Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread
Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread Recipe Courtesy of Dawn Lerman
I was the only person in Miss Duckler’s kindergarten class without a sibling. I had wished so long for a sister. But I had also wished on a star for a Baby Alive doll, and that never came true. So when my Aunt Jeannie picked me up from school and shared the birth of my sister April, I couldn’t really believe it. I started cheering, and skipping in circles. “I have a sister, I have a sister!”
As we drove off in her silver El Dorado Cadillac, I was dying with anticipation. I wanted to see what April looked like, hold her, and be one of the first voices she heard. Breaking the news that we would have to wait till morning before we could go to the hospital, Jeannie pulled out a bag of her just baked chocolate chip mandel bread. “They’re still warm,” she said, trying to comfort me.
Biting into the heavenly biscuits, still warm, with puddles of melted chocolate, my mood lifted.
When we arrived at her house, she led me to her secret freezer—“The Just In Case.” The just in case was hidden in the back of the basement and it was only to be opened on very, very special occasions. It was stocked with decorative cookies and cakes that we feasted on. When my belly was full, she taught me how to measure, whip, and separate eggs so we could re-stock for future festivities.
She also taught me the magic of transforming recipes using swaps from her bag of tricks, even though I never saw an actual bag. “If you are missing a couple of ingredients and can’t get to the store, or if you wanted to lighten the sugar, butter or dairy content in a recipe to make it a little healthier and a little more waistline friendly, I have all the tricks!” my aunt boasted. When I left Aunt Jeannie’s house, I not only had a new baby sister, but several baking secrets—many of which were top secret and could be used for baking desserts on nights that meat was served.