Given Hanukkah’s shifting schedule, this date may or may not match up to the Festival of Light. However, I wanted to share this Jewish cookie recipe because it’s one of my favorites and the double bake time makes it perfect for baking on a cold December day. Mandel bread is similar to biscotti but easier on the teeth, as it has some oil to keep it from being too hard. And even though Mandelbrodt translates to "almond bread," it may be baked with different types of nuts. This one is made with toasted pecans and chopped chocolate.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Make the base: Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium-size bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and foamy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed and add the oil. By hand or using the lowest speed of the mixer, stir in the flour mixture. When the flour is incorporated, stir in the pecans and chocolate.
Divide the batter into 4 equal-size portions. On the prepared baking sheet, shape each portion into a log about 5½-by-2½-inches, spacing the logs about 3½ inches apart to allow for spreading. The dough should be slightly sticky but not unmanageable. If the dough seems very sticky, place it in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.
Make the topping: Stir together the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the topping over the logs. Bake for 25 minutes. Let the logs cool on the pan for 30 minutes, or until you are ready for round 2 of baking.
When ready to bake again, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a serrated knife, cut crosswise slightly on the diagonal every ½ inch. Place cut side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are dry. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Baker’s Note: Because the dough is often looser, it may be baked in a loaf pan.