these days, our favorite thing to do on a cold snowy night (which is pretty much every night) is to wash up, get in our comfy clothes, and then head down the road to eggboy's parents' house to watch marathon runs of homeland on their big screen. it is like a staycation. egg eats soup, and together we predict every five minutes what is going to happen in the next five minutes. i'm usually wrong and eggboy is almost always right.

sometimes we burst out laughing because it's hard to take everything so seriously after that ridiculous saturday night live parody. but in general we're addicted.

we're about most of the way through season two, and i officially have a favorite character: saul berenson. i want to be his bff. he doesn't randomly stab people, he doesn't have jazz freak-outs, he isn't a double agent, he's the only logical, honest, real-life-like character. he is also really smart and he has a really great beard. i basically wish he could be my uncle.

i realized that i get the same feeling watching him as i do when i watch taystee on orange is the new black. i had a class with danielle (who plays taystee) back at juilliard, and what makes her so fun to watch in orange is the new black is that taystee comes so naturally to her. the happy, smiley, hilarious girl that is taystee is also danielle.

and i might be totally wrong about this, it could just be really wonderful acting, but last night it occurred to me that i wouldn't be surprised if the actor who plays saul is exactly like saul in real life.

so i internet researched him, or mandy patinkin, who plays him, and learned that 1) he played inigo montoya in the princess bride, 2) it's impossible to tell from the internet if saul berenson = mandy patinkin, and 3) mandy is short for mandel.

which was a sign that i should make mandel bread. the end.

mandel bread is basically the jewish equivalent to biscotti. it's hard and meant to be dipped in coffee or tea. "mandel" means almonds, so you'll usually find it with sliced almonds along with cinnamon sugar, dried fruit, or chocolate chips. i like this marzipan version because it adds a bit of softness to break up the texture of the dense cookie. the cacao nibs lend a bitter taste, which i like, but you are welcome to use regular chocolate chips.

marzipan mandel (patinkin) bread with cacao nibs and sea salt

makes 18 large pieces

inspired by a recipe from the shiksa.


3 c flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1 c vegetable oil

1 c sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 8-oz can of marzipan (a 7-oz tube will work fine too), chopped into small pieces and dusted with a bit of powdered sugar

1/2 c cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips

a few pinches of sea salt and pearl sugar for sprinkling


in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and kosher salt, and set aside.

in a large bowl, whisk together oil and sugar. whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla and almond extracts.

whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and then fold in the marzipan and cacao nibs or chips.

cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, up to overnight.

preheat oven to 350f.

line a baking sheet with parchment, divide dough into two equal parts, and then form long rectangles, about 4 inches wide. leave a few good inches in between the rectangles because they will spread in the oven. sprinkle the tops with pearl sugar and a few pinches of sea salt and then bake for 25 minutes.

remove from the oven and reduce heat to 250. cut the rectangles into 1-inch pieces and place them on their sides. bake at 250 for 20 more minutes, or until desired crispiness. 

enjoy while watching homeland.