LESSON OBJECTIVES AND OUTLINE FOR TEACHERS
I. LESSON OBJECTIVES
A. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of proper cooking techniques by preparing the mandelbread; thereby demonstrating that they know how to:
- Grate orange rind.
- Juice an orange.
- Measure and sift flour.
- Beat eggs with an electric mixer.
- Cream sugar and oil in an electric mixer.
- Measure and combine ingredients.
- Pat dough into loaf shapes on a baking sheet.
- Slice baked loaves and rebake the cookies.
and the holiday for which they are particularly appropriate by completing the final Sample Test.
II. KITCHEN ORGANIZATION: TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
1. Make one batch ahead and leave in loaf form. This way, the students can have the experience of slicing the baked loaves, finishing the toasting part in the oven, and can still have time to taste the finished product. The cookies freeze very well if they need to be done far ahead.
2. Students finish the first set of loaves and then proceed to prepare the second batch of dough for the oven. If there are several classes, the loaves baked by the previous class can be sliced and sampled by the succeeding ones.
3. Several of the steps of the recipe can be proceeding at the same time. For example, the orange can be grated and juiced by one student while another is measuring and sifting flour and another is beating eggs and creaming in sugar and oil.
4. Another way to deal with the recipe for a rather large class would be to assign each student a number and let him/her perform that particular task.
1. A very small, fine grater is very handy to have for grating various citrus peels quickly and easily into many recipes. The only inconvenience is cleaning the peel out of the tiny holes. I store a cheap toothbrush along with the grater for cleaning out the last little bit of peel, and then when washing the grater, the toothbrush can be used again to clean it thoroughly. The flavor the fresh peel adds in certain recipes is far superior to that provided by the dehydrated peel that can be purchased. If you should decide to use prepared rind and juice, use 1 T. of dehydrated rind and 1/4 c. of orange juice.
2. Make sure there is room in the measuring cup for the orange juice to expand when the baking soda is added.
3. Use a large metal spoon when spooning dough onto baking sheet and clean it off periodically with a rubber spatula using each against the other to remove the dough that sticks.
4. Use the spatula against the bottom of the pan to help push the dough sideways into the proper shape before using hands.
5. Lift loaves carefully off the pan onto a cutting board with metal spatula before slicing and use a sharp, serrated knife to slice the loaves to avoid breaking off the edges.
III. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A. “The story of Yiddish is closely tied to the story of Ashkenazi Jewry... The German Jews who migrated eastwards retained their language and developed it in relative isolation, until it became a distinct Germanic language, enriched by dialects of its own and with a uniquely Jewish resonance. Subsequent movements spread the language far beyond its historic homeland, and by 1939, it was estimated that there were over 10 million Yiddish speakers dispersed over the entire globe. The Holocaust and rapid linguistic assimilation have drastically reduced that figure, but Yiddish continues to be cherished by its devotees, and has recently begun to undergo a modest revival. The award of the Nobel Prize for literature to Isaac Bashevis Singer in 1978... drew attention to a continuing Yiddish literature which reposes on a long and significant tradition.”12 A consciousness-raising session about the nature of the Yiddish language might be in order with this lesson. With what Yiddish words are the students familiar, and how do they feel about using these words in their everyday language?
B. Do your students know any Yiddish-speaking people? What kind of background is the person from? How do they feel about the language when they hear it spoken by other people?
C. There are many variations of this recipe that can be made for Passover using cake meal, or matzoh meal, and potato starch. Since extracts containing grain alcohol are not permitted during Passover, other adaptations are necessary. Discuss with your students how our dietary laws influence our adaptations of recipes. Our dietary laws are what distinguish Jewish cuisine from other types of cuisine. Even though we have adapted our cooking to each of the lands we have inhabited, we have retained our unique cuisine because of our dietary laws and the symbolism we attribute to the many foods that are traditional for our holidays.
MATERIALS LIST FOR MANDELBREAD
- 3 eggs
- 2 c. sugar
- 3/4 c. oil
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 navel orange
- 4-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 t. almond extract
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1 c. chocolate chips
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- small grater
- small knives
- long sharp knife
- sifter or sieve
- electric mixer
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- 2-11" x 17" jelly roll pans
- metal spatula or turner
- large mixing spoon
FOR THE STUDENTS:
MANDELBREAD (TWICE-BAKED ALMOND COOKIES)
These light and appealing cookies appear in almost every Ashkenazic cookbook. They are known by many variations in spelling depending on how much Yiddish is included and the way it is transliterated into English. Some of these names are: mandlebroit, mandelbrot, mondlebrot, and mandelbread. There are as many variations in the recipe as there are in the names. Several characteristics, however, are common to all of them. The dominant flavoring always comes from nuts, usually almonds. Mandlen is the Yiddish word for almonds. Also, the dough is usually patted into long loaf shapes by hand to be baked. After this baking, the loaves are sliced and the slices laid out on the baking sheet to be baked again individually so that the cookies have a light, toasty consistency. They are usually pareve so that they can be eaten any time the desire for them strikes, and they last for a long time stored in an airtight tin at room temperature. They also freeze beautifully and take almost no time to defrost. If they do get a little stale, they can be retoasted in the oven and will be just as delicious. Almost any small tidbit can be added to the dough before the first baking so that there are as many variations as there are likes and dislikes. Some other additions to the recipe below might be: candied fruit; chopped dried fruit, such as apricots, dates, or peaches; raisins; nuts of any kind; flavored chips, such as peanut butter, or mint chocolate chip; your favorite candy bar chopped up, or any combination of these.
Another name for this type of cookie is kamish bread, or komish bread and seems to be a more accurate name for cookies that do not have a dominant almond flavor but are made the same way. In English, they are also called rusks instead of cookies to indicate that they are toasted and crunchy.
Whichever variation you prefer, the cookies are eaten all year around, but are considered particularly appropriate for Sukkot, and lend themselves beautifully for serving in the Sukkah because they are filled with fruits and nuts, symbols of the harvest.
CHOCOLATE CHIP MANDELBREAD
- 3 eggs
- 1-1/2 c. sugar
- 3/4 c. oil
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 navel orange - juice and rind
- 4-1/2 c. all purpose flour
- 1 c. chocolate chips
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 t. almond extract
- 1 t. cinnamon in ½ c. sugar
1. Leaving orange whole, grate orange part of rind against small grater into a dish.
2. Cut orange in half and extract juice by pressing halves against a juicer and reserve.
3. Sift flour.
4. Beat eggs in electric mixer until frothy.
5. Cream in sugar and oil.
6. Dissolve baking soda in orange juice making sure that there is room in the cup for the juice to expand.
7. Add juice mixture to egg, sugar, and oil mixture.
8. Add almond and vanilla extracts, and grated rind.
9. Mix in flour, a cup at a time.
10. Stir in chocolate chips.
11. Divide dough into three parts and form into three loaves. This can be done by spooning large dollops of dough in three rows crosswise on an 11" x 17" ungreased jelly roll pan. When the dough is evenly divided, pat with your hands into loaf shapes approximately 3" wide x 10" long, thicker in the center and thinner at the edges. The dough is not as sticky as it appears to be on the spoon and will not stick to your hands if you just pat it lightly until smooth.
12. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar.
13. Bake on rack in top third of the preheated 350-degree oven approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
14. Cool slightly and cut loaves into diagonal 1/2-inch thin slices.
15. Arrange slices back on baking sheet, adding an additional baking sheet to accommodate all the slices.
16. Return to oven and toast 8 minutes.
17. Remove from oven and flip each cookie over and toast an additional 8 minutes on the other side.
Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.
ANISE/LEMON/PINE NUT MANDELBREAD
- 2 lg. lemons juice and rind
- 1 c. pine nuts
- 2 t. anise seeds
- 1 T. anise extract
- plain sugar on top
12 N.R.M. de Lange, et.al. Atlas of the Jewish World (Oxford, England: Equinox Ltd., 1985), p. 120.