My Mother-in-law Ellie Seltzer, wife of the late Bernie Seltzer (father-in-law and beloved father of my dear darling husband), has been in town visiting with us. Having Ellie here has been a total treat. Why did we ever wait so long to bring her out for a visit. Ellie is awesome and enjoyable and an excellent houseguest and kind and wise. We love her and have loved having her here. One of the things that I enjoy enormously when we go visit Ellie in Florida – besides being around her – is her mandelbrod. Jewish biscotti – for those of you who have no idea what a mandelbrod is. Ellie is an amazing mandelbrod maker and she’s promised me for years that she will teach me. Well this trip was the perfect opportunity but then all of a sudden we were kind of out of time so I sat her down on the kitchen stool and off she went to make a batch the day before she left us to visit with her niece Gay in Sherman Oaks.
So like I said, Ellie sat down on the stool at the kitchen island and began the mandelbrod making process. She was a little confused by my sugar (organic which is a little darker in color than the regular stuff and a little coarser than the regular stuff) but she didn’t complain. She just kept on going. Then the oil was another small hurdle. I don’t have vegetable oil and suggested that instead we use grapeseed oil – an oil that I have come to love and respect even though I have not found organic grapeseed oil yet. Again Ellie plowed on uncomplaining – a total trooper all the way. Ellie measured out flour, sugar, baking powder. She chopped nuts and mixed and voila! The dough was made. Next, she shaped it into three rolls and once again she took a leap of faith when I suggested that we use parchment on the baking sheet instead of Pam sprayed foil.
I promised her that it wouldn’t stick.
She plowed on once again but noted that the loaves that these ingredients produced were shorter than the loaves she makes at home. I think she was skeptical. I was nervous! That was on Sunday night in the midst of the family dinner or shortly before it. Then Monday morning, just before I left for Court, Ellie pulled out the rolls of dough. She noted that the parchment paper that we had wrapped the rolls in was greasy. I could tell that she thought perhaps this wasn’t going to be working out very well with the weird sugar and strange oil, etc. But on we went. We pre-heated the oven and in went the cookie sheet with the three mandelbrod loaves.
35-minutes later the rolls of dough came out of the oven. Ellie waited moments before cutting the loaves into mandelbrod shaped pieces. She laid the individual cookies out carefully on the parchment lined baking sheet and when all of the loaves were cut and cookies laid out neatly, the pan was popped into the oven for 12-minutes of ‘browning.’ Mandelbrot. They are delicious! Even Ellie was stunned by their deliciousness and I think she’s going to go buy some grapeseed oil!
Here is Mandelbrod as conceived by Ellie and as confirmed by Mama’s Meichulin by Sadie H. Rivkin (a most amazing out-of-print book gifted to me on my wedding by Sadie’s granddaughter Naomi Mirelowitz Farley – a dear dear friend and sister from another mother).
Mandelbrot aka Mondel Broidt
(from Ellie Seltzer and as confirmed in Mama’s Meichulim by Sadie H. Rivkin) Preheat oven to 350° F Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
2 1/8 c. unbleached white flour
¾ c. sugar
½ c. crushed or chopped walnuts or almonds
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs (beaten)
½ c oil (vegetable or grapeseed or olive? oil)
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp lemon juice
Mix flour, sugar, nuts, baking powder together in a bowl.
Mix together beaten eggs, oil, vanilla and lemon juice together in a small bowl.
Mix dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients using your hands (wash them first!!). Mush it altogether into a ball.
Refrigerate for an hour or longer or overnight.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Split the ball into three segments and shape each segment into a loaf shape. Place the loaves onto the baking sheet and cook for 35 minutes at 350° F.
Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Then slice each loaf diagonally into cookies that are about ¾” thick.
Put the cookies back onto the baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
When done eat some and store some in a cookie tin for up to a few weeks.