A slightly softer cousin to biscotti, Mandel Bread is a traditional Ashkenazic Jewish cookie. This version is chock full of dried fruit and spices, then chocolate-dipped for a truly special finish.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer, beat the wet ingredients (eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and orange zest) on medium speed until combined.
In another large bowl, mix/whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, instant espresso and salt) until combined.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients, just until mixed.
Stir the slivered almonds and dried cherries into the dough. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 2, or up to 24, hours. Dough will seem oily, but that oiliness will dissipate once the mandel bread is baked.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C, with 2 racks close to the center of the oven. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and, with wet hands, form each piece into 2 logs that are about 3" x 7" (7.5 x 23 cm). Bake 4 logs on each baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through the baking.
Remove the mandel bread from the oven, let cool 5-10 minutes, or until cool enough to slice and carefully cut into 1" (2.5 cm) slices. Lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F/120 degrees C.
Put the slices back on the baking sheets and bake for an additional 10 minutes per side, or until crispy. Cool on a cooling rack.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave (heat for 15 seconds at a time until melted, stirring each time). Dip the ends of the mandel bread in the chocolate and dry on parchment paper. You can also refrigerate the dipped mandel bread to help the chocolate harden faster.