Biscotti - Mandlebroit in Disguise
By Eileen Goltz
One of the worst kept secrets in the cookie world is that the wildly popular cookie, the biscotti, that is now appearing on trendy cookie plates, is actually mandlebroit in disguise. Bragging rights are being debated even as we speak.
Mandlebroit has been part of the Jewish culinary experience for centuries. Actually the first known written recipe is said to date from about the early 1700s and comes from an Eastern European cookbook, whose origins are said to be Italian. Because the cookie is twice baked, it doesn’t spoil easily (which was very important in those days before refrigeration).
Word of this amazing cookie spread and in Italy, especially with its large Jewish population, it became tremendously popular. Today there are as many different recipes for mandlebroit/biscotti as there were countries that the Jews lived in.
If you want to get technical, the only real differences between biscotti and mandlebroit is the size of the cookie and the length of the time you do the second baking. Texturally there is really no difference between the two.
The biscotti are larger and second baked for a shorter time than the mandlebroit. So, realistically, when you have the chevrah over you can serve “mandlebroit” and when the steering committee for the new neighborhood playground shows up you’ve got “biscotti.”
Mandlebroit/biscotti is truly one of the few cookie recipes almost
impossible to ruin. You can add dried fruits and nuts or chocolate or
anything else (except fresh fruit, too moist) that your heart desires, or your
Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray or parchment. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, anise seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and set aside.
In another bowl whisk together the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice, and
add to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Working on a floured surface, shape
Biscotti will crisp as they cool. Store in an airtight container, up to one month.
Makes about four dozen biscotti.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cocoa, and mix well. Add the cocoa, but do not blend completely: use the cocoa to make swirls instead. Grease (or spray with non-stick cooking spray) several loaf pans and put no more than 1 inch high of batter in each pan. This will give you a wide flat loaf similar to the style found in the bakeries.
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.
Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes. Do not over-bake. This recipe will get crisper after being taken from the oven. Makes three dozen cookies.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, almond flavor and oil. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, chips, raisins and nuts. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Mix by hand (not by mixer) until combined. On two ungreased cookie sheets, form dough into 3 loaves. (If dough is too sticky to handle, add more flour.) Sprinkle the loaves generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and turn oven to 400°F. Slice loaves into 1-inch slices. Arrange slices, bottom side down, on cookie sheet. Turn the oven off and place the biscotti back in oven for 25 minutes. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a large baking sheet. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, and set aside. In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until they are light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and beat until well combined. Stir in flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. On baking sheet, with floured hands, form dough into two slightly flattened logs, each 12 inches long and 2 inches wide.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Bake for 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove log to a cutting board (you can cut on the cookie sheet if you prefer). On the cutting board, cut the biscotti diagonally into 3/4 -inch slices. Arrange cut sides down on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack. This keeps for 7-10 days in an air-tight container and can be frozen for 2 months. Makes 21/2 to three dozen cookies.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and the cloves until mixed well. In a small bowl, whisk together the espresso, milk, yolk and vanilla, adding the mixture to the flour mixture, beating until a dough is formed. Stir in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, knead it several times and divide it in half. Working on a large buttered and floured baking sheet (with floured hands), form each piece of dough into a flattish log 12 inches long by 2 inches wide and arrange the logs at least 3 inches apart on the sheet. Bake for 35 minutes and let the logs cool on the baking sheet on a rack for about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. On a cutting board (or on the cookie sheet), cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut sides down, on the baking sheet, and bake them for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or until they are pale golden. Transfer the biscotti to racks to cool and store them in airtight containers. Makes three dozen biscotti.
*NOTE: To toast & skin hazelnuts, put in one layer in preheated 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes or until they are colored lightly and skins blistered. Wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel and let them steam for 1 minute. Rub the nuts in the towel to remove as much skin as possible and let them cool.
These recipes first appeared in Jewish Action Winter 5760/1999