Serves a Crowd

Mandelbrot (Passover biscotti or shortbread)

April 25, 2018
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Author Notes

This is a recipe that grew on me. The cookies go by two names in the US - "mandelbrot" meaning almond bread from European Jewry and "kamish" or "kamishbrot" from Ukraine. First learned it from my aunt, Geraline Morris, of Rochester, NY. This version is specially for Passover, but it or a version made with flour can be eaten year round. I made them for years as I'd learned them. Then I started playing with the recipe. Best change was to use olive oil (instead of vegetable oil) as the fat. With the original, the cookie was good. With the olive oil, it went to a new level. Now it's a crumbly, delicious hybrid of biscotti and shortbread. Also played with shapes...see Steps 8-10 for details. When I serve these, people are surprised and 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
  • 1 1/2 cups matzo cake meal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 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)
  • 1/2 cup jam (your choice, or more than one)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In This Recipe
  1. Heat oven to 350F
  2. Set out two non-stick baking sheets or lightly grease two regular ones.
  3. Beat oil and eggs (in mixer, or processor or by hand) until fluffy. Add sugar & mix again. In another bowl, mix the cake meal, salt and ground almonds.
  4. Mix the wets and dries to do this, or at least finish it, by hand with a strong wooden tool, as batter will get very thick. Spread in 3" wide logs, one on each baking sheet.
  5. Bake 30 minutes & remove from oven. Cut across the logs at an angle (30 to 45 degrees to horizontal) into cookie sticks about 3/4" wide.
  6. Space out the sticks on baking sheets & bake 10-20 minutes more, depending on how crisp or dark you want them.
  7. Serve as Seder dessert. Or during the week of 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 a trench down the center of each log. Spread the jam in the trench. Dust with cinnamon & sugar. Return to oven and bake ANOTHER 30 minutes. Cool. Cut across the jam to make individual cookies.
  9. ALTERNATE 2: with different pans and shapes. Bake in square pans, then cut in smaller squares. Or in round pans, and cut in wedges like shortbread. Or shaped in rounds, like thumbprint cookies. You will still need the sheet pans or cookie sheets for spread-out second baking.
  10. ALTERNATE 3: another way to serve jam topping. Bake the cookies plain. Serve at table with one or more jams in small bowls for dipping or spooning out.

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