Mandel Bread (That Isn't Actually Mandel Bread But Something Even Better)

December 11, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Makes 2 loaves
Author Notes

This is a recipe from my grandmother that's probably the family favorite.
Mandel bread is sort of Jewish version of biscotti -- dry, twice-baked cookies, usually made with almonds (mandeln, hence the name mandel bread). Don't get me wrong -- these are fine. But what my grandmother made was something entirely different, and much more yummy. There are no almonds, and these are more moist and flavorful than traditional mandel bread. They're more of a jelly cake/cookie, baked and sliced -- I suppose the slices sort of resemble mandel bread in shape, hence the name.
I've never seen a recipe like this anywhere, or heard of it outside my family. I don't know who came up with it -- just that it's been in the family for a very long time. I've updated it a bit (there are actual measurements for the ingredients, and I use a food processor to deal with the orange, which is easier than grating it by hand), but only a bit. A note about the preserves: like my grandmother, I usually use homemade, but store-bought jam is fine as well.

What You'll Need
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 6-oz. can pineapple juice
  • 1/2 large navel orange, rind and all, cut in chunks
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powdr
  • 6 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups damson plum preserves
  • 1 cup strawberry preserves
  • 1/2 pound chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 15-oz.box white raisins
  • 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon
  1. Combine eggs, juice, oil, sugar, and orange in a food processor. Pulse till orange is blended in thoroughly. Add baking powder, baking soda, and flour to make a malleable dough. Set aside.
  2. Mix the two preserves together. Set aside. Mix nuts, if using, and raisins with the cinnamon sugar. Set aside.
  3. Divide dough into two parts. Roll one out between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap to a rectangle about 18" by 12". Spread half of preserves over dough, leaving a half-inch margin. Sprinkle half of raisin-cinnamon sugar on top. Roll up from long side like a jelly roll. Tuck ends under.Transfer carefully to a silpat-lined or foil-lined and greased cookie sheet (lining the sheet is a must, since the preserves have a tendency to leak out). Repeat with other half of dough.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees about 1 hour, or till golden. Cool and slice. This freezes well. You can also make the dough ahead and refrigerate overnight. Like many baked things with fruit and nuts, this improves after a day or so, when flavors meld.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jennalynn
  • louisez
  • Tarragon
  • suebush17

8 Reviews

Jennalynn October 16, 2020
I know you put this up years ago, but I just found it.
My mother also made this almost exact dessert and also called it Mandel Bread!
Perhaps we're related ; )
louisez October 16, 2020
I've never heard of anyone else who made this. Could be where they came from? My grandmother was from Slonim, Poland. Or a family thing. Or a neighbor thing? Fun. Thanks for letting me know.
Jennalynn October 16, 2020
My family is partially Polish/Austrian (the borders moved a lot ; )
A town called L'vov. Maybe?
Our recipe is a little different, no pineapple or orange, but the rest is pretty much what we do. I still make it!
suebush17 June 19, 2021
So strange. My paternal grandmother made something very similar to this and they were from Vilna Poland -but my mom was from lvov. maybe we’re all related. this cookie cake like strip of deliciousness- yum yum yummy
louisez June 20, 2021
Love hearing this! Thanks for writing!
Tarragon December 15, 2014
I am so glad that you posted this recipe! My late mother in law made what she and her sons called "strudel" that was similar to this (strawberry jam, raisin, nuts, cinnamon, and a whole lemon chopped up). By the time I met her she was 87 and her memory was not good. My husband had had her write down the recipe but that might have been to late also, because when I made it I was disappointed. My sister in law had the same experience. Your recipe may be what they remember and I am looking forward to trying it - the orange definitely sounds better than the lemon!
louisez December 15, 2014
Tarragon -- I hope this works well for you. Best wishes for the coming holidays....
louisez December 15, 2014
Actually, I double hope this works well for you. The loss of a recipe may seem like a small thing, but can be so much more. I hope the recipe does not disappoint.