Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mandelbrot


I don't remember the first time I tried mandelbrot but I do remember the last time. My friend and fellow pastry chef had made them for a party. She's Chinese but grew up in Vietnam and I thought how strange/funny/great it was that she was making this Askenazi Jewish version of Italian biscotti. Did I just blow your mind with too many cultural references! Well, that's what baking is like. And when something is as good and as old as biscotti it's bound to make it around the world a few times. 

I never did get my friend's recipe; I recall them being hefty, crispy and  studded with nuts and dried fruits, also, not too sweet. I cobbled this one together from a few sources (there isn't a Bubbie out there who doesn't have a recipe for mandelbrot), but mostly this recipe which also has some great tips for successful outcomes that I am too lazy to write here. 

These are definitely cookies that you can make ahead and squirrel away in a tin on top of the fridge for whatever. And you certainly want to make sure you have a cup of hot something on hand in which to dunk them because they are meant to be crunchy. Although I did deploy my secret weapon, almond flour, making these cookies somewhat more tender then they are traditionally. I made them a little sweeter as well because life is short and cookies should be sweet. And they are fully loaded with yummy yums like white chocolate and dried cherries. 

Mandelbrot (adapted from this recipe)

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups raw cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur)
1 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dried cherries, roughly chopped
2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup white chocolate, chopped into tiny pieces (I used Perugina)
1/4 cup sanding sugar for top (I used demerara)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla in a mixer and beat on medium for about 5 minutes. In another bowl combine flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mix to eggs and mix on low. Add cherries, almonds and chocolate and mix just until everything comes together.

Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Make sure your hands are clean and a little damp, and quickly form each portion into a log roughly 9" by 2". Keep your hands clean otherwise the dough will stick to them and you'll have a devil of a time making nice neat logs. Place 2 logs on a sheet tray, keeping at least 2 inches between them, sprinkle tops with sanding sugar. Bake for 30 minutes. They won't be done all the way, but don't worry they get backed again. Remove trays from oven and lower it to 300 degrees.

After the logs have cooled for 10 minutes cut each into 3/4 inch slices and leave them on the trays. Return cookies to the oven and bake an additional 30 minutes or until they are lightly brown around the edges. Don't over bake them at this stage or they will be hard instead of crunchy. Makes about 36 to 40 cookies.









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