These crisp almond-flavored cookies are twice-baked for just the right amount of crunch! Vegan mandel bread is easy to make and wonderful with coffee or tea.
My Grandma Goldie was born in Ukraine and came to Canada as a young girl. She brought a rich tradition of Jewish baking with her, including what was known as kamishbrot in Ukraine. In German and Yiddish, the term was mandelbrot or mandel bread, which translates to almond bread. With a texture similar to biscotti but richer and softer, vegan mandel bread is a great choice for a holiday dessert, or really anytime you're in the mood for a crunchy treat. Mandel bread usually contain eggs, so to make this recipe vegan-friendly, I've substituted aquafaba (chickpea liquid) and it works perfectly (see the Tips section below for how to obtain the aquafaba).
Goldie made these in a food processor, but a hand mixer would work well here, too. I provide instructions for both methods in the recipe below.
If you're looking for something to do with your chickpeas after collecting the aquafaba, try my recipe for Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas.
How to Make the Vegan Mandel Bread
Gather your ingredients.
Preheat the oven and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Coarsely chop the slivered almonds and spread them 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.
Combine the sugar, oil, aquafaba, and almond extract in a food processor, or in a bowl if using a hand mixer, and blend until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend until well combined. Fold in the slivered almonds and chocolate chips (if using) with a silicone or rubber spatula until well distributed. (I don't recommend mixing the almonds into the batter using the food processor, as this will make the pieces too small and alter the texture of the batter.)
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). While the cookies are baking, make the cinnamon sugar mixture.
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). Dip each piece in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, so that each side is lightly coated, and then 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.
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 keep well 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!
Vegan Mandel Bread
- 1 cup slivered almonds coarsely chopped
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon aquafaba (see tips)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup vegan chocolate chips optional
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Coarsely chop the slivered almonds and spread them 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.
- Combine the sugar, oil, aquafaba, and almond extract in a food processor and blend until smooth. Or, if using a hand mixer, add the sugar, oil, and almond extract to the bowl containing the aquafaba and blend on medium until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients to the food processor, or to the bowl if using a hand mixer, and blend until well combined. If using the food processor, transfer the batter to a bowl.
- Fold in the toasted slivered almonds and chocolate chips (if using) with a rubber or 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. 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.
- While the cookies are baking, combine 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with ½ cup of sugar in a shallow bowl.
- Allow the mandel bread 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. Dip each piece in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, so that each side is lightly coated.
- 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 mandel bread in the oven to rest for another 30 minutes or so.
- Lightly oil your hands before handling the batter after it has chilled. This will make it easier to divide up the sticky batter.
- When cutting the mandel bread 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.