Anyone who knew my mother knows she loved all things related to cooking and food. Cooking was one of the many ways she expressed love. Every Passover for as long as I can remember, she’d make a big batch of mandelbread. One bite instantly takes me back to my childhood as I remember helping Mom sprinkle cinnamon/sugar on too many batches to count. But, for as much as I love this mandelbread during Passover – I have never made it myself. Why? I’m not really fond of baking, but mostly it’s because Mom always made it for me. While I was away at college, she made sure a double batch was ready to go back with me after Seder. When I couldn’t get to Maryland during Passover, she’d make a trip up with mandelbread in hand.
Facing my first Passover without her, I knew exactly which of her many recipes I needed to make. Fortunately, she chose the recipe as the one she contributed for an index card collection from my bridal shower. You’ll see she listed the number of servings just as “Amy.”
[index card now priceless to me]
On the Saturday before the first Seder, I asked my hubby to help me with my first batch. He’s the baker between us and I knew I’d be a crying mess baking alone in the kitchen. Even though my mother made this recipe countless times, I had never seen her do it from start to finish. I could only remember the last part after they were already out of the pan and sliced. So, we followed her instructions as best we could.
I wasn’t sure how to get the loaves out of the pan to slice without them cracking or breaking. I remember Mom always had a few that crumbled or cracked. She would put those aside and we ate them as “quality control” tasters. I loved the broken ones. Those were the only ones we were allowed to eat while she was whipping up multiple batches.
As I sliced them and put them onto the baking trays, not a single slice broke or cracked. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and not a single one. I have to believe that she was watching and helping. Either that, or total beginner’s luck.