Confession: I'm not a huge fan.
I mean, I like them and all. But they're not my favorite. Too crunchy, too crumbly. Good, but not life-changing.
Confession #2: Not only have I never made them before, I have never seen anyone make them before.
Yep, never followed Bubbie around the kitchen for these puppies. I have perfected her carrot cake, so you can see where my priorities lie.
So when a request was made for mandelbrot, I had to go back to the source. I called my mom, who has both of my Bubbies' recipes (both are, thank God, still living, but neither one bakes any more...in their mid-90s, both of them!)...and she scanned them in for me.
Both clearly well-worn and well-used recipe cards. What the heck is Spry? Turns out, it's like Crisco.
So, without any Spry, I knew that oil would be my fat of choice. Then I opened every single Jewish cookbook I own (I think there are about 10), enlisted my mom and my mother-in-law in their recollection of mandelbrot baking, and even made a phone call to Bubbie Rose while baking. I knew she'd kvell that I was making mandelbrot, and I figured it didn't hurt to question an expert...
So here's the recipe I adapted from a conglomeration of sources:
Traditional (?) Mandelbrot
1 cup sugar1 cup canola oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts lightly toasted
3 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together eggs, sugar, oil, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Add 3 cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon. (Okay, Bubbie said "use a wooden spoon, or whatever you want to mix it.) Add more flour if you think it's too sticky. If you never made it before, don't add any extra flour because it's probably fine.
Add the chopped nuts, and stir them in.
On a cookie sheet lined with parchment (or greased, but I'm a parchment gal), shape into logs. I think mine were a little too wide.
Remove from oven, and while hot, slice the logs, like so:
(According to my dad AND my mom, this is the time to "snitch" one off the cookie sheet. I agree. They're really good soft and hot.)
I plan to make them again this week with my mom, so she can lend a more practiced eye. I think I would chop the nuts more finely, but others said that they liked that there was a bite to the nuts. This experience opened me up to a lot of things I've never made, let alone watched anyone else make. For example, I've never made rugelach, or teigelach, or even keneidlach. I've seen kreplach made, but never done it myself. What other great old Jewish foods are out there that I don't know how to make? I'm a hamantashen maven. So...now I'm going to learn. Rugelach are next in the new series here at Ima on and off the Bima... "My Inner Bubbie." Stay tuned!
By the way, I heard that Creative Jewish Mom was hosting a link-up party for Jewish crafts and recipes today (tomorrow?) so I might update with a link over to that.