Serves a Crowd

Mondel brot (Passover biscotti or shortbread)

April 25, 2018
0 Ratings
Photo by
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 25-30
Author Notes

These twice-baked cookies from the central European Jewish tradition go by two names in the US - "mandelbrot" meaning almond bread (from Yiddish) and "kamish" or "kamishbrot" (from Ukrainian). There are versions for year-round baking using flour, and versions for Passover like this one using matzoh cake meal. I grew up eating this version 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 (instead of recipe's original vegetable oil) as the fat. With that, they went to a new level - now a crumbly, delicious hybrid of biscotti and shortbread. I have also played with different shapes...see last steps in directions. When I serve these, people are delighted with how good they are (I know, I know...Passover desserts often set a low bar) and they disappear from the table, or go home for breakfast. And I remember my aunt and family Seders when growing up. —Nancy

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups matzo cake meal (about 180g)
  • 1 cup sugar (200g), white or brown
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (225 ml)
  • 1 cup almonds, ground (100g measured after grinding)
  • 3/4 cup eggs (3 large or 180ml)
  • 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
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Set out two half sheet pans (18x13"). Use non-stick ones as-is or line regular ones with oil, silicone mat or parchment paper
  3. Beat oil & eggs (in mixer or by hand) until fluffy. Add sugar & mix again. In another bowl, mix cake meal, salt & ground almonds.
  4. Mix wets & dries to do or at least finish this by hand with a strong wooden tool, as batter will get very thick. Spread in two 3" wide logs, one on each baking sheet.
  5. Bake 30 minutes & remove from oven. Cut across the width of the logs at an angle to the horizontal (about 45 degrees) 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 at Seder. Or during week of Passover, with wine, coffee or tea.
  8. ALTERNATE 1: with jam topping. Bake first time ONLY 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Using the oiled back of a large spoon, make a 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 a half teaspoon or so of 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

0 Reviews