Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No, This is NOT Biscotti

I wanted to do something interesting for my readers. I wanted to be innovative or at least off-trend. I thought and thought and came up with an idea: rice paper chips. I have all this rice paper from my foray into spring rolls just sitting in the cupboard waiting to be used. I figured that spring roll skins get crispy when fried, so shouldn't they get crispy when baked? Then I had another brilliant idea: fruit salsa. Cinnamon sugar rice paper chips and fruit salsa. Brilliant, no? Well Miss M didn't think so. I told her that I wanted to make fruit salsa, so she started telling me about this mango salsa her friend makes with jicama and red onion. No no no. I said that was mango salsa, not fruit salsa. She didn't get it.  We started arguing back and forth.

MM: Mango is a fruit. Ergo, fruit salsa.
BB:  No, that's mango salsa.
MM: Mango is just more specific.
BB: But mine is a dessert or a breakfast.
MM: Mango salsa falls under the fruit salsa umbrella.
BB: But I'm not talking about salsa in the conventional sense.
MM: You're talking about a fruit SALAD.

Don't worry. I got the last word in. My theory is that if you cut up fruit into tiny pieces, squeeze in some lime, maybe some honey, throw in some mint and let it marinate, it is called SALSA. And don't even try to argue with me--I come with a legal mind that can shut down anything you may say. Hmph.  Moving along, I decided to try out my chip idea last night. I took out two sheets of rice paper, wet them, and stuck them on a greased baking sheet. Then I lightly brushed the tops with olive oil and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. While cooking, these things bubble up and look like aliens are trying to break out from under them. When done, they are crispy in some parts and chewy in others. In other words, they do not make good chips when baked, and since I do not fry, they don't make good chips at all.

So I started thinking about other stuff--something with tapioca and fruit salsa, or maybe graham cracker crusts. But you know what? I said screw it, and decided to make Mandel Bread. For those of you not in the know, Mandelbrodt, also known as Mandel Bread, is an Eastern European Jewish dessert. It may look like biscotti, and may be twice-baked like biscotti, but it is not biscotti. It is a denser, more substantial cookie.  It is not dry or crispy, but is slightly moist and  crumbles in your mouth almost like a Pecan Sandie. It is not dipped in chocolate and does not need to be dipped in chocolate despite my love of everything chocolate. It is also never made with anise because anise is disgusting and Jews do not put disgusting things in their dessert. Instead, it is traditionally almond-flavored, sometimes laced with chocolate chips, and absolutely delicious. Like the Rugelach I made, you can play with the add-ins, but I think this is one place where tradition reigns supreme. So do yourself a favor and make some Mandelbrodt--it's better than biscotti.


Almond Mondelbrodt
Makes 4 Dozen

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup slivered almonds*

*If you are out, you can chop up some whole almonds like I did. This, however, makes the dough a little stickier.

Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Beat the eggs until they are thick and light. Keep beating, gradually adding the sugar, then the oil, and then the extracts.

2. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and almonds. If you want chocolate chips or dried fruit, add them in here as well.

3. About a third at a time, mix in well until all ingredients are combined. Dough is slightly wet and sticky.

4. On a floured surface, knead dough about 20 turns. If you have a dough scraper, this would be a great place to use it instead of your hands to prevent sticking.

5. Divide into 3 pieces. On a well oiled baking sheet, shape into strips about 3 inches wide, 1 inch high, and 10-12 inches long. If you have a biscotti pan, I am jealous because my molding skills can use some work.

6. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown.

7. Remove from oven, and while still warm, cut into 1/2 inch slices. Return to oven and let lightly brown, about 5 minutes.


The Cilantropist said...

Oh wow, I don't really know how something could be better than biscotti (oh how i love biscotti), but I think I will trust you on this one. :) Lovely photos!

Fashion Meets Food said...

wow you have some amazing recipes! I just found your blog, and you now have a new follower!


Baking Barrister said...

@Cilantroist: pfffft. many things are better than biscotti. trust me--i would not steer you wrong! they look kind of jenga-ish, no?

@Fashion - aw! Thanks! glad to have you aboard.

Lauren said...

Nice biscotti.

Monet said...

I am ashamed to say I've never tried or heard of Mandel bread (quite embarrassing, I know). But it sounds like something I would enjoy greatly, especially with the inclusion of almond extract.

Kathy Gori said...

Wwow, I'm Italian and those look like biscotti to me!! Amazing.I've gotta try this.

Le said...

Haha at the fruit/mango salsa debate! I had a debate like this with the whole paw paw and papaya thing. Needless to say I won. lol.

Your Mandel bread looks yummy! I think I've tasted this before, from how you describe it, this is def what I had awhile back and thought it was just someone who jazzed up a biscotti mix.

Deeba PAB said...

I like the sound of these Mandelbrodt ... never heard of them, but mighty intrigued! Bookmarked to make soon!

kattyskitchen said...

Tower of Mandelbrodt Power plating--yeahhhhh! How many seconds till all fall down? :) NOM!

baking.serendipity said...

Ingenious! I love it :)

Gina -aka-spcookiequeen said...

On my must try list! I would have thought they were biscottis too!

Pacheco Patty said...

Not biscotti looks good stacked up! I've made mandelbrot from a recipe in one of Nick Malgieri's baking cookbooks and it's good, a kind of jewish biscotti with more oil so its a bit more tender than biscotti. I like mandelbrot, the name alone is great!

Biren said...

You are a good stacker! These mondelbrodts do look good. I think it will be even better with a cup of tea.

Evan @swEEts said...

Love the argument of mango salsa- always a good delicious if I do say so myself.. but these cookies better than biscotti!? I've got to try this! I just posted a chocolate biscotti on my blog if you'd like to check it out!

Megan said...

look at that cool tower! I love it! super cool -

FrenchPressMemos said...

I could not help but feel guilty when I saw the title of this post after tweeting you about my biscotti when you were talking about something that is NOT biscotti-Mondelbrodt!

Love the recipe and I might try it along side my almond biscotti- just for comparison's sake!

Baking Barrister said...

@Lauren - boo. I will get you.

@Monet - no one I know knows what it is until I introduce them unless they happen to be Jewish. It's a closely held secret.

@Kathy - I've had people ask if they're biscotti, so I totally get it. They're very different though.

@Le - that is a great description! one must also debate for that which is correct in this world ;)

@Deeba - welcome! definitely try making it--add in some chocolate chips, too! that's my second favorite.

@Katty - they kept falling down on me! there were these crumbs and I kept trying to blow the crumbs away and it kept knocking them down. And then I had to move. Ugh.

@baking serendipity - thanks! I try!

@Gina - I'll forgive you ;) these really just don't get as crispy as biscotti, which makes their texture quite different.

@Patty - I'll have to try out that recipe. I like this one, but my favorite bakery's is a little different and I will never stop trying to duplicate it.

@Biren - my stacking abilities are such crap. they kept falling down ;( and they are very good with tea--it's what all the old Jewish ladies do.

@Evan -- yes betttterr. I think it's a textural thing for me. Plus I find these more moist. I do like biscotti though. And yours looked great!

@Megan - thanks! and welcome! you're new here, too

@Andra - don't worry about it, just make up for it with a comparison and let me know how it goes. I need vindication. ;)

katiez said...

Um, where's the fruit salad, er, I mean, salsa? I think it would go great with the biscuits (not bisoctti, biscuits - an all encompassing British term for anything crunchy and sweet - commonly shortened to 'biccy' - didn't say it was logical)
You're Mandelbrodt looks lovely ;-)

Chef Bee said...

Haven't made from scratch yet but willing to try your recipe.

Plan B

mysimplefood said...

Hi!! Nice recipe. It does look like biscotti to me. Could fool me but who cares when it taste good right? :)

islandeat said...

Hi, BB. Yes, your recipe is a bit different from my grandmother's I just posted (mine has twice the oil! and just one-half cup flour more and no baking powder, which I did not miss). I agree about maintaining traditions, but my mandelbrot would be really good half-dipped in chocolate - better, I posit, than biscotti with such treatment....

I don't mind anise seed these days, but your post is making me try to figure out whether there are disgusting things in Jewish desserts (raisins, for instance, which I typically do not like in most baking). Of course,some Jewish desserts really are not so great, I have to say! I maintain that American baked goods and French pastry are the ultimate in sweet things.



Rick said...

I was confused about the unbiscottiness. I used to get these cookies when I was little. They look so good!

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