Veyeira: Akeida Ram’s Horn Cookies (Mandelhoernschen)

There is so much going on in this parsha that it was hard to focus on one thing. In the end, I decided to make ram’s horn cookies. Actually, these are mandelhoernshen, almond horns that have had their shape altered ever so slightly to look more like shofars.

“And Avraham raised his eyes and saw a ram afterwards, caught in the thicket by its horns.”

Why “afterwards?”

According to Pirkei Avos (Chapter 5 Mishna 6), this particular ram had been created by Hashem the first erev Shabbos, at twilight on the 6th day of creation.

According to the Midrash (see Torah Tots and page 11 of The Resurrection Motif in the Midrash on the Akedat Yitzchak) the ashes of the sacrificed ram became the foundation for the Mizbeyach in the Beit Hamikdash, its tendons became the strings of Dovid Hamelech’s harp, it’s hide became a belt for Eliyahu Hanavi, and it horns were made into shofars. The left horn sounded at Har Sinai when the Torah was given. The right horn, the larger one, was set aside for trumpeting the arrival of Moshiach.

Reb Jay (Daf Notes) points out that the Midrash tells us that Hashem creates the cure before the sickness, and so it was with this ram.

Why didn’t Avraham see the ram right away? Reb Jay points to the Midrash that says that Satan was able to hide it until Avraham did Hashem’s will, and then it could be hidden no longer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Ram’s Horn Cookies

The recipe for almond horns comes from Gesine Bullock-Prado. Basically, the cookies are made from almond paste, sugar, egg white, and sliced almonds. After baking, the cookies are brushed with sugar syrup, making these gluten-free sweet treats more of a confection than a cookie. I cut the recipe in half because I had an 8 ounce can of almond paste and I didn’t need a whole lot of cookies.

8 ounces almond paste
2 ounces granulated sugar
1 1/2 ounces egg whites (1 1/2 whites, or 3 Tbl., but one extra-large is probably fine, too)
4 ounces sliced almonds
simple syrup (heat 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 cup of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved–this is too much, though; half this amount would be fine).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Put the almond paste in a bowl with the sugar and mix, using the paddle until the almond paste is broken up into small crumbs. Gradually add the egg white and mix thoroughly, scraping up the bottom to make sure there are no lumps or missed spots of almond paste that don’t get incorporated. You want a smooth mixture of the sugar, almond paste and egg whites. You can also use a food processor instead of a mixer to combine the ingredients, following the same order.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       This is the point in the original recipe where you are told to shape the sticky dough on a flour dusted surface into a 15″ rope. Next, you cut the rope into 13 pieces. Then you roll the pieces in the sliced almonds, shaping each piece into a 5″ rope (tapered on each end) that you curve into a horn (horseshoe shape, crescent shape, u-shape).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I used potato starch instead of flour, which may have made a difference, but I found this process to be unnecessarily messy.  Next time, I would scoop the dough (using a cookie scoop) onto a sheet dusted with potato starch. Then I would shape the ropes, using the almonds to help reduce stickiness. The ropes are the easiest to handle once rolled in the almonds.

Let the horseshoe shaped cookies dry on a parchment lined sheet pan at room temperature for 3 hours. Then bake them at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until they have turned golden (watch out! Don’t let the almonds get too brown).

As soon as you pull the cookies from the oven, brush them with the sugar syrup. You will have too much syrup. Don’t even try to use it all.

Dip the ends of the cookies in melted chocolate after the cookies have completely cooled. You don’t need a lot of chocolate for this, just a handful of chips.

update: I found a very similar recipe (a specialty of a famous hotel in Minnesota that was published in Bon Appetit in 1991 and republished in the 2006 anniversary issue) that calls for piping the batter into 6″ strips over the almonds and then rolling the strips in almonds before curving into horns. This might be easier than shaping by hand. Here are proportions for this other recipe: 7 ounces almond paste, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs whites, plus 2 cups sliced and slightly crushed (6 ounces approximately), and 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate for dipping. The baking temperature and time: 375 degrees for 18 minutes. This recipe has the same amount of total sugar as the above recipe, but all the sugar is mixed into the dough, rather than half being used for a syrup. This probably an easier recipe than the above.

Bonus: Here is a another post that links to these cookie–check out all the other nice cookies on the cookie tray at Big A little a.

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5 Responses to “Veyeira: Akeida Ram’s Horn Cookies (Mandelhoernschen)”

  1. Leora Says:

    Nice one! For someone who loves the flavor of almonds.

  2. Lisa Says:

    First off..I have a friend with a nut allergy, so those granola bars below would be a great surprise for her! Secondly, these ram horns, for those of us not allergic, look phenomenal!! I love the almond paste/marzipan in baked goods!

  3. Lynn D Says:

    Since I can ear only a little almond (high in oxalates that can cause pain), will try with pumpkin seeds and almond extract. wonder how tapioca flour might be to shape in.
    Thank you for the recipe

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