Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mandelbrot, mandel bread, or Jewish biscotti

You pick what they're called. Mandelbrot, mandel bread, Jewish biscotti, zwieback, etc. Whatever you call them, they're great. I have bought gluten-free biscotti a number of times, or sampled them from various places, and they always are not actual biscotti. They are actually more along these lines. These cookies, which I have to warn you, are addictive. I just had to take a break from writing this post to go and eat another one, which I am too embarrassed to admit what number that one was. 

If you don't think you've had Mandelbrot before, you probably have. I didn't know what they were called until recently. They are crispy but not hard on your teeth (or gums). I will hopefully remember to make these when I've got teething kids, because I think these would be good. These are light, twice baked cookies, made the same as biscotti. They have a subtle almond lemon flavor, but I like them with cinnamon as well. They are very light and airy. They weigh almost nothing, and unfortunately are very conducive to accidentally eating a whole ton of them without getting full. If you can't picture what they taste like, just make them. They're great. Plus, they keep on the counter for quite a while. 

Don't forget to comment to win a copy of the gluten-free girl book!
Inspired by Ellen over at I Am Gluten Free. She made some that triggered my craving, but I tried to adapt a similar recipe and it didn't work (but I didn't try her recipe! I'm sure hers works!). Instead, I based my gluten-free adaptation on this recipe I found at through Google search. 

2 1/3 c flour mix
1/2 t xanthan gum
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 c oil 
1 c sugar
3 eggs
zest from 1 lemon
2 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
1 t cinnamon
Optional- chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips or small chopped pieces of chocolate, chopped dried fruit

Preheat oven to 325. Whisk together the flour mix, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk the oil into the sugar, then add the eggs, followed by the lemon zest, vanilla, and almond extract. Stir the egg mix into the flour mixture, and then sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Fold the cinnamon in, leaving some swirls. You might think the dough is too runny to turn into perfect little cookies, but don't worry. 

There are two ways of getting the cookies from the bowl onto your cookie sheet (silpat or parchment paper lined). The first way, which is what I did, is use two big spoons and plop three fairly straight lines onto your cookie sheet. The second option, which I will do next time, is to scrape all the dough into a plastic bag and cut a whole in the tip and pipe three thick lines onto your cookie sheet. If they're not perfectly straight, that's ok. 

Stick the cookies in the oven for 30 minutes. Pull them out, but keep the oven on. Let the cookie lines (which will have puffed a bit) cool for about 10 minutes, then cut into 3/4 inch slices with a serrated knife. Place all the cookies standing up (very important! if they're lying down they'll brown and turn out wrong) on the cookie sheet and bake 10-15 minutes. Take them out if they start to brown! Cookies will crisp up when they cool. Store in a plastic bag (or cookie jar) on the counter. 


  1. I've never tried making mandelbrot gluten-free, but why not, I really do like taste of them.

    Yours look great!

  2. I've never heard of this before, and to me zweibach is buns (mennonite girl here, hehe). But if it's a cookie, and it's light, I'm in! These look fantastic!

  3. Anonymous6:02 PM

    I just finished making your cookies and they are really good! Mine didn't really brown like yours on the outside though. I have several of your recipes printed out and on hand, but today I finally tried one. Can't wait to have one with a cup of tea tonight before bed!

  4. These sound amazing! I love biscotti, but I also love the almond lemon flavor you've described here. Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to try them!

  5. Oh wow, mandel bread! I think the last time I ate that was about 13 year ago when my mom made them. I haven't thought of those in YEARS. I am going to have to try this recipe. I think next weekend it's hamentashen time for me!

  6. It's been years since I've had this, and GF?! What a treat! Thanks for sharing :)

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