Mandel Bread

mandel bread
Mandel bread, also known as Mandelbrot or Mandelbroit or it also translates into "almond bread" from Yiddish and German, is a cookie I grew up with but haven't eaten in for-freaking-ever.  Not for a lack of want.

Recently, I requested the recipe from mom which is my Grandma Rose's recipe, which came from my Bubbe.  And interestingly, there's no almond.  Heh.

My challenge here? 

Well first, I've never made it myself, just savored the fruits of my mom's baking labors so I was a tad nervous about screwing this up. 

Second, the instructions my mom sent, um, left quite a bit out.  Which is fine and generally par for the course when working with older and/or inherited recipes.

mom's handwritten recipe card
See, they just knew.  And never wrote it down.  And then my mom forgot.  Heh.

And that's perfectly a-okay, I worked it out and wow, how googlie-eyed happy am I to have a taste of these again, oooohmigosh!

Wait Becky, hold up, you're saying.  What's the diff between this and biscotti?

They're the same in the sense that they're baked twice (although, sometimes not), but not in that Mandel Bread has more fat resulting in a less dry cookie, is a wee softer resulting in no busted teeth, and one that's more rich.  And please, who doesn't want that?!

So Mandel Bread, a biscotti-like, traditionally Jewish cookie that is super duper tasty that you gotta gotta try.

With all this baking blog business, I've been finding myself enticed by old recipes, recipes that were handed down, history stuff, even family tree stuff.  Mike is the history guy in the house but it does grip my attention.

My mom's side of the family stops at the Russian border pretty quick and there's not much tracing beyond that.  My dad's side, his mother comes from a long line and it's quite wild to keep clicking and clicking and seeing when and where these folks lived, their histories and stories of their lives.

I had no idea how Scottish I was until recently though I always knew I was a mutt.  Atop essentially half Russian, I'm additionally Irish, Welsh, English...a dip into Scandinavia (no wonder I love Ikea), a brief dance through France and Germany, down to Italy around the Roman Empire, and up into Israel.

Like, somehow some way someone traced family members to Israel in 1800 BC.  Yes, BC.

Mike thinks that BC bit is BS but, ancient folk were record keepers, amiright?  I think it's fascinating.

I'm not sure why I find it so fascinating.  I do like to learn and root out answers and research.  Does the past inform my present?  Maybe?  Maybe not?  I dunno?  I just think it's neat to find out where folks came from, their stories, and paths.

But right, Mandel Bread.  Keeping family alive in our hearts, minds, and tummies. 

finished mandel bread on a board
These cookies are fabulous on their own, with coffee or tea I'm assuming, as a snack, a cookie, with breakfast, definitely with a glass of cold milk or even better yet, chocolate milk.  Mmm....gonna go get me that combo right now.

They're not as complicated as I had always assumed.  And now I have literally eaten six pieces while typing this.  Hm.


Mix* up the dry and toss in the walnuts, give that whole thing a light fluff.

Whip up the eggs with a whisk until they're all nice and evenly eggy. 

Next, toss in the sugar and whisk that around.  Get that nicely smooth. 

eggs and sugar beaten together
Pour in the oil and vanilla and whisk whisk whisk until the oil has dispersed.  Now, I understand you can use butter here but the traditional way is oil.  Butter would void the Kosher aspect, change the flavor profile, and lean biscotti.  Am I interested to try it?  A little but when these are so perfect this way, why mess with it.

oil and vanilla mixed in with eggs and sugar
Right, ok, so then pour the wet into the dry and fold that around gently with a silicone spatula* until the flour has almost disappeared.

wet ingredients poured into dry ingredient bowl

dough mixed in bowl with a spatula
Avoid over-mixing here, go just until there's still a little visible flour left.
Very lightly flour your counter, or if you're brave, don't; this dough gets progressively stickier as you work with it but you want to make sure you're incorporating very little extra flour.  I found slightly water-dampened fingers work well.

Form the dough into a ball-ish shape, divide it into four pieces with either a dough scraper* or a regular ol' knife.

dough ball sliced in four pieces
Choppity chop.
Flatten each piece of dough out into a rectangle about three inches wide by about 3/4" thick.  However long it turns out to be is how long it turns out to be.  Heh.

Ok, line your baking sheet* with a silicone mat* or a big piece of parchment paper* or just lightly grease it though I recommend the mat.  Set each rectangle on there and bake away.

formed dough on baking sheet ready to bake
Formed and ready for the oven!
When you've hit about twenty to twenty five minutes, maybe thirty if you're trying for extra crispy (oy jeez, now I need fried chicken), pull the sheet out and set it on a cooling rack.*

after the first bake
After the first bake.  Mine are pretty light probably because of the silicone mat, the insulated baking sheet,* and I baked for only twenty minutes.
When the cookies are cool enough to handle but still quite toasty hot, get out a serrated knife* and with a gentle sawing motion, slice each rectangle into half inch cookie slices on a fancy-pants diagonal.

slicing the baked cookies into diagonal slices
Roll each cookie around in some cinnamon and sugar, then either cool them as is, toss them back on the baking sheet cut side down, lower the oven, and bake again or keep the oven at temp and bake again.

rolling cut cookies in mix of cinnamon and sugar
The former second baking will give you lighter color, softer, more tender cookies while the latter will give you browner, more crispy, drier cookies.  Totes up to you.

And then, good luck stopping yourself from eating these incessantly.  Hang on, grabbing another....

I gave my mom a half batch of these Mandel Bread cookies, it was a surprise, she didn't know they were coming.  Her eyes got wide and excited as she breathlessly dove right in.  I am honored to say she thoroughly and completely approved.

I hope I've made my Grandma proud!

mandel bread on wood board

Mandel Bread

Mandel Bread

44 cookies, approximately
Prep time
30 Min
Cook time
40 Min
Total time
1 H & 10 M
Baking Mandel Bread (aka Mandelbrot), an old Jewish family recipe passed down through the generations.


  • 4 cups (480 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp (3 g) fine sea salt
  • 4 tsp (12 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (57 g) chopped walnuts
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 g) vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (176° C) and line a baking sheet with either a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, or lightly grease the baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the first three dry ingredients, the flour, salt, and baking powder. Fluff with a fork or a whisk to combine. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts atop the dry ingredients and stir to lightly combine.
  3. In medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs until well mixed. Add the 1 cup (198 g) of sugar and whisk until the combination is smooth. Add the oil and vanilla then whisk until everything is evenly mixed and the oil is dispersed.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flour dry ingredients and gently fold together with a spatula until a few streaks of flour are left.  Avoid over-mixing.
  5. Very lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Form the dough into a loose ball and divide it evenly into 4 pieces. Flatten each piece into a 3" wide by about 3/4" thick rectangle. The dough will become stickier as it is worked with so continue to use lightly floured or water-dampened fingers.
  6. Place each rectangle on the baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes.  They will be very lightly browned, look dried, and puffed.  Meanwhile, mix the remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) of sugar and the cinnamon in a wide flat bowl or on a rimmed plate.
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, let the rectangles of baked dough cool slightly, enough to be handled, and slice each into 1/2" wide pieces on a diagonal with a serrated knife with a gentle sawing motion. Roll each slice in the cinnamon and sugar mix to coat.
  8. The cookies can be placed on a cooling rack to cool at this point.
  9. To further crisp and brown the cookies, there are two options: for double-baked but tender, lighter color cookies, lower the temperature to 250° F (120° C) and set the cinnamon sugar coated cookies cut sides down on the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. For darker, crispier, slightly drier cookies, leave the temperature at 350° F (176° C), set the cinnamon sugar coated cookies cut sides down on the baking sheet, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the desired shade of golden brown.
  10. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.  These cookies keep well for an extended time.


Grandma Rose's recipe.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)


Please see the "info" section for nutrition details.

cookies, mandel bread, mandelbrot
Jewish American
Created using The Recipes Generator

*The glass mixing bowls, silicone spatulas, dough scrapers, baking sheets, silicone baking mats, parchment paper, cooling racks, insulated baking sheets, and serrated knives are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

Share your thoughts :

  1. Ha! Looking at your instructions I know why I never wrote them out word for word, with my method completely blank except for bake time. We all dived in and devoured these incredible cookies. Who would keep them for an "extended time"? Very proud of you for baking this family recipe handed down from Bubbe, to my mother and now to you. Ah, tradition, it is so delicious!

    1. Ha, it's a few directions but it's not complicated! I updated to say the recipe came from Bubbe. Yeah, I don't know who keeps these around long enough, mine are gone! Thank you very much!

  2. Hello, I am curious about the comment that butter would void the kosher aspect. I thought with kosher you could not mix dairy with meat - but there's no meat? Just curious.

    1. You're right, I should have been a bit more specific. It's also a bit more complicated than avoiding mixing the two though I am truly not a Kosher expert.

      That said, made with oil, these are Kosher year 'round except for Passover (the flour) and Kosher for Sabbath. Butter would void the Kosher for Sabbath. As it turns out though too, butter manufacturing has changed over the years and not all butters are Kosher either. Whey cream is often used instead of sweet cream.

      Overall and not directly related to your question, butter would take these in a biscotti direction whereas oil is traditional.

      I hope that's helpful and clarifies somewhat! Thanks for your great question!


Spam is not good for baking. Please don't leave any, thanks.

Follow @thebakedept on Instagram