These crunchy almond cookies feature tart dried cherries and chocolate chips. An easy chocolate drizzle takes this vegan mandel bread over the top!
Traditional mandel bread is an almond-flavored cookie that has a texture similar to biscotti, but richer and softer. This vegan mandel bread adds cherries, chocolate chips, and chocolate drizzle to take the texture to the next level. Mandel bread usually contains eggs; here, I've used aquafaba (liquid from canned or cooked dry chickpeas) and it works perfectly (see the Tips section below).
If you're looking for something to do with your chickpeas after collecting the aquafaba, try my recipe for Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas. Also check out my Chocolate-Dipped Mandel Bread and Vegan Kamish Bread (Mandel Bread) for other types of mandel bread.
How to Make the Vegan Mandel Bread
Gather your ingredients.
Preheat the oven and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chopped almonds evenly over the cookie sheet and toast in the oven. Keep a close eye on the almonds to ensure they don't burn. Set them aside to cool.
Place the aquafaba in a medium bowl and, using a hand mixer, beat until consistently foamy. Add the sugar, oil, and almond extract to the bowl and blend on medium until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl and blend until well combined.
Fold in the toasted slivered almonds, cherries, and ½ cup of the chocolate chips with a silicone spatula until well distributed.
Chill the batter. When you are ready to bake the mandel bread, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil your hands (the batter will be sticky) and divide the batter into four flat logs, arranged on two parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake until golden brown (about 30 minutes).
Allow the mandel bread to cool and lower the oven temperature. Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice each log into 8-10 pieces (try not to saw the pieces; use a quick, forceful motion to slice the log). Place the cookies on their side on two parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
Bake until crisp. Note that the cookies will firm up more as they rest, so it is important not to make them too well done. Turn off the oven and leave the mandel bread in the oven to rest for at least another 30 minutes or so.
Once the cookies are fully cooled, prepare the chocolate drizzle: add the chocolate chips and oil to a microwave-safe bowl, then microwave in 25-30 second increments, stirring well in between, until fully melted and smooth. Use a squeeze bottle (my preferred method) or spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.
You may omit the almond extract and almonds to make these nut free. If you don't have a tree nut allergy but want to avoid almonds, you could substitute chopped pecans or walnuts for the slivered almonds (and leave out the almond extract if desired).
Storing the Vegan Mandel Bread
Store the mandel bread in an airtight container at room temperature; they will stay fresh for up to two weeks. Alternatively, the mandel bread will keep in the freezer for up to three months.
Tips (Including a Note on Aquafaba)
- To obtain the aquafaba, you can either drain the liquid (this part is the aquafaba!) from a can of chickpeas or use the liquid from cooking dried chickpeas (try the method outlined by TastingTable here). Set the chickpeas aside and use them for another purpose, such as my Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas.
- Make sure you allow the mandel bread to cool sufficiently after the first bake. Otherwise, they may break when you slice them. Your patience will be rewarded!
Cherry Chocolate Mandel Bread
- 1 cup slivered almonds coarsely chopped
- ½ cup aquafaba (see tips)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup dried cherries chopped
- ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
- ⅔ cup vegan chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the chopped almonds evenly over the cookie sheet. Toast the almonds in the oven for 5-8 minutes, keeping a close eye to ensure they don't burn. Set aside to cool and turn off the oven.
- In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat the aquafaba until consistently foamy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the sugar, oil, and almond extract to the bowl containing the aquafaba and blend on medium until smooth.
- Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl and blend until well combined.
- Fold in the toasted slivered almonds, cherries, and ½ cup of the chocolate chips with a silicone spatula until well distributed.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or place batter in an airtight container and put it in the fridge for at least two hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil your hands, then divide the batter into four flat logs and arrange them on two parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
- Allow the logs to cool, about 25-30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 250ºF.
- Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice each log into 8-10 pieces. Place the cookies on their side on two parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crisp. Turn off the oven and leave the cookies in the oven to rest for at least another 30 minutes or so.
- Once the cookies are fully cooled, prepare the chocolate drizzle. Add ⅔ cup of chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of oil to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 25-30 second increments, stirring well in between, until the chocolate chips are fully melted and smooth. Use a squeeze bottle or spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.
- Lightly oil your hands before handling the mandel bread batter after it has chilled. This will make it easier to divide up the sticky batter.
- When cutting the logs after the first bake, try not to saw the pieces; use a quick, forceful motion to slice the logs.
- Note that the cookies will firm up more as they rest, so do not overbake in the second bake.
- I like to place the cookies on a wire rack set over a foil-covered baking sheet before drizzling with chocolate. This minimizes the mess.