Serves a Crowd

Mondel brot (Passover biscotti or shortbread)

by:
April 25, 2018
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Author Notes

The cookies go by two names in the US - "mandelbrot" meaning almond bread from European Jewry and "kamish" or "kamishbrot" from Ukraine. I grew up eating these at Seder, made by my aunt Geraline Morris, of Rochester, NY. And started making them when I moved out on my own. Then I started playing with the recipe. Best change was to use olive oil as the fat. With the olive oil, they went to a new level - now a crumbly, delicious hybrid of biscotti and shortbread. Also played with shapes...see Steps 8-10 for details. When I serve these, people are delighted with how good they are (I know, I know...Passover desserts often set a low bar). And I remember my aunt and family Seders when growing up. —Nancy

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 25-30
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups matzo cake meal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup almonds, ground (measured after grinding)
  • 3/4 cup eggs (3 large at 2 oz each)
  • 1 dash salt
  • as needed oil to grease cookie sheets & soup spoon
  • Jam topping (optional)
  • 3/4 cup jam, your choice of flavor, more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, more as needed
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Set out two half sheet pans (18x13"). Non stick or prepare regular ones (grease, line with parchment paper).
  3. Beat oil & eggs (in mixer or processor; or by hand) until fluffy. Add sugar & mix again. In another bowl, mix cake meal, salt & ground almonds.
  4. Mix wets & dries together...best to do or at least finish it by hand with a strong wooden tool, as batter will get thick. Spread in 3" wide logs, one on each baking sheet.
  5. Bake 30 minutes & remove from oven. Cut across the logs at between 30 and 45 degrees to horizontal into sticks about 3/4" wide.
  6. Space out sticks on baking sheets & bake 10-20 minutes more, depending on how crisp or dark you want them.
  7. Serve as dessert. Or during Passover, with wine, coffee or tea.
  8. ALTERNATE 1: with jam topping. Bake first time ONLY 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Using an oiled large spoon, make trench down the center of each log. Spread jam in the trench. Dust with cinnamon. Return to oven and bake ANOTHER 30 minutes. Cool. Cut across the jam to make individual cookies.
  9. ALTERNATE 2: different shapes. Bake in square pans, then cut in smaller squares. Or in round pans, and cut in wedges like shortbread. For either of these, remove cut cookies to sheet-pan for second baking. Or make thumbprint cookies....form dough into balls, flatten with spoon or thumb, freeze half hour on prepared sheet pans. Remove from freezer, add slightly warmed jam to each indentation & bake at higher temp - 375F ONLY ONE TIME for 11 min.
  10. ALTERNATE 3: another way to serve jam. Bake the cookies plain. Serve at table with jam in small bowls for dipping or spooning out.

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