Sunday, January 29, 2012


This week's bake is MANDELBROYT, that dry almond cookie that I've been munching on since childhood. Many years later, as an adult living in New York City, I was introduced to "biscotti". They were very similar, except biscotti came in a variety of flavors and had a harder texture. Both were good dipped into hot coffee and I always thought of them interchangeably. So this week, along with all of my  Mandelbroyt savvy taste testers, I looked forward to biting into that most familiar of cookies. We were all surprised, and disappointed, when we didn't recognize what came out of the oven.

At first glance the recipe sounded a lot richer than most biscotti recipes I've made but I followed it to the letter, only replacing the glace fruit (think FRUITCAKE) with the alternative chocolate chips. The dough was much wetter, tackier and more delicate than any biscotti dough I've worked with. I resisted the temptation to add 
more flour. Instead I used a variety of spatulas and bench knives to help form the shaggy dough into two logs on a non-stick surface.

As an experiment, I sprinkled flour on top of the second log to aid in shaping.  When they were baked you couldn't tell which was which.

Putting on the egg wash was a delicate matter because 
the surface of the dough remained very sticky.

Both logs baked up beautifully, spreading considerably 
in width, and happily neither stuck to the bottom.

Anna gently glazed both loaves with simple syrup. It made them glisten, but left the surface slightly sticky, so I doubt I'll do that again.

Once completely cool, the loaves were sliced on the diagonal, 
exposing the walnuts & chocolate chips, while the 
heady aroma of almond paste filled the air.

 Everyone who tried some basically said the same thing --
"it's delicious but it's soft cake, NOT MANDLEBROYT"

I agree. This reminded me of what's offered at a "coffee and cake reception" following services at Temple. It was cake that was baked once, not cut and returned to dry out in the oven. Those of us who grew up in NYC and NJ were especially disappointed. Some of my taste testers came with hopes of tasting something close to the Mandelbroyt made by their late aunts & Nanas. Then I noticed the adjoining recipe in the cookbook was for Kamishbroyt (Jewish Biscotti). No one I mentioned this word to had ever heard of it before. A Google search indicated it was an interchangeable term for Mandelbroyt. Maybe someplace, but not in the neighborhoods where we grew up. There was only one thing left for me to do.


A quick scan of the Kamishbroyt recipe seemed very familiar. For many years my business BONNI BAKES made 13 types of "Biscotti To Die For". I was home again. This recipe was for a lean dough, highlighted by the addition of toasted almond halves. From the get go, it was  drier, came together easily and was a pleasure to shape.

It baked up into relatively flat & wide large golden loaf.

The directions called for slicing the hot loaf right out of the oven. 
Separated slices were returned to the oven to bake at a lower temperature for 20-30 minutes, until dry and golden.


according those of us who tasted some Saturday. But it won't 
be official until Leona and Sharon try some and let us 
know if it comes close to the tastes they remember.



No controversy here, this cake is a JEWISH CLASSIC
soft delicate cake with streusel & walnuts 

Anna & I will be baking it on Friday.
Stop by to sample some between 2-4pm Friday at

my home, The TreeHouse, just down the driveway at

932 12th St., Bradenton (Village of the Arts)

It's also an ArtWalk Weekend  Fri 6-9:30pm  &  Sat 11-4

I will be open for the ArtWalk on Saturday from 11-4 
with limited amounts of
Chocolate Orgasm Cookies
Assorted Breadstix
Homemade Jam & Chutney
Cookies made with Belgium Chocolate
Mandlebroyt (the first cake-like recipe w/almond & choc)
samples of POLISH POTATO BREAD (while it lasts)

Email me at  if you want 
to order something for Friday pickup

Everything is limited availability. Orders are only guaranteed if you receive an email confirmation.

Any questions, call me at (941) 746-6647

Hugs from the kitchen,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


When things are good, they're very good, and this week's bake lived up to my Brooklyn standards. I can't remember the last time I had a real ONION ROLL, but my house has never smelled so good. This recipe was the one that started the insatiable hunger for these old Jewish bakery recipes, leading to the book.

The most important thing I learned about using fresh onion on top of bread is NOT TO USE FRESH ONION because it tends to burn. The better technique is to use dried onion. Soak it for 30 minutes by covering with boiling water, then drain & blot dry with paper towels.  After that you can mix it with the other topping ingredients. Because the reconstituted onion contains so much moisture, it browns instead of burns.

After dividing the dough into individual rounds, they rested briefly then the top was flattened in the onion-poppy seed-salt-oil mixture.

They were placed twelve per pan, covered and allowed to rise.

They really plumped and started touching each romantic.

Just before going in the oven, each one was "belly-buttoned",
by pushing my very sterile finger into its center, thereby 
creating the navel. No signs of lint were detected.

They almost looked like bagels, but it's a very different softer dough.

The aroma was heady and they were beautiful. It was hard 
to wait long enough to try a few, but we were patient...sorta.

Our brave and patient Taste-Testers were on hand to dive into
the warm bread, along with assorted homemade jam. These Onion 
Rolls have a thin crisp crust with a billowly soft interior crumb, 
perfect for a great sandwich. I made one with rare roast beef, 
lettuce and Russian Dressing...heavenly. The only thing better 
would be a Kaiser Roll, but that's later on this challenge. 
Hope I can wait that long.

This is the week that I bake for a local food co-op
and will have the following available:
Blueberry Lemon Muffins
Cranberry Orange Muffins
Vegan Pumpkin Date Raisin Muffins
Breadstix (Assorted, Kalamata or Rosemary Parmigiano)
Various Homemade Jam & Chutney 
Vegan Dark Belgium Chocolate & Cherry Cookies  

email bonnibakes@gmail or call (941) 746-6647 
to reserve  for pick-up


This Friday Jan 27 come taste our next bake

the classic Jewish version of Biscotti 

Anna & I will be giving out samples between 2-4 at
my home, The TreeHouse, just down the driveway at
932 12th St., Bradenton (Village of the Arts)

If you want to order some Almond Chocolate Chip Mandelbroyt for pick-up Friday, email me.

Limited availibity. Orders are only guaranteed if you receive an email confirmation.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Homemade PUFF PASTRY...challenging but delicious

The dough started out as a sticky, shaggy mess

Patience, and a good amount of flour, allowed me to pat it out into a rough rectangle

Measured carefully, it was folded over itself and rolled out flat again, several times

It was helpful to use a silicone mat underneath to support the delicate dough while folding

At last, time to chill the dough before being cut into thirds. Only one third is used to make 12 pastries.

There was an issue with the cheese filling. The amount suggested by the recipe was a little too
much for each pastry.  As a result it was hard to totally seal the dough around the filling.

In the end, when the pastries had a chance to rise before baking, most of the open 
areas sealed.  The finished Cheese Pockets had glazed almonds on top,

Cheese Pockets, which we always called "Cheese Danish" were a Sunday staple. Together with a cup of coffee, it was breakfast. This recipe made a dozen, which were quickly given away to our Friday "taste testers". As usual, I neglected to accurately anticipate when the pastries would emerge but our die-hard group waited patiently. They were well rewarded with the results of this bake. We all thought they were wonderful. I'm sold on homemade puff was so tender, delicious and perfect at hugging a filling.

The next morning I took the extra cheese filling and amplified it with some room temperature cream cheese. In less than an hour I had defrosted a sheet of puff pastry, filled them and left them to rise. This time I was more careful about enclosing all of the filling and used sliced almonds as a topping instead of the bulky almond halves used for the first batch. As soon as the Saturday morning dozen came out of the oven, I snuggled them in a basket and fed hungry gallery owners in The Village of the Arts. It was a Random Act of YUM. Crisp on top with toasted almonds, and a not-too-sweet soft cheese center, they were devoured in a flash!

There is still one remaining sheet of puff pastry left. This time I'm going to make the Cheese Pockets using farmer's cheese, which should closely replicate the taste I remember from my childhood Brooklyn bakery. There's only 12 in a batch, and I need to keep 4. If you're interested in ordering any of the remaining 8 let me know. They'll be $1.75 each, but Sharon Carlson gets first dibs because she missed out last time.
This week's bake:  Norm's Onion Rolls

This single recipe triggered the demand for a book of the old Jewish bakery recipes. Due to the positive feedback from bakers trying this recipe, co-author Norm Berg was asked to provide more and more of his old  bakery recipes. Ultimately, it led to the publication in October of "Inside The Jewish Bakery", followed by the challenge of baking all of the recipes in the book...which is what Anna, I and this blog are part of.

Many people fondly remember these Onion Rolls...soft inside, thin crusted & covered in baked onions on top. Similar to the Kaiser roll. Great for a sandwich. Some of my blog followers don't want to wait to try these, they know what they've been missing. I already have orders for Onion Rolls to be picked up this Friday. Anna & I will be baking a double batch to accommodate those orders. If you'd like to order some also, let me know. They'll be .75 each, but availability is limited.

Onion Roll Tasting Friday Jan 20th  2-4 pm

at the TreeHouse -- down the driveway at 932 12th St W, Bradenton

Taste bread samples with homemade jam 
& maybe my Curried Chicken Salad too.

Hugs from the kitchen,

Always available at (941) 746-6647    or

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sometimes you have a disaster

After returning from a wonderful holiday spent with family in NYC and Maryland, I was anxious to get back in the kitchen and bake POLISH POTATO BREAD. The recipe warned that it was a very wet dough, but we found ourselves dealing with something that had to be poured into pans. See our journey below.

This was the wettest dough I have ever dealt with, but since the recipe warned not to 
add more flour, we continued with something that was closer to pancake batter.

This "dough" looked less Polish and more Salvador Dali-esque

There was no way that it could be formed into a loaf shape

I didn't have two larger loaf pans, so the dough was poured into three smaller ones...another mistake

Although they rose, they were too wet to have the strength to rise up sufficiently

See how the center collapsed in on itself...not enough structure to support oven spring and rising 

 This is how wet the inside still was after sufficient baking. We tried to rescue it by toasting a
few pieces, but obviously, something went wrong with the execution of this recipe.

As a result of the poor outcome, we did not offer any samples. I'm in touch with the others baking this recipe, plus the book authors, and hope to discover where we went wrong. I have seen the results that other bakers have had and hope to re-do this one in the future with better results.

I'm sharing this experience to remind you that occasionally we all fail at things. A new year is a good time to review the past, learn from your mistakes, then go forward with a positive attitude armed with this new knowledge.


We are part of an international challenge of people baking their way through "Inside The Jewish Bakery", one recipe per week. Here's what we'll be baking on the next few Fridays:

     1/20   Onion Rolls
     1/27   Mandelbroyt (Jewish biscotti)
     2/03     Sour Cream Coffee Cake
     2/10   Black & White Cookies

On these dates you can stop by the TreeHouse (see below) and taste a sample of that day's recipe. If you'd like to purchase some, you can place an order which can be picked up the following Friday.

I've also been making a variety of jams & preserves using Keitt mango from my organic tree along with other local fruit. So far the flavors are:

    Mango Strawberry Cardamom (sweet with a yummy twist) 8 oz

    Mango & Meyer Lemon (bright & a little tart like marmalade) 8 oz

    Mango Chutney (the secret ingredient in my Curried Chicken 
                                Salad; recipe included) 16 oz

    Plant City Strawberry (doesn't get much more local that this) 8 oz

    Cranberry Tangerine Compote (mix w/mayo or mustard as a
                                                       tangy sandwich spread) 8 oz

8 oz jars $4        16 oz jars $7.50   limited quantities

This Friday Anna & I will be baking "CLOSED POCKETS". These are the square Jewish pastries that are filled with cheese and topped with glistening sliced almonds. It's a challenge because it requires making  a laminated dough (think puff pastry), as well as the cheese filling and topping. But we're up for it, so if you'd like to have a taste of these classic filled "Danish", stop by on Friday between 2-4pm. If you can't make it then, email me at or call me at (941) 746-6647 and I'll save you a sample.

Come to the "TreeHouse" through the white iron gate along side the bright green driveway fence at my former BONNI BAKES building,  932 12th St West in the Village of the Arts. There is an intercom above the house number, if the door is locked.

If you look closely at the picture above you'll see Twinkie, my recently adopted Maltese-mix. She's been particularly upset that the company making her namesake indestructible dessert, The Twinkie, just announced they are in bankruptcy. This, on the heels of airline news, stating cupcake frosting may soon be banned since they consider it a gel. Escape the craziness and come have a taste of something soothing from the past.

Cheese pastry tasting Friday Jan 13 from 2-4 @ the TreeHouse

Hugs from the kitchen,        Bonni

always available at (941) 746-6647   or