My mom and grammy called this mandel bread, but I always heard mongrel bread which always caused snorts of laughter around the table. Whatever you want to call it, this is a cup of coffee’s and a lazy morning’s best friend. This is a terrific recipe to make with your kids. I still remember shaping the dough and getting flour everywhere! There are many versions of this recipe, but here is the one I grew up with (we didn’t add chocolate chips but an easy add if desired).
3 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled-off
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
14 T unsalted butter (almost 2 sticks), melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
3/4 cup almonds, walnuts or pecans
2 T cinnamon-sugar (combine 2 T sugar with 3/4 t cinnamon)
Optional: 2/3 cup chocolate chips
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract. Beat on medium speed until creamy and pale yellow, a few minutes.
3. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated, then mix in the nuts (and chocolate chips, if using). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill until firm, 1-2 hours.
4. Preheat oven 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Shape the dough into 2 logs about 2 inches wide, making sure they aren't too close together or too close to the edges of the pan. (If it's still sticky, dust your hands with flour.)
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to 250 degrees.
7. Let the baked logs cool for about 15 minutes, then slice them diagonally about every 3/4-inch into cookies.
8. Flip the cookies on their side, then sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar over top. Flip the cookies over and repeat with the remaining cinnamon-sugar.
9. Place the pan back in the oven (be sure you turned temperature down to 250 degrees!) and cook until golden and crisp, about an hour.
10. Remove from oven and allow them to cool. Store in an airtight container.