Monday, April 18, 2011

Time-Out: Mandel Bread

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Growing up, I always thought I was lucky to be a "halfsie", half Jewish (courtesy of Mom) and half Catholic (courtesy of Dad).  Neither grew up, themselves, completely religious so we learned about both religions, celebrated all of the religious holidays, and got presents for Christmas and Hanukkah.  As kids, the double present part was by far the best. 

Now, I love the fact that we get to celebrate both of our parents heritages.  While, as grown-ups, it might seem like a contradiction to incorporate both religions into our lives, I liken it to family traditions, rather than a uniquely religious tie.  Plus, for both sides of the family, holidays are mostly celebrated by foods.  It is no surprise then, that Passover, which starts tomorrow, has us eating lots of Matzoh.  While I don't eschew flour or breads during Passover, I do make a conscious effort to eat Matzoh and other "approved" products.

In fact, Mom and I, miles apart, both stocked up for the holiday.  We also both made her infamous Mandel Bread.  When we went out to dinner with K and her boyfriend last weekend, he had never heard of Mandel Bread before.  I tried to explain that Mandel was pronounced like the word fondle.  Well, I'm pretty sure in their house it is now being referred to as fondle bread.  Oops.  Anyway, the bread is delicious, and its easy to make during passover when potato starch and cake meal are in abundance (and I found both on sale). It's incredibly easy and delicious; it's a great dessert bread, even for Easter!  I encourage you to reach across religious and cultural boundaries and try this baby out!  You'll be glad you did!
Mandel Bread
Serves:  2 loaves, 16 people
2 cups + 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 pound butter/margarine

6 eggs
2 3/4 cups cake meal
3/4 cup potato starch
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (or bittersweet chocolate chips)
1 cup nuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream 2 cups of sugar and butter/margarine.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  In another bowl, sift together potato starch and cake meal.  Slowly fold the potato starch into the creamed mixture.  Stir in chocolate and nuts.  Grease cookie sheets and form loaves on it.  In a small bowl, combine remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle loaves with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

You can also substitute potato starch for corn starch.  I have with no noticeable differences.  I wouldn't suggest substituting out the cake meal though.  That's what gives the bread its distinct texture.  Also, I frequently leave the nuts out if they are too expensive!

Easy and delicious, and just in time for Passover.  But, I'm telling you, it would be great for your Easter table too!

Until the next time my oven is on...


  1. I feel like I could have written this myself! I once got in an argument at college when someone told me I can't be both... well I am! To me it's all about honoring the traditions that come with the holidays (which, of course, include food), rather than the more religious aspects.


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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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