Fall is a time of excitement because it is cookbook season. There are a lot of new books that are published at this time of the year, from chefs and bloggers alike and it makes me so excited to see what they're are cooking up in their kitchens. You also get to learn more about the people that write these books, what drives them, what their passions are and what makes them unique. This week, my dear friend, Molly Yeh has a her first cookbook out! And the book is as colorful and fun as she is!
In Molly on the Range, Molly shares recipes from her unique Chinese and Jewish cultures and her life on the farm. Pretty photos and illustrations accompany her story along with the recipes in her book and her recipes are equally delicious, like her chicken tater tot pie (which is next on my list of things to cook) and her iconic layer cakes covered decorated with funfetti and marzipan.
Though I've known Molly for a while now, I don't think we've ever discussed our love for marzipan. In fact, it might come as a surprise to everyone as I've never shared a marzipan recipe here either. Every Christmas and Easter celebration, I eat a lot of marzipan because of tradition. At Easter, when my mom placed an order for easter eggs, I'd go with marzipan over chocolate. Marzipan smells and tastes wonderful and the thought of tasting that sweet and chewy texture makes me weak every time. So when, Molly asked me to share a recipe from her book, I quickly picked her Mandel bread recipe because it comes loaded with marzipan and a bunch of other tasting nuggets of flavor and color. (Check out the cute funfetti mix she made and sent along with the book in the little envelope). This is one book, I've been truly excited to wait to read ever since she announced it and it was every bit worth the wait and I highly recommend adding it to your bookshelves!
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cookie,
- Cut the marzipan into small 1/2 inch cubes, I initially cut them into semicircles because of the way the marzipan tube is shaped. Cubes will be slightly smaller and you will get more bursts of marzipan flavor in each bite.
- The dough is sticky because it is oil based so I strongly recommend greasing both your hands with a little extra oil before you set out to shape the loaves.
- I used a mix of 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup cacao nibs but feel free to choose one over the other if you prefer.
- I used Molly's mix of funfetti on top of the mandel bread because it was the right thing to do!
molly yeh's marzipan and sea salt mandel bread (from Molly on the Range, Rodale Books 2016)
yields: 28 cookies
7 to 8 ounces marzipan
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
3¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup flavorless oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
Pearl sugar or sprinkles, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Cut the marzipan into ½-inch pieces and toss with the powdered sugar. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil until combined. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, and then whisk in the vanilla and almond extract. Use a wooden spoon to gradually mix in the flour mixture, marzipan, and cacao nibs or chocolate chips. (This dough can be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and place on the lined baking sheet. Mold the dough into two 14 x 3-inch rectangles about 3 inches apart. Sprinkle the tops with a few pinches of sea salt and pearl sugar or sprinkles.
Bake until the centers are set and the bottoms are lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 250ºF. Let the mandel bread cool slightly and then use a sharp serrated knife to cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Turn the slices on their sides and bake for 20 more minutes, or until desired crispness. Let cool slightly and enjoy with coffee, hot chocolate, or tea.