Home cooking: Gail Blumenthal's chocolate chip mandel bread

October 14, 2012

Former Hagerstown resident Gail Blumenthal's parents and uncle and aunt co-owned a bakery in Washington, D.C., in the 1940s and '50s. After they sold the business, Blumenthal's father continued to bake for the family.

One of his recipes was mandelbrodt — "almond bread" in Yiddish. Mandelbrodt, or mandel bread, is a dessert of Eastern European Jews. Blumenthal liked certain variations on the traditional recipe.

"When my father retired, he baked many wonderful breads and pastries at home," Blumenthal said. "I asked him to make me some mandel bread — similar to biscotti — with chocolate chips instead of using dried fruit. I also only like it baked once instead of twice, as you do with biscotti."

Blumenthal was a member of B'nai Abraham Congregation in Hagerstown. She and her husband now live in York, Pa.

— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor

Gail Blumenthal's chocolate chip mandel bread

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 sticks margarine

2 beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon reserved

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 teaspoons almond extract, to taste

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Cream sugar and margarine.

Reserve about a tablespoon of beaten egg for later, then add remaining beaten egg to creamed sugar and margarine along with vanilla and almond extracts. Beat well.

Add flour, salt and baking powder and mix well.

Add nuts and chocolate chips and mix well.

Place dough in refrigerator until firm enough to shape without being sticky.

To bake, heat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease a baking sheet, or use parchment paper. Divide dough into four equal parts. With hands, roll each part into a log 2 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches long. Place on baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Pat or smooth down logs. Brush with reserved beaten egg. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly brown.

Cool completely. Slice on the diagonal about 3/4-inch thick.

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