Dried Fruit and Olive Oil Mandelbrei

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  26 cookies
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour

Dried Fruit and Olive Oil Mandelbrei

Twice-baked, like biscotti, but much more tender (and easier on the teeth), these traditional Ashkenazi treats are just made for dunking. I fondly recall munching my Great Aunt Cele’s mandlebrei (or mandelbrot, if you prefer) all the time as a child. The addition of olive oil gives this treat a new richness and depth. Yum.

Ingredients

¾ cup (160 grams) extra-virgin olive oil

¾ cup (155 grams) brown sugar

¼ cup (51 grams) granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons (10 grams) pure vanilla bean paste

½ teaspoon rose water

3½ cups (455 grams) all-purpose, unbleached flour

¾ teaspoon (3 grams) coarse salt

1½ teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda

2 teaspoons (4.6 grams) ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cardamom

12 scrapes nutmeg (see Kitchen Tip)

½ cup (115 grams) minced dried apricots

¼ cup (30 grams) dried cranberries or barberries (see Kitchen Tips)

½ cup (65 grams) salted pistachios

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil spray and line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine the oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and rose water in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix at medium-low speed until well blended. (You can also do this in a mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer.)
  3. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg on a sheet of parchment paper. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in one batch and mix at low speed, until just combined. Add the dried fruits and pistachios and mix until combined.
  4. Place the dough in the center of the prepared baking sheet and shape into a 12-inch by 2½-inch log. (It will be 1½ to 2 inches high.) Bake for 36 to 40 minutes, until the log is golden in color and has expanded in size to about 13 by 4 inches. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes and transfer to a work surface.
  5. Line the baking sheet with clean parchment paper. With a long serrated knife, gently slice the log on the diagonal into ½ inch thick slices. You will have 26 cookies. Gently move each slice, cut side up, onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake again for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are toasted, a crust has formed where they were cut  and they are slightly firm to the touch in the center. These cookies are a bit softer than biscotti.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Nutmeg is available ground, but if you buy the whole nutmeg and grate it or scrape it with a sharp knife yourself, the flavor and fragrance will be much stronger. Look for it in specialty spice stores, good supermarket spice sections, or online.
  1. The barberry is the tart fruit of a shrub that grows in both Europe and Central Asia. These berries are popular in Persian cooking and are used to impart a tart note to a variety of dishes. They are typically used in dried form. Available online and at Middle Eastern and Indian markets, they are loaded with nutrients—very much akin to a superfood. They are also sold under the name zereshk. Click here for one source.

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