My mother in law, Pearl Goldberg, was a pretty bad cook. We usually dreaded the dinners she made but we loved her warm company. Pearl was a real people person. As mother in laws go they don’t get any better. Sadly, she died, of ovarian cancer, about 2 years ago.
Whenever we used to visit, she would have a freezer full of home baked cookies and cakes prepared for us. Although she was a perfectly awful cook, the woman could bake wonderful cookies. Her best loved recipe was mandel bread. It’s like Jewish biscotti.
She kept all of her recipes in one of those old fashioned metal boxes, on 3 X 5 index cards. Soon after she died, I copied down the mandel bread one but I haven’t had the occasion to make it until recently. I really wanted to try it for an upcoming community event.
Here’s the recipe:
Preheat oven to 350
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks)
2 Tablespoons crisco
1 and a half cups sugar
3 eggs
4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1 and a half teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 and a half cups chopped nuts (I used toasted pecans)
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the wets. Add the nuts.
Roll into 3 logs and bake, on a cookie sheet, at 350 for about 35 minutes.
When they come out, cool on rack for 5-10 minutes. Then slice, with a sharp knife, into cookies. Put them back onto cookie sheet and toast them about 10 minutes per side or until they start to have just a little color.
Cool on rack.
They’re great with coffee or tea!
Pearl always stored them in the freezer, in layers with wax paper, in a plastic container.
So, here they are:
My husband says they tasted like “the real thing”. I’m not really sure if she used walnuts or pecans but they sure were good with our local “Elliot” variety of pecans.
Let me know if you make them.


Pearl’s Mandel Bread — 6 Comments

  1. What a love-filled recipe, Jan! That’s so special to have the recipe, to bake them off, and then have your dearly beloved tell you they are as good as his mom’s. That’s pretty close to perfection, girl!

  2. Jan, this sounds pretty similar to my grandmother’s recipe except for the Crisco. She always used walnuts. I agree, they are wonderful cookies!

  3. Oh jan, what a lovely tribute and for me, pretty timely – I could use this recipe to bake something to take to the funeral for a friend’s 93 year old mother tomorrow. My own mother had one of those metal recipe boxes, but most of her recipes involved jello molds, LOL – think I could make a small recipe book from those alone.

  4. Souns like a wonderful woman and to have your husband tell you that your cookies were like the real thing is a wonderful comment

  5. Jan, those look so good and the recipe quite simple, I think I could even make them!
    Your MIL must have been a delight to know.