Craving #1: Nancy’s Momma’s Famous Mandel Bread Recipe

Craving #1: Nancy’s Momma’s Famous Mandel Bread Recipe

Growing up, my momma and I spent countless hours baking and cooking together in my hometown of Milwaukee. Whether whipping up a new recipe just because or making a family din, we cherished every second of this tradition. Soon she was teaching me to make all of her most delectable recipes, each of which was handwritten on a notecard and kept neatly in a container for which I drew a “Shelly’s Recipes” label. Naturally, I still have it with me to this day.

Fast forward to one rainy afternoon during my adulthood, not long before my momma got sick, when she finally asked me to make challah with her — a not-so-easy recipe she hadn’t yet taught me. When I asked her why this notoriously tricky bread was the recipe of choice for that day, she responded, “I’d just feel better knowing I showed you.” An instant flood of tears fell down my face finally being struck by the reality that our beloved tradition couldn’t last forever.

Though I didn’t know it as a young girl, these memories in the kitchen became some of the mother-daughter moments I cherish the most and continue to speak endlessly about. So, when I met award-winning cookbook author Dorie Greenspan at her former bakery, Beurre & Sel, shortly after my mom's passing, I knew I had to share one of my momma’s most famous recipes, her Mandel Bread, with her. Luckily I did, because she fell in love with it.

Since 2016, this special recipe has been published in her cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies, in memory of my momma, who would be so happy to share it with the world. Until Dorie’s cookie book gets delivered to your door (yes, you’ll want to order it if you haven’t already), here’s my momma’s original Mandel Bread recipe below. Trust me, you’ll love it as much as we do.

Mandel Bread recipeHandwritten Mandel Bread recipe by Nancy’s momma, Shelly Schnoll, which has been iterated on over the years to include chocolate chips.

Yields: 3 rolls, approximately 48 pieces

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 bag (6 oz) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Cinnamon sugar mixture (to sprinkle)


  1. In a large bowl, cream all ingredients together by hand, mixing the liquids first (eggs, oil, and vanilla), then adding the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt). Mix until smooth.
  2. Add chocolate chips and/or nuts into entire mixture or switch it up between rolls. Consider 1 roll with chocolate chips only, 1 roll nuts only, and one roll with both nuts and chocolate chips.
  3. Shape the 3 rolls on a lipped jelly roll pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Each roll should be the length of the pan horizontally and approximately 3 inches wide. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes until bottom is a deep golden brown.
  5. Let cool or they can break. Then, use a wide spatula to make diagonal ½ inch slices (note: pieces will be crumbly but this is normal). Turn on one side and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Put back in the oven for 10 minutes to brown again.
  6. Optional: Turn pieces an additional time to brown the other side.

PRO TIP: Mandel Bread freezes perfectly when wrapped in parchment paper and stored in an airtight container. Plus, it tastes great right out of the freezer, too.

Now, in good conscience, I feel I must warn you before you bake: this recipe is truly addictive.

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