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How to Customize Mandelbrot

In this recipe, many different types of nuts work very well, including slivered almonds, skinned hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts. By the way, when it comes to adding nuts, I am a huge believer in making the time to toast nuts to add richness and depth by waking up all those volatile nut oils. You can also substitute any dried fruit or any citrus zest for the ones used here. I like my mandelbrot with toasted chopped hazelnuts or almonds and dried apricots or dried Mission figs.

How to Customize Mandelbrot


  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 scrapes from a whole nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup mild-flavored oil, such as canola, or 3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large orange (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted, salted, coarsely chopped walnuts
  • Cooking spray


1. Combine the dry ingredients: Sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl; set aside.

2. Mix the sugar, eggs, and flavorings: Place the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, oil or butter, vanilla, and orange zest in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Mix at medium-low speed until fully blended and slightly foamy, about 3 minutes.

3. Add some of the dry ingredients: Add about two-thirds of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix at low speed until just combined.

4. Flour the cranberries and walnuts: Add the cranberries and walnuts to the remaining flour mixture and mix gently until well-coated.

5. Add the fruit and flour mixture: Add the flour and fruit mixture to the egg mixture and mix at low speed until just combined.

6. Shape the dough and chill: Tear one large piece of plastic wrap and place on a work surface. Scoop half of the dough into the center and shape into a 12- by 1 1/2-inch log that is 1 3/4 inches high. Wrap completely in the plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining dough. Refrigerate until completely cold, about 30 minutes.

7. Prepare for baking: 15 minutes before you take the dough logs out of the refrigerator, arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350°F. Spray 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray and line them with parchment paper; set aside.

8. Bake the first time: Unwrap the dough logs and place one in the center of each of the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 18 minutes. Rotate the sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the outside is a pale golden in color and has expanded in size to about 13 by 2 to 2 1/2 inches, 18 to 25 minutes more. The mandelbrot will be about 95 to 99 percent baked through and often cracks during the first bake.

9. Partially cool the logs: Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes on the baking sheet.

10. Cut the logs into cookies: Transfer the logs to a clean, dry cutting board. Using a long, sharp serrated knife, gently slice each log on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. You will have about 24 cookies from each log. Using a flat spatula, gently transfer each slice cut-side up back onto the baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart.

11. Bake the cookies again: Bake again until the cookies are toasted, the cut edges have a light golden crust, and they are ever-so-slightly firm to the touch in the center, 12 to 15 minutes. Carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely.