Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts tonight. Mandel Bread is staple dessert on our holiday table. It reminds me of a biscotti-style cookie, and is fantastic for dessert or breakfast served with coffee. My sister, Julie and my sister-in-law Debby, make the most incredible Mandel Bread I have ever tried. This is one of my favorite Mandel Bread recipes from my friend, Andy’s mom, Judy Rotenstreich. I am so thrilled to be serving Mandel Bread this year at my dad’s house with 21 other people after moving less than a week ago.
To get a little personal, I moved last Monday with my 3 kids into my dads house in Birmingham. Since my mom passed away recently, this was the perfect option for him and for me. It has been wonderful this week eating breakfast and dinner with my father as well as taking a work break and making him a morning smoothie. He has been very depressed the past few months (after the death of my mother), and he already seems like a different person. He said two days ago, “The highlight of the day was when Leigh (my daughter) came to tell me goodnight.” I cried.
My friend, Sara, told me the other day, “To find blessings during tough times”, and she is so correct.
-It is a blessing for kids to get the chance to live with their grandparents.
-It is a blessing to help to your parents when they are elderly.
-It is a blessing when your kids say that they slept great.
-It is a blessing to hear my kids laugh during tough times.
-It is a blessing to see your kids relaxed.
-It is a blessing that I still have my father, but that I can feel my mothers presence.
-It is a blessing to have all of your support.
So whether you celebrate the Jewish new year or not, here’s to fresh and new beginnings and a sweet new year!
1 cup canola oil
11/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale yellow. Add 1 cup oil and the sugar while beating. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract at low speed. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients and pecans and beat until mixed. Chill the dough, covered, overnight. Coat 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray. Add 1 teaspoon oil to each sheet and spread to coat. Divide the dough into 6 balls. Roll each ball on a work surface to a long shape. Arrange 3 logs on each baking sheet.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned and firm. Remove to a work surface and slice the logs. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet, cut side down. Bake at 250F for 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a write rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.