November 27, 2012
Author: Jason Turbow
My grandmother was a wonderful cook, within a narrow scope. By which I mean that she was a wonderful Jewish cook. She came to Brooklyn from a shtetl in Eastern Europe at a very young age, eventually settling in Southern California to raise her family. And she knew only one way of cooking: brisket, potatoes, latkes, matzoh ball soup. The standards.
My favorite was her Mandelbrot, complete with chocolate chips and a sprinkling of cinnamon on top. Because she was picky, she put her own spin on it, substituting walnuts for the almonds (the “mandel” part of the name, no less), among other tweaks.
She made Mandelbrot for every occasion—usually happy, sometimes sad—at which the family would gather. My mother picked up the tradition in our own house, and just a whiff of the stuff baking tells me that we’ll soon be surrounded by loved ones. It also brings me back to a little yellow kitchen in Tajunga, and a woman whose primary expression of love occurred over an oven, baking delights that continue to keep her memory tangible, all these years later.
Beat 3 eggs
Add 1 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
Add about 1 c. chopped walnuts
1 ½ c. chocolate chips
Let the dough rest for about ½ hour to firm up.
Grease a 9 ½” x 11” cookie sheet.
Form three strips of dough lengthwise on cookie sheet.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (about 4 to 1, sugar to cinnamon).
Bake at 350º for about 45 minutes. Turn off oven. Cut strips into slices, separate the slices and return to oven to dry out.