea, and milk drinkers, which is mostly everyone. It's lighter in texture than biscotti, and I used to dunk these cookies in milk because it made my milk taste like cinnamon toast crunch cereal. My family always makes these cookies as gift for the holidays, and this year I baked with the Mandel Bread Queen (aka my Grandma) to relive some of the best times of my childhood.
Biscotti's Brother (aka Mandel Bread Cookies)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2.5 cups of cane sugar
- 3 Tbs. of ground cinnamon
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 3.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Apricot preserves, as needed
1. In a small bowl, mix 1.5 cups of sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together oil and remaining 1 cup of sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each egg. Then add vanilla extract and baking powder.
3. Mix in flour. At this point, the dough should be soft but not sticky. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour until the dough is not longer sticky. Then, mix walnuts in the dough.
4. Cover and chill the dough for at least 3 hours - overnight is best.
6. Divide and shape the dough into 3 logs. Two logs will be on one cookie sheet, and the third log will be on the second cookie sheet. You don't want to crowd sheets by putting all three logs on one sheet - you'll see why later.
7. Shaping one log at a time, place the dough log on a greased cookie sheet and create a "bathtub" out of the dough. Make a bathtub by using a finger the press down the middle of the dough log and gently pressing both hands of each side of the log to lengthen the log. You want to make sure the sides of the bathtub are about 1.5 inches high because we're "filling the tub" with apricot preserves - the tub walls can be made higher by gently pinching the dough walls up.
9. Close of each filled dough tub by pinching the walls together then patting down the pinched walls (see picture below). Once the tub is pinched and patter closed, pat and lengthen the closed dough strips until it is about 1 inch high and 2 inches wide.
11. Remove the dough from the oven, and increase the temperature of the oven to 400 degrees.
12. Slice the baked dough strips into 1-inch thick pieces. Turn the pieces on their sides, and generously sprinkle the sides with more cinnamon sugar. (See picture on the right)
14. Remove the cookies from the oven, flip each piece over, and generously sprinkle the remaining sides with more cinnamon sugar.
15. Return the pieces one last time to the oven and bake for 5 minutes to brown the cookie side.
16. Remove cookies from oven and let cool. Enjoy with friends and family!