Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Mandel Brate, MoFos!

We have one true family recipe in my house, one recipe that everyone knows and loves, handed down for generations - Great Aunt Roz's mandel brate. (Before anyone fusses, this is the way we spell it. I know it's not Wikipedia-approved.) Of course, everyone seems to have their own slightly different version: Mom's has walnuts, her brother Frank's has coconut. My sister Jenny's version is soft in the middle, where Mom likes hers cooked through. But no matter how they tinker with it, some essential part stays the same. Somehow, it always tastes like home. And for three years, I have not had a single bite of it. Until today!

Well, to be fair, I had an approximation of it yesterday. That's because my first attempt at veganizing it fell short. I took a piece to my mother - the final authority on the tradition, having received the recipe directly from the source - and she pronounced yesterday's batch "edible." Damned with faint praise.

But today's recipe? She took a bite and said, "You got it right." And a choir of angels sang! My joy knew no bounds.

 Aunt Roz's Mandel Brate - Veganized!

6 tbsp ground flax
¾ cup warm water
3 ¼ cups unsifted flour
1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp vanilla
1 cup oil
6 oz choc chips
6 oz chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix ground flax and warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Combine dry ingredients (excluding chocolate and nuts). Add wet ingredients and flax mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray lightly with cooking spray. Split dough in half and form into two loaves. 

Bake at 350 for 38 - 45 min, or until edges turn golden brown. Let cool for 15 min. Slice into bars.

Alternate ingredients: In place of chocolate and walnuts, try 1/2 cup diced apricots, 1/2 cup slivered almonds, and replace 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract with 1/2 tsp of almond extract. That's my variation on the original.

Enjoy the taste of tradition! 

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