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What are Mandlen?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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Commonly referred to as soup nuts, mandlen is a tasty cracker bread that is often served with soups. Considered part of traditional Jewish cuisine, it's also a favorite on special occasions and religious holidays. The serving of mandlen during the Passover season has earned it the nickname of Passover crackers.

Along with being an excellent cracker to serve with soups, mandlen is also considered to be an excellent addition to party trays or even as a quick snack to tide a person over until mealtime. The ingredients are common elements found in many kitchens, and a basic recipe includes wheat flour, eggs, vegetable shortening, and potato starch. Salt and pepper to taste are added to the dough. Once the dough is thoroughly blended, it is rolled into small round balls, placed on a baking sheet, and baked until the exterior is golden brown in color.

The basic recipe is sometimes enhanced with various blends of herbs and spices. People who are attempting to limit salt intake may choose to use garlic powder or cayenne instead. The addition of other herbs and spices in the recipe can provide a little extra flavor, which may be especially advantageous when the crackers are consumed as a snack.

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Mandlen is actually a Yiddish word that means "almond." While the cracker does not actually contain almonds, the final product does bear a resemblance in both color and shape to this culinary nut. As a popular element of a matzo meal, the mandlen is considered an ideal addition or garnish.

While many families prefer to prepare mandlen from scratch, there are pre-measured mixes available that can cut the preparation time significantly. In addition, packaged versions are available in many supermarkets and boutique grocery stores that carry ethnic cuisine. As packaged brands have become more readily available, the cracker has gained popularity with many soup lovers.

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