With pockets of almond paste and coarsely chopped almonds, this mandelbrot hearkens back to its probable history—mandel meaning "almond" in Yiddish. A twice baked cookie like Italian biscotti, mandelbrot is made for dunking in your favorite hot beverage and stays fresh for days.
I'm not really sure what makes mandelbrot so endearing, but this is a cookie to win hearts and converts. It seems like the worst idea ever to take a nice, soft cookie and purposely bake it till it's crisp, but in mandelbrot, it's magic. And in these particular mandelbrot, the use of almond paste means you get these wonderful pockets of slightly gooey almond flavor on top of the almond chunks and, of course, chocolate bits. (You can leave the chocolate out for a fully almond experience; they're good both ways. Or, if you need a full-on chocolate experience, try my chocolate chip mandelbrot.)
These cookies are made with oil and orange juice, so they're effortlessly dairy-free, appropriate for snacking anytime one might need a satisfying, sweet-but-not-too-sweet nibble.
An easy-to-mix dough
One of the things that makes mandelbrot such a welcoming cookie is how down-to-earth it is to make them. This is a one-bowl recipe and the dough is nice and cooperative to work with. After mixing together the wet and dry ingredients until they're almost fully combined (like in the top left photo), you'll crumble in the almond paste (it's the little almondy-colored loaf all the way on the left by the orange in the top left photo) and fold in the chopped almonds and chocolate chips (or not).
You can buy almond paste for the recipe (it'll conveniently use one standard package), and marzipan would also work fine here, though your finished cookies will be sweeter. Kosher brands include Solo and Love 'n Bake; I usually see Solo at the supermarket, sometimes in the kosher section. You can also make your own almond paste easily using almond flour. The instructions are included in the recipe notes below, for the exact amount needed for use in these mandelbrot. It's an extra step, but an easy one; and it's one of those DIYs that really comes out better than the store product.
Shaping the cookies
Shaping mandelbrot is easy: you just divide the dough in half and pat it into a long, flattish loaf shape. You can bake both loaves on the same baking sheet. The cookies will rise a bit, but there's just enough room.
You'll take the mandelbrot out of the oven the first time when they're just beginning to get golden around the edges. Once they're cool enough to handle, slice the loaves width-wise in 1" / 2.5 cm intervals. Turn the pieces edges up and return to the oven for another bake, until the cookies are crisped on the outside and light golden in color.
Almond Mandelbrot (parve)
- 7-8 oz almond paste - 200 g - see notes for instructions to easily make your own
- 3 cups all-purpose flour - 375 g
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar - 200 g
- ½ cup oil
- ¼ cup orange juice - 60 ml
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped - 140 g
- ½ cup chocolate chips - 85 g - optional
For homemade almond paste (see notes):
- 2 cups almond flour - 200 g
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar - 75 g
- 1 to 1 ½ almond milk or water - 15 - 22 ml
Mix the mandelbrot dough:
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, and orange juice. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a spoon until just combined.
- Crumbled the almond paste with your fingers into the bowl. Stir gently to fold into the dough.
- Fold in the chopped almonds and chocolate chips, if using.
Shape and bake:
- In the bowl, divide the dough in half. Lift out one half and place it on the baking sheet. Shape into a slightly tapered loaf about 4“ / 10 cm wide and 15“ / cm long. Repeat with the second half, placing the two loaves about 3“ / 12 cm apart.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until set on top and beginning to brown at the edges. Allow to cool enough t handle. Slice widthwise 1“ / 2.5 cm apart. Set cut ends up. Return to the oven for 5-20 minutes, until golden and crisped.
Turn out of work bowl onto plastic wrap. Form into a log shape, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to a few weeks.