My mom's friend Helene told me her mom used an interesting method for making chocolate mandel bread: instead of mixing in the chocolate chips, she'd use one portion of the dough to form a somewhat flat log, layer on some chocolate, and then pat the rest of the batter on top. The log is the same shape as described below, but when you cut into it, there's a chocolate center. Fun, huh? Might have to try that next time.
Chocolate Chip-Walnut Mandel Bread
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) walnut pieces (I like them chopped pretty finely)
coarse sugar for sprinkling on top
Beat together the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and salt at medium-high speed until thickened and light in color, about 5 minutes. Beat in the flour and baking powder. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight).
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment (preferable to a silpat because you're going to have to cut them with a sharp knife). Divide dough into four equal pieces (11-13 ounces each). Form the dough into four logs, two on each baking sheet, each about 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. Leave at least two inches between the logs. Sprinkle heavily with coarse sugar. I used demerara.
Bake 28-30 minutes, or until the logs are set and lightly browned on the edges and sides (but not all over). Remove them from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300F. Spray the logs lightly with water to make them easier to cut, and let them cool on the trays for 10 minutes. Cut into 1/2" to 3/4" slices. I sliced them on a bit of an angle and got exactly 11 from each log. Separate them a bit, so the air can reach both of the cut sides, and return them to the oven for another 35-40 minutes, or until they are baked all the way through. You can cool them right on the tray.
Makes about 44 cookies.