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Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Morning Stollen

 Good Morning and Merry Christmas!

 Come on in for a cuppa and a treat!

 It's not a White Christmas, but it's chilly.

We can pick a lemon for your tea or put a dollop of molasses in your coffee.

Stollen has been around for centuries. I'm not adding anything here but proof that you can do it and that you can make it your own with a few tweaks. Many people don't like traditional candied fruits, so I made mine with dried fruits soaked in apricot brandy. Even my picky eaters have been enjoying them.

Traditional stollen is made as a loaf that is flattened and folded over a roll of marzipan filling. This is meant to represent Baby Jesus wrapped in his swaddling cloth. It is a lovely meaning, but I made my stollen into little buns, without marzipan but with sliced almonds. These can be carried and shared very easily.

Christmas Morning Stollen
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Apricot Brandy to cover

Combine the dried fruits and brandy in a glass container. Cover and let soak in the fridge overnight.

1/2 cup warmed milk
1 pkg. dry yeast
pinch of sugar

Lightly warm the milk. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Let this this show proof of its liveliness while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place all of the above ingredients, and the frothy yeast into a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and combine until all of the ingredients are well mixed. At this point, things will look a little raggedy. Do not fear! Set aside.

14 tbsp. butter, softened
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cardamom

In another bowl, cream the butter, an additional 2/3 cup flour and spices until smooth and fluffy. Gradually mix the flour and butter mixture into the raggedy dough until it is all incorporated. I used the dough hook of my mixer for this process. It will come together and be very still but smooth. Allow the dough to rest for about 30 minutes.

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Drain the brandied fruits and keep the lovely liqueur for another use. With lightly floured hands, knead the almonds and drained fruits into the dough. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for another 15 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. With good planning, you can get 24. As you can see, I got 21. Place them on the lined baking sheet, cover lightly and allow to rise in a warm place until slightly puffy. This stiff dough will not rise dramatically, just a bit. It's cold in my house, so I sat them on a heating pad, set to low and covered them with a tea towel.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned and set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking pan for 10 minutes.

1/2 cup melted butter
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar

When they are cool enough to handle, dip into the melted butter then roll in powdered sugar. Store in an air tight container. Serve with a hot cuppa and enjoy!

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