The Part Where I Talk About Baking – In My Novel, And For Rosh Hashanah

Tonight at sundown starts the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and it’s one of the times of year that I bake.  I do not bake often. I do not like to bake. Evie, the main character in The Glass Wives, bakes often (but it’s not a baking novel, or a cook book, although I do believe she will share her recipes in the future).

Evie loves to bake.  The only thing I like about baking is what I have when I’m finished baking.

Evie bakes many things. I bake only a few things.

In The Glass Wives, Evie bakes cookies for her kids and her friends all the time. I bake kamish bread for Rosh Hashanah and for Hanukkah.  And for the first time ever, last Passover, I channeled Evie and made coconut macaroons from scratch. Coconut macaroons make a cameo appearance in The Glass Wives (because really, how long do homemade macaroon actually last?) Kamish bread does not appear in the novel. I’m not sure why since itsthebestthingintheentireuniverse.

Kamish bread is often called mandel bread.  Of course I didn’t know that until I moved to the Midwest the first time and near the Jewish holidays, people I’d met kept talking about this amazing mandel bread. Finally, they brought me some.

“Um, yeah. That’s kamish bread,” I said.  And since no one except people in my family seem to know what kamish bread is, I figure somewhere long ago and far away, someone made it up.  I like that. It’s creative in addition to delicious.

If you celebrate Rosh Hashanah or if you don’t, I hope you have a sweet New Year.  According to the Jewish calendar it’s 5773. (Yeah, we’re old.) And to help you have a sweet New Year, here’s my recipe for chocolate chip kamish bread.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The first time I was published in the Chicago Tribune, it was also about cookies.  You can read that story here if you’re hungry for more. 

Chocolate Chip (Don’t-Call-Me-Mandel) Kamish Bread

  • 3/4 c. Sugar
  • 1 c. Oil
  • 4  Large eggs
  • 3 1/2 c. -4 c. flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 6 oz (approx. 1/2 bag) mini chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, oil and Large eggs. Add in the sifted flour, baking powder, and vanilla extract, and mix well. Add in the chocolate chips.
  2. Mix should be very thick and sticky. Shape into two loaves and place on either side of a cookie sheet. Bake at 325F for 30-35 min and then remove from oven. Cut into slices (I slice on a diagonal. I’m fancy that way) while still hot and return to the oven for another 5-10 min, or until slices are light brown.
  3. Dunk into milk or coffee. Or not. Eat frozen or out of the fridge or off the hot cookie sheet or at room temperature. Good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack.
  4. Instead of, or in addition to, chocolate chips you can add nuts or dried fruits. You can roll the dough in cinnamon and sugar before baking as well. You can make many batches and send me some for testing.
  5. Do not forget the baking powder. I’m just sayin’.

Sticky dough, mixed with potato masher. (I told you I wasn’t a baker.)

2 Loaves. Loaves = Logs

Baked, sliced, back in the oven.

The ends, for tasting. And because it would be rude to take the ends to a friend’s house for Rosh Hashanah dinner. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

15 thoughts on “The Part Where I Talk About Baking – In My Novel, And For Rosh Hashanah

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