Grama Gracie was known for her mandel bread, which is a Jewish version of soft biscotti. It has a distinct almond flavor, and each piece is filled with nuts, dried fruit and jam. It’s best enjoyed when dunked in a hot beverage like coffee or tea. Most times when Grama Gracie visited us, she would bring a metal tin filled with mandel bread. On several occasions I asked her for the recipe, but she never gave it to me. Instead, she agreed to recite the ingredients and approximate measurements.

It was impossible to replicate her creation, so when she was 97 years old I asked if she could show me how to make the delicious mandel bread. Finally, I witnessed her technique, her trade secrets were revealed, and the recipe lives on!


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ cup oil
  • 4 oz. dried cranberries
  • 4 oz. chopped pecans
  • 10 oz. jam
  • Cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling
  • Egg wash


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place parchment paper on full sheet pans.
  2. Mix together eggs and sugar. Add almond extract, oil and baking powder. Dough should be smooth and easy to handle. Add more flour if required, and knead like bread.
  3. Divide dough into 3 portions. Shape each into a log. Place wax paper on counter and flour well. Roll out dough on wax paper until it is 1/8″ thick. Log should be 3″ wide unrolled and 1″ wide when rolled. Make sure there is ample flour on the wax paper so the dough does not stick.
  4. Place ⅓ of the jelly down the middle, and place pecans and cranberries on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar if desired. Roll the dough over so it makes a “jelly roll” log. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet.
  5. Wash the top with egg mixture, and sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar. Repeat with remaining two pieces of dough. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Cut into 1″-wide pieces. Will typically get 14 pieces per log and 3 logs.