Chocolate Chip and Orange Mandel Bread

You may have noticed that things are looking a little different around here. I'm in the process of transferring all of my posts to this new site. It's quite an endeavor, but I think, in the end, it'll be worth it. Over the next month, I'll be continuing to add new features, like category lists. In the meantime, there's a search bar that will lead you to recipes. Just type "Drinks" and you'll get a list of all the beverages on the site.

I've been holding on to this mandel bread recipe for a while now. Last November, I was visiting my parents and helping while my grandfather had a minor procedure. My mom and I blocked off a day to cook meals for my grandparents to have throughout the week. While I worked on soups, salads, and entrees, my mom put together some desserts. I'd never thought too much about mandel bread, feeling that it was just a really dry cookie. But maybe my tastes have matured with age, because I couldn't stop eating them (especially all the broken bits that were left on the pan). 

When I returned home, I got to work on a recipe, loading the dough with mini chocolate chips and orange zest. For the rest of the week, this was my breakfast and dessert, paired with coffee in the morning and tea before bed. And, in between, I may have snuck one or two more. Self-control is not my strong suit. 

Chocolate Chip and Orange Mandel Bread

Approx 24 pieces

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Zest of 1 orange

For cinnamon-sugar topping
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
2. Add the butter and 1 cup of sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until it's blended. Mix in the vanilla.
3. Put the stand mixer on its lowest setting and carefully add the flour mixture. Mix until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. The dough should be sticky. 
4. Add chocolate chips and orange zest and mix to incorporate with dough. 
5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour (or you can do 30 minutes in the freezer).
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
7. Divide the dough and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Mold the dough into two, 3 inch wide loaves.
8. Bake for 25 minutes. 
9. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 250 degrees. 
10. Transfer the baked loaves onto a cutting board and slice each loaf at a diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. 
11. Return the slices to the baking sheet and sprinkle half the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the cut-side of the mandel bread. Flip the slices over and sprinkle remaining cinnamon-sugar on top. 
12. Place the baking sheet back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes. 
13. Remove from oven. Let cool before consuming.