There’s something about my Grandmother’s wisdom that I will treasure forever. My grandmother was the first one to really teach me about self respect. She also taught me, through words and deeds, how to honor and love my body and my emerging womanliness. She died when I was only ten, but I will never forget her.
This recipe is from my Grandmother Irene’s kitchen. She was born and raised in Brooklyn and the daughter of Russian Immigrants.She married a dashing, young police officer and had two childen, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren (and hopefully more soon!).
This is also dedicated to my mother (who I absolutely adore) and my wonderful Aunt Helene,who have preserved many of the family recipe’s and rituals. As the family becomes more diverse- a melange or races and experiences- the food on our table becomes more eclectic. This recipe, however, has been passed down for generations.
La Chaim! (to life!)
Consider this a kind of “Russian biscotti” . It’s often served at festive occasions and is divine!
Grandma Irene’s Mandel Bread
Double Recipe 4 Logs
4 cups flour
1 Cup Oil
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
2 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Tsp. Baking powder
2 Pinches of salt
A favorite jam of your choice (I like apricot)*
2 tbs cocoa or 1/2 cup chocolate chips*
chopped walnuts (optional)*
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Mix all of the above (EXCEPT the jam, cocoa and nuts) with a hand mixer or your own inner strength and refrigerate for 15 minutes.Put as little flour on hands so the dough does not stick to you.
Put down some flour or wax paper on your work surface.
Divide dough into 4 loaves. Roll into long rolls, about 3″ wide by 11″ long.
Use your finger or small spoon to make a deep indent in center of log, going lengthwise. Now pinch sides so a little crater is formed in center of log.
Layer in a dusting of cocoa , then a small bit of walnuts, then about 2 tbs. of jam into each log crater.
Pinch sides of log roll closed. You can glaze the log with a bit of jam or an egg white.
Put two on a cookie sheet, lengthwise. Bake 35 min @ 350degrees.
Cut in strips when still warm.
Let stand for 15 minutes