How did we come who we are? Occasionally, we ask ourselves
that question, or try to give the answer to someone else. We turn our thoughts
to the past, and try to remember a "turning point" which helped to form our
identity, and inspired us with the strength to become better people.
At those times, we usually cast our mind's eye back to some momentous occasion,
perhaps a graduation, wedding, or the birth of children: but that is wrong. The
most meaningful events probably happened in the kitchen, and were not
accompanied with pomp and circumstance, but with a glassele of tea and a nosh.
Perhaps, we came home after having been teased at playtime, and wondered if the
other youngster was right. Maybe, we were in the midst of our first go-round
with acne, and wondered if we would ever be attractive. Then a blessing
occurred. Someone poured a soothing drink, reached for the cookie jar, and told
us that the other youngster was just "jealous," or that their complexion had
been even worse, but it cleared quickly.
The special moment was a quiet one. Our concerns did not disappear, but they
were made bearable. With each bite we seemed to consume a bit of courage as
well. When we left the table, our hearts were as nourished as our bodies.
For many of us, those heartening morsels were Mandelbrot. Like our lives, they
were not too sugary, but sweet enough to be satisfying. They were not always
soft and easy to consume, but could be managed, and in the end would leave us
2 cups slivered Almonds
1 cup sliced Almonds
1 Egg Yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons Water
1/2 cup Almond Oil or melted Butter
2 tablespoons grated Orange Peel
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
2 tablespoons Sweet Wine
3 cups Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Sugar
Toast the slivered Almonds by stirring in a dry skillet over
medium heat until they are golden. Immediately pour them out of the skillet onto
a plate to cool. If you don't turn them out, they will burn and become bitter in
the retained heat.
In a large measuring cup, whisk together the Eggs, Almond Oil, Wine, Extracts,
and Orange Peel. In a large bowl mix the Self-Rising Flour, Sugar, and the
cooled toasted Almonds. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, and mix
thoroughly until a dough forms.
Grease 2 cookie sheets, and heat the oven to 350 degrees.place half the dough on
each sheet and form into a long rather flattened loaf, about 4 inches wide, and
as long as the pan. Putting a bit of oil on your hands will make this easier,
since the dough will be sticky. Brush the loaves with the Egg Yolk/Water
mixture, and press the sliced Almonds into the top of the loaves. Bake until
golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. With a sharp knife,
cut the loaves into slices no more than 1/2 inch thick. Turn them on their sides
in the pan, and put them back in the oven again for about another 10-20 minutes
til golden colored. Cool and store in an airtight container.
2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
hosted by the Gantseh Megillah
to the recipe list.