Will you forgive me for sharing a recipe without pictures? A Christmas cookie recipe, no less?
See, on Wednesday my mom got here and we frantically started packing the house. She left on Thursday, and I spent Thursday and Friday baking what felt like a billion cookies, for a cookie swap and for a soldier in Iraq (more on that in a bit). While at the playgroup cookie swap party on Friday, I snagged 3 of these Espresso Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot, realizing I had not saved any for myself–to eat or photograph. Then I found out our move-in date has been postponed by 4 days–trivial except it takes us past Christmas. I spent the evening crying and trying to re-arrange Christmas plans (yes I know I should have expected it). I made my sister cry when I said I had to come home the weekend she would not be there. Could not sleep all night. Woke up this morning (at 11:30 after about 5 hours of sleep) and ate all 3 mandelbrot in a blur. Re-arranged my plans yet again so my sister could see her nieces. Possibly upset baby brother because he probably won’t see me now (not sure–have not heard from him yet). Cried some more. Made dinner rolls for John’s department’s holiday party. Collapsed asleep on the couch while they rose.
The high point of my morning was the cookies–but gee darn by eating them I have nothing left to photograph.
It is no great loss because frankly as tasty as these mandelbrot are (and they are–a year later my hairdresser is still begging me to make her more), I am terrible at getting clean slices of mandelbrot (and other biscotti-type cookies). So I guess just imagine golden brown biscotti type cookies flecked with chocolate chips and you will get the idea.
I used to think mandelbrot was chocolate chip bread, because a Jewish friend of mine in college kept her grandmother’s mandelbrot in her dorm freezer, after the first bake, and just sliced it frozen and ate it as it thawed (it was terrific). Searching for a similar experience I made King Arthur’s Over The Top Mandelbrot several Christmases ago and really enjoyed them (and discovered that they were traditionally meant to be baked twice, although my friend tells me she knows lots of people who eat it at the “bread” stage). Last year I decided to try this espresso variation, and it was so successful I have abandoned the original incarnation–although I suppose if I had time I would make it both ways since these are not so kid friendly.
These are also a great cookie for long distance gift-giving during the holidays. I don’t think I have ever had them go stale–and they are, in calmer years, one of the first cookies I make during the holidays to sit out on our table in cookie tins since they last so well. So naturally they were one of the first cookies I thought of for my first participation in Operation Baking Gals. The solider I sent cookies to got these Espresso Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot, the Mini Chip Peppermint Thins, and the NY Times Chocolate Chip cookies. I chose the thins figuring they should also not go stale too fast (they have a shortbread/meltaway base), and I chose the chocolate chip cookies because I think many homesick Americans want chocolate chip cookies–I know I do–and I hoped that the giant, extra-thick bakery style would help them to not get too stale. If you like to bake and have always wanted to send baked goods to the troops, be sure to check out the Baking Gals website–they make it very easy. If you are curious, I am baking for Team Clarkson–head on over to The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch to learn more.
One note about the flour: I have never measured it by volume. The King Arthur recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups, or 14 3/4 oz, but I add 1/8 oz because of the extra liquid from the espresso.
Espresso Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
3 large eggs
1 cup (7 oz) vegetable oil
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
1-2 T espresso (1-2 t instant espresso dissolved in 1-2 T water–more if you like a strong coffee taste)
1 t salt
14 7/8 oz AP flour (3 1/2 cups plus a little extra, 1/8 oz, to account for the liquid espresso)
1 t baking powder
2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups cappucino chips
In a large bowl, beat together the first 6 ingredients at medium high speed until thick and lighter colored (because of the espresso it will not get too light), about 5 minutes. Whisk together the flour and baking powder and then stir them into the wet ingredients. Fold in the chips. Cover tightly and chill for at least 3 hours–I find it best to do this much the day before to really firm up the dough.
Place the oven racks in the upper middle and lower middle levels. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line with silicone or parchment paper 2 baking sheets.
Separate the dough into 4 equal pieces, about 13 1/2 ounces each. Working with one piece at time, shape the dough into logs, roughly 8 by 2 inches long, and place on the baking sheet. You will place 2 logs on each cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
Bake the logs for 28 minutes, rotating top to bottom and front to back halfway through. They should be lightly browned. Let them cool for 10 minutes on their sheets, before transferring them gently to a cutting board. [edited to add I have discovered I can get much cleaner slices by allowing the logs to sit for several hours, up to overnight.] Turn the oven down to 300 F. I have started trying lightly spritzing the logs with water to decrease crumbling before slicing. Slice the logs into whichever length cookies you want, and then return them to their baking sheets, spacing them apart and standing them upright (you want them to toast). Return them to the oven, and bake another 25 minutes at 300 F, once again rotating front to back and top to bottom halfway through. They will become quite golden brown because of the espresso. Cool on the baking sheets–they will crisp up as they cool, but will never be really hard like a fat-free biscotti, but rather more crumbly, like a butter-based biscotti.
That Girl says
I forgive you. Besides, I know what mandelbrot look like!
noble pig says
Oh you have a lot going on…I can’t believe you did all that while moving..you are superwoman.
The cookies sound awesome and so many!! Yippee 🙂 You’ve made me very happy.
The Unmentioned Brother says
It seems like the sibling that was accommodating and rearranged his plans immediately (without ANY complaint) TWICE!!! could also get a shout out ;o) hehehehehe
You’re a hoot, Unmentioned Brother. Everyone, may I present Chris, my uncomplaining, accommodating, re-assuring while I was crying, younger but not baby brother. 🙂
That recipe looks great. Do you know about how many it makes? I was thinking of making the Chocolate Chip Biscotti that has often been reviewe on the CLBB (I think its a Gourmet recipe). I know the most recent CL has a choc chip biscotti recipe (I think).
So it mandelbrot and biscotti basically the same thing?
Have a great holiday — sorry to read about the moving probs.
It makes a fair amount. I think King Arthur claims 6 dozen, but it all depends on how thick you slice them. I probably get closer to 5 dozen.
i’ve searched and searched for a tasty cookie that can stand up to long trips through the mail. great recipe!
That’s so nice of you to bake for the troops!
For the record, I think we had a miscommunication about my grandma’s “mandelbread” — when you asked about it, I talked to my mom, who told me that indeed it is twice-baked. I thought I went back to you with the info. but I must have forgotten. And of course we don’t slice it frozen, how would we do that? I still haven’t tried making it myself, but I assume she slices after first bake, then puts it in the oven a second time. Maybe you got the “bread” stage idea from the name? We just call it that because it’s a partial translation from the Yiddish/German. Not sure why they never translated the whole name.
In any case, yours sounds fantastic. And yes, whoever asked — mandelbrot and biscotti are essentially the same.
I just remember eating it “semi-freddo”–I am sure it did thaw a bit before you sliced it, but I don’t remember ever wanting to wait that long! I just remember you saying you liked to eat it after the first bake, which I was calling the bread stage because at that point it looks like bread. I actually forgot you guys called it that.
Oh, well, my grandma would mail it to me and I stuck it in the freezer because I only liked to eat little bits at a time, and otherwise it would go stale. So we definitely ate it frozen — but it was sliced before it got to me.
I did originally think it was only once-baked, but only because I am an ignoramus.