Hurricane Florence Snacks: Molly's Yeh's Marzipan Mandel Bread

September is a beautiful month. The roads at home have stepped up their game, all spangled with bright gold Jerusalem artichoke flowers and purple asters. The fields are heavy with rustling crops, wide swathes cut into the landscape daily by dusty tractors. There's a feeling of anticipation in the air, of hurry - even though the afternoons are still so heavy with sun that it's hard to keep your eyes open if you sit down for longer than a moment or two. Anticipation whispers behind all the false sleepiness of September because apart from those beautiful back-roads and patchwork fields and bountiful produce and mornings that begin to hint at cool weather to come, September brings hurricane season.

In Virginia we don't really worry about hurricanes. We get them of course, but by the time a hurricane makes it up the East Coast to Virginia, it is typically less a nasty storm and more a social event we get to snarl about, buy snacks for, and discuss in full across social media before losing power. I mean, every Virginian knows that the reasons hurricanes were invented was for snacks. Hurricanes are basically the original Reason For Snacks right behind the Super Bowl. So when I heard that Hurricane Florence was headed as a category 4 or 5 directly for my hometown, I didn't really worry about it. Now that Florence is definitely headed our way with that "Let me speak to your manager" tone of voice I'm still not really worried...but I am also aware that I possibly should be. We live a fair way inland, well away from any rivers, creeks, and lakes that could flood. Our land is barren of trees. But I have a lot of friends from work and church who likely will be effected by the massive flooding possibilities and my prayer is that Florence will spit on us like the rest of the hurricanes in recent memory, and do little else. In Virginia it's a badge of honor to spend a hurricane totally unconcerned. But sometimes badges of honor are earned at the expense of personal safety...I'm totally prepared to eat my words. I've been eating a lot of words recently. It turns out that it's not really a good idea to make sweeping statements like "Hurricanes are never bad here."

So my car is all filled up with gas and our pantry is all filled up with food. Black beans and rice are simmering on the stove-top. The kitchen is filled with that cozy, promising smell of kielbasa and tomatoes and chili pepper that means bad weather is imminent, but good food is imminent-er. Of course when the power does go out, that means the only working appliance will be our gas stove, and that means (horrors) no more baking. Baking, to me, is a whole lot more than eating-things-I've-baked. Baking is a favorite past-time, a creative outlet, a place where my mind goes quiet and still for once in its long life, and the idea of being forced to not-bake by a storm that probably is going to kill my air-conditioning as well is a little uncomfortable.

I'm making of it what I can now and baking ALL the things pre-Hurricane Florence. The thing I was most excited about today? Molly Yeh's sea salt marzipan mandel bread. This is like biscotti on steroids: a crisp, crunchy cookie with little pockets of chewy sweetness, courtesy of the marzipan baked into the batter and little bitter bursts of dark chocolate. It is a fuss-free dough made with all the of the things you probably already have in your pantry (except maybe the marzipan). It's quick, utterly delicious, and keeps for a couple weeks in your pantry in an airtight container before it even begins to lose its perfect-with-coffee quality. All absolutely vital things to look for in a snack you plan to bake before a power-loss, right? I am so happy to share the recipe with you and I hope that if you are in the path of nasty old Florence, you'll be careful and stay safe and have oodles of sea salt and marzipan mandel bread cookies to tide you over to the other side! Be safe, friends!

Sea Salt & Marzipan Mandel Bread
makes approximately 24 cookies

7 ounces marzipan, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup flavorless oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
sprinkles for sprinkling
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, toss marzipan with powdered sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder till combined. In a large bowl, mix together sugar and oil till combined. Whisk the eggs into the sugar/oil mixture, one at a time, and mix well. Add in vanilla and almond extracts.
  2. Gradually add the flour mixture, chocolate chips, and marzipan into the wet ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon. Batter will be very soft.
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spoon the cookie dough into two 14" x 3" rectangles about three inches apart. Pat into a proper shape, then sprinkle with flaky sea salt and sprinkles.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes, then slice with a bench-scraper or knife into 1"-thick slices. Turn cookies on their side, using a second baking tray if needed. Lower oven heat to 250 degrees F. and return cookies to oven to bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.


  1. Oh my word. You had me at the word "marzipan." I need to make these!

    (and yes...not eating the hurricane snacks is a legitimate problem right now. My mother already prevented me from getting into the Little Debbies)

  2. In a world of chaos soon to is so nice to see friendly, happy little cookies ready to be eaten. Amen. Lol! They look fabulous as your cooking and baking always do...yum! I'm glad you all are further inland, and was wondering about that. Praying hard this weekend! Here in Delaware the most we get is super heavy rain, too. But I have friends and cousins in the Carolina's, so lots of prayers coming. Hope you all will be safe as always!