Gami knows everything! Especially food. The years of experience she had baking in the kitchen of her family’s Catskills hotel, qualify her as an expert. So, when she met her friend Adele and felt that Adele’s Mandelbrot cookies recipe was the best she ever had, trust me it was. My childhood memories are filled with times sitting at the table with my grandparents eating these cookies from the tin. It was a special treat that I’m happy to pass on to you.
When people that you love get older, it’s such a blessing when they share something with you like a story or a recipe. My grandmother, now 98, would never be able to teach me how to make these Mandelbrot cookies now but thankfully I got the recipe and some lessons from her in her 80s and early 90s. It opened the door to me learning more about her history through food.
So why, you might ask is a travel blog sharing a cookie recipe? I think we can all agree that one of the best parts of travel is interesting and delicious food from other countries. This little recipe migrated itself over from Eastern Europe to the Catskills and eventually to Los Angeles. Another reason that it’s on my mind is that ancestry travel is one of the biggest travel trends for 2020 and I think it sounds so interesting.
When I was a kid my grandfather was very dedicated to building a family tree. He created a huge scroll of everything he discovered. It wasn’t unusual for people of his generation to travel to investigate and learn more about their ancestors. Then it seemed to fall out of favor with so much information available on the internet. Sites like Ancestry.com satisfied people’s curiosity without having to step outside the front door.
Enter the DNA test. Have you seen a video where someone gets their results from 23andMe and is completely shocked about their ancestry? This information has sparked a whole new wave of ancestry travel. People want to know where they came from and what it actually feels like to be there. Maybe we’ll venture off to the Ukraine or Poland where I think this recipe started out and jump on the ancestry travel bandwagon. We may need to stop by the Catskills on the way. I know the old amazing “Dirty Dancing” type hotels are gone but there are a bunch of new resorts popping up.
Back to the Cookies – What is Mandelbrot?
Mandelbrot cookies are basically a Jewish biscotti. They are crunchy but they have more of a cookie texture than Italian biscotti. Perfect with coffee or an after dinner sweet treat, they make a great hostess or holiday gift!
Gami’s Mandelbrot Cookies Recipe
Jewish Biscotti Type Cookie
- 2 Oranges, rind only
- 4 Eggs, Extra Large
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Vegetable Oil
- 4 cups All Purpose Flour
- 3 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1½ tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp Almond Extract
- ½ cup Shredded Coconut
- 1⅓ cup Toasted Whole Almonds
- 1 cup Chocolate Chips or Currants
In a mixer, beat together rinds, eggs, sugar and oil for 5 -10 minutes.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture.
Add vanilla, almond extract, coconut, almonds and chocolate chips (or whatever you decide to include). Chill overnight.
Preheat over to 325 degrees. Roll into ropes on floured board. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly brown.
While hot, cut into pieces on the diagonal.
Lay flat and sprinkle slices lightly with sugar and cinnamon. It's best if you combine sugar and cinnamon together first.
Place in oven and bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until crisp and golden.