Today's a very special day! A group of bloggers, led by Lauren from Sew You Think You Can Cook have joined together to celebrate a very special lady. Tara just had baby number two! And we are celebrating with twice baked cookies. Have you been to her blog - Tara's Multicultural Table? Beautiful pics. Amazing food. It's a great resource if you're planning an international menu or just want to learn about dishes from across the world..
For this event, I made some guava mandelbrot. Mandelbrot ("almond bread") is an Eastern European version of the Italian biscotti. Like the name suggests, they are typically made with almonds. Now, the history of the mandelbrot is a bit murky to me. The difference between the biscotti and the mandelbrot is even murkier. It seems that Italian Jews introduced their cookies to Eastern European Jews. In Eastern Europe, they were called mandelbrot. If you poll ten different persons, you will probably hear ten completely different explanations about the difference. Mandelbrot is softer. No, it's harder. Mandelbrot has more fat. No it doesn't. Mandelbrot uses oil to account for dietary restrictions. I found a recipe that used butter. The ratio of flour to eggs is different. One is sweeter. Etc.
I really have no idea. I think both recipes evolved so much over time that's it's hard to tell a difference. What I do know is that this is one delicious twice baked cookie. I opted for a mandelbrot with a filling - specifically, guava jam. I'm currently riding a guava jam craving and depending on my mood, there could be another guava jam recipe coming next week. Anyway, I came across this recipe on Sarabeth Levine's blog and she got the recipe from her mother-in-law.
The cookies are DELICIOUS. They were definitely a wee bit softer than traditional biscotti. But if left in the oven longer, they would harden more. However, I love them as is. I am not a cookie-baker and I could do this. I encourage you to try this recipe with your favourite jam (GUAVA, use GUAVA). The only thing that I'd do differently next time is to roll the cookies a bit of cinnamon sugar before their second bake. I meant to do it this time, but I put them in the oven and forgot the cinnamon sugar sitting on the counter. It's probably for the best though. They were sweet enough as is. Plus, I am still pretending to give up refined sugar for Lent. When you're finished making these, leave your oven on so you can make the other delicious biscottis that you'll find listed below.
Congrats, Tara! And thanks for hosting, Lauren!
Recipe by: Kelly Adapted from: slightly from Sarabeth's
Yield: ~14 cookies
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
8 teaspoons orange juice
1/4 cup guava jam (or thinly sliced guava jam)
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stop and scrape the bowl when necessary. Gradually add the egg and vanilla then beat in the baking powder and salt.
Slowly add in the flour in three additions alternating with the orange juice. Mix until it just comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and pat into a thick rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured parchment, knead the dough a few times until smooth. Sprinkle the top lightly with flour then roll out to a 1/4" thick rectangle measuring about 16" x 8".
Spread the jam over the dough leaving a 1/2" border around the edges.If using guava paste, lay the slices evenly across the dough. Fold the shorter sides over one inch. With a longer edge facing you, fold the top third down and the bottom third up (a letter fold).
Lift the parchment with the dough and place the dough seam side down on the prepared half sheet pan. Remove the paper that's now on top.
Bake 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Slice at an angle into 3/4"-1" pieces. Put the cookies (non-jam side down) back on the sheet pan. Return to oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted
You could also bake them cut-side down as is down with biscotti. You'll a little jam stuck to your parchment - not a big deal.
Try rolling in some cinnamon sugar before the second bake.