Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Mandelbrot for Hanukkah

Menorah photo: AP photo by Larry Crowe

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.
Mandelbrot Recipe
2 cups flour
1/4 t salt
2 eggs
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 the lights of Hanukkah usher in a better world for all of mankind." Author unknown.
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!


Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! Adore this recipe with a cup of tea at afternoon :)
Happy Hanukkah to you!



OysterCulture said...

I've never heard of Mandelbrots, but now I know much more about them and scored a recipe besides. I cannot wait to give them a try!

Anonymous said...

These mandelbrot look excellent! I've actually never made them myself! I'm trying to come up with something original for Hanukkah but I may go with just traditional latkes. My daughter's super excited for tomorrow night, we are still giving her a present every night :)

theUngourmet said...

This looks like such a nice treat with coffee. I love the almonds in here!

I bet your parties were a very fun time!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

The mandelbrot sounds delicious.

Happy Hanukkah to you!

Barbara GF said...

Wonderful looking mandelbrot, Claudia. It looks similar to biscotti, which is on my "to-bake" list. It's wonderful how ethnic backgrounds cross and come together in holiday foods. Yay for the light!

janet said...

That looks like it would be very satisfying with a cup of tea.
I grew up in Detroit, also in a diverse neighborhood, although not as diverse as yours. I love reading your memories. Happy Hanukkah!

KrisKishere said...

Those look delicious! I love anything involving almond.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

I enjoy learning more about Hanukkah. thanks for sharing this, I don't know a lot about Jewsih customs or foods.

chow and chatter said...

oh must have been fun growing up with so many cultures these look great and so soft

Lori Lynn said...

Great post Claudia. Happy Hanukkah! I'll be making latkes tonight!

Reeni said...

I've never had a mandelbrot! But I bet their delicious with a steaming mug of tea.

Velva said...

Claudia, I really liked this post. Growing-up on Miami Beach I have enjoyed celebrating Hanukkah with many of my Jewish friends. Always an amazing experience about history and traditions. Also like you, Miami's population was very diverse and parties I attended looked like United Nations too. I would not have changed a thing.I loved it!

Happy Hanukkah!

Mary Bergfeld said...

This looks wonderful and it is the first recipe for Mandlebrot that I've seen this holiday season. Happy Hanukkah.

Fresh Local and Best said...

This is the second time I'm hearing about madelbrodt, and I'm quite intrigued. This looks like such a great cookie to pair with coffee. Thanks for sharing!!!

Katy ~ said...

What a touching and well written post. I loved every word of it.

The madelbrodt looks and sounds very good. I don't think I have ever had one but now I want to. I am so inspired with the story that you shared. Thank you. You raised up my heart.

figtree said...

I always learn something when I visit your blog! These look great, Im invited to a latke party Saturday I know what to bring for dessert.

cheapappetite said...

I love biscotti, so I'm pretty sure I'll like mandelbrot too. Definitely looks good with a cup of coffee. Happy Hanukkah!

ann low said...

This really looks great. I am learning a new thing from you ~ Thanks.

Amber @ Native Food and Wine said...

I've never had madlebrots - they do look just like biscotti except that they look a little more airy. I love Jewish food. I lived for many years in a Hassidic neighborhood in LA - Fairfax and really enjoyed it.

Cheers and happy holidays to you.

Donna-FFW said...

Ive never had this before but it sounds excellent. Id love to try!

Heather S-G said...

Oh, these are so perfect. They're kinda like biscotti, right? I love almonds and so wish I had a couple to pair with my coffee right now!

La Bella Cooks said...

I am going to give these a go. They look and sound wonderful! Perfect with a cup of coffee.

Judy said...

Very informative post. Thanks so much for sharing. I must try these.

My Little Space said...

Claudia, do you celebrate Hanukkah as well? I am unfamiliar with this event or festival but will try to learn more about it over the site later! Thanks.