In THE GLASS WIVES, my main character, Evie, loves to bake. And while TGW is not a foodie novel, the main characters are Jewish. To quote Evie, “Jews feed people. That’s what we do. It’s written somewhere on an ancient scroll: Thou shalt not let anyone leave thy house hungry.”
I totally subscribe to Evie’s way of thinking. And I can cook up holiday meals or after school snacks or impromptu dinners to feed my suburban enclave and extended family for a week. But, I don’t like to bake. I have always thought it would be nice if I loved to bake. But I don’t. Not one tiny bite’s worth.
It really makes a mess, you know? All that flour? The way the bottle of vanilla can so easily spill? The way the baking powder scatters with even the most delicate of sneezes? And then there’s the precision involved. You need measuring cups and spoons aplenty. And there’s equipment and none of it is normal sized, so you need a special cabinet just for baking accoutrements Pans, parchment paper, bowls, spatulas, spoons and whisks. And don’t forget the appliances! Mixers and beaters are different and there are different kinds of each. And then, instead of just eating, you have to you know. Clean up.
Frankly, I’d rather go to the bakery.
But, there has always been one thing I do bake, usually just twice a year, on Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah. And that’s Kamish Bread.
Now before you go all what-the-heck’s-Kamish-bread on me—think of it as a less crunchy biscotti. Many people call it mandel bread or mandel brot. In Yiddish, Kamish means “almost” and bread means, well, it means bread in English.
I never had my grandmother’s kamish bread recipe, but one year I decided to just keep making it until the taste of the kamish bread matched my taste memory.
Chocolate Chip 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- It is rude to give the ends to guests. It is your duty to eat them. Your guests like the ends? Blame the need for quality control, people. Quality control.
Do you have a favorite childhood recipe? Share it here!