On Friday, December 11th, latkes will be fried, menorahs will be lit and at sundown the Festival of Lights known as Hanukkah begins. Growing up in New York City in the 60's, I hailed from a neighborhood of Jewish refugees from WW II, Italians, Greeks and a smattering of Chinese (fleeing the Cultural Revolution), African-Americans and Hispanics. My birthday parties often resembled a United Nations, Junior. I have poignantly sweet memories of spending Hanukkah with friends. While not one of the most significant of Jewish Holidays, the lit menorahs make it one of the prettiest.
Mandelbrots are a cousin to the almond biscotti. Oil is used instead of butter and chopped almonds replace ground almonds. Everything else is the same. And equally delicious.
2 cups flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder. In another large bowl (or stand mixer) beat eggs. Slowly add sugar to eggs and mix on high for about 3 minutes until mixture is thick and creamy. Add oil and extract and beat till combined. If using a stand mixer, change whisk attachment to dough paddle. Slowly add flour (in fourths) and then chopped almonds until mixture comes together. It will be thick.
Put dough on baking sheet. Using lightly oiled hands, mold into a log - about 12 inches by 3 inches. Bake for 45 minutes till browned and bread-like. Cool for ten minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut log diagonally into 1/2 inch logs. Bake cut-side down for five minutes. Turn cookie over and bake for an additional five minutes. Cool on racks.
"To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle." Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
"I ask not for a lighter burden but broader shoulders." Jewish Proverb
May your burdens be light, your shoulders broad and your life filled with light. As with the shammes (servant), the 9th candle used to light the other candles, may you know that giving light and love to others does not take away from your own radiance. Happy Hanukkah!