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Mandelbrod

These zweiback-style cookies, called komishbrod, were introduced into Eastern Europe from the south–probably from southern Italy, where an almost identical cookie, biscotta alia mandarla, is popular. It is equally possible, however, that the recipe spread from Spain, both to southern Italy, which was once under Spanish rule, and to the Netherlands, where a variation on this recipe is known as spekulaasje.

ingredients

makes 40
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons oil
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup chopped or slivered almonds

method

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Flour a cookie sheet, but do not grease it.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and foaming, then add the oil, lemon rind, and almond extract. Fold the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and beat until the dough is smooth. Stir in the almonds.

3. Sprinkle your hands and a board with flour. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a long loaf about 3 inches wide. Lay each loaf on the cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 40 minutes.

4. Remove the loaves from the oven, and while they are still warm, use a sharp knife to cut 1/2 inch slices.

5. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F, then arrange the slices on the cookie sheet and place back in oven.

6. Brown slices for about 7 minutes on each side, or until toasted. Cool on a rack.

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