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Stollen

My family is German and part of our Christmas tradition is marzipan stollen for breakfast. Every year my siblings and parents search out the best brands and recipes. At our peak, we had 7 different types of loaves. Wowzer. Luckily, there were enough folks in the house to polish it off.

Over the years I have tried a few recipes for from-scratch loaves. The dense bread must balance fruitiness and citrus notes in the right amounts. This is my current favorite.

Holiday Stollen

Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour Stollen Bites

The original recipe and ingredients are listed below. My notes are preceded with an “HB”.

Part 1: Fruit

1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) dried pineapple, chopped in 1/4″ dice
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) golden raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup (3 ounces) candied cherries, snipped into quarters
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) rum or brandy

Mixing the fruit: Mix together and set aside to allow the fruit to absorb the liquor.

fruitcakemix HB: I prefer the fruit cake mix that is available at the grocery store.  I pour a generous helping of spiced rum and cherry brandy into the large container just after Thanksgiving (no joke), keep it in the fridge, and give it a good shake every couple of days. The liquor breaks up the gooey sugar in the container and the fruit soaks up the flavors. The 2 lb container will give me about 6-8 good sized loaves throughout the season. (More than this recipe makes!) Once it is soaked and spiced, it is soft enough to chew and adds moisture to the dough when it bakes.

stollen1_fruit

Part 2: Sponge

1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (6 ounces) lukewarm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast

Making the sponge: Mix together and set aside for 1 hour, or for up to 4 hours.

stollen2_yeast

Part 3: The Dough

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) softened butter
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest or 1/8 teaspoon orange oil
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) toasted almonds, chopped

Optional: Marzipan

The dough: Combine the sponge and the dough ingredients (except for the almonds), and mix and knead to make a soft, shiny, elastic dough. Towards the end, knead in the soaked fruits (along with any liquid) and almonds. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

HB: At this point you have a choice. The original recipe is for “bites”. But I thought that the tiny loaves were too much like doughnut holes, and I really like a slice with a ribbon of marzipan running through the center. It is your call!

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide it into 40 pieces, rolling each piece into a ball. Place the balls on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 1″ between them. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes, until the balls are puffy.

HB: If making loaves, it may take an hour or so to rise. The dough may feel dry, but the fruit is adding in moisture. When you divide the loaves, don’t forget the marzipan if you are adding that.

stollen3_loaf

Part 4: Baking

Bake the stollen bites in a preheated 350°F oven for about 18 minutes, until they’re light brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Part 5: Coating

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter, melted
2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, glazing sugar, or non-melting sugar

Toss stollen in the melted butter, then the confectioners’ sugar. Allow to cool completely before wrapping and storing. Stollen bites keep well for a week at room temperature; freeze for longer storage. Toss with confectioners’ sugar again just before serving, if desired.

stollen4_sugar

Slice and enjoy!

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350 degrees.

The construction is complete, the walls are back in place (as walls should be) and the cabinets are restocked with flour, sugar, butter, and assorted raw materials for fall projects. I am a happy girl!

It was strange to have a summer without the added heat of the oven. I snuck in one wedding dessert table while I was renting a room with a shared kitchen. (I do not recommend this!) It’s amazing how foreign another kitchen can feel. Ovens, sinks, counter tops, bowls… its all the same. Yet somehow there is an element of “home” that transcends the tools and space and they become something more. A nexus of creativity, a space where everything is in its place and the mind is free to wander and construct.

Long story short… 157 days. I am so happy to click the oven back to “bake”.

knob

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Closed for Renovation

Due to flooding damage, the bakeshop will be closed until mid-August so that we can make repairs and re-stock.

Thank you for your patience.

(update: extended into August- sorry!)

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Cake Show Info for 2013

Lemon Cupcakes

The National Capital Area Cake Show & Cupcake Challenge is around the corner and everyone is invited!

April 6th & 7th
Fairfax High School (3501 Rebel Run, Fairfax, VA)
Cake show: $12 / Cupcake Challenge $15 –> or get both on LivingSocial for $16

What is a cake show again?

* Live television-style challenges with nationally recognized sugar artists
* Displays of wedding and specialty cakes
* Cake tours (explanations for “how did they do that?”)
* Free demos on cake decorating
* Youth activities and hands-on classes (beginner to advanced, priced separately)
And of course…
* Bake sale

More info here: www.cakeshow.org

What about cupcakes?

Saturday night at 6:00 we are celebrating Candy with cupcake challenge entries in the categories of chocolate, chewy non-chocolate (caramels, fruit candies, etc.), and hard candy flavors. A portion of the proceeds benefit our charity: Icing Smiles Inc.
Cupcake Challenge info is here: www.cupcakechallenge.org

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Fat Tuesday

I would not be much of a baker if I did not fully appreciate a holiday dedicated to eating cake and candy.

Join us tonight at the Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade at 8:00pm. The route stretches from Courthouse (near Bayou Bakery of course!) and up through Clarendon proper.

Look for this cake on the back of our “Candyland” float. You can’t eat it, but if you find the pre-party, there will (of course) be cupcakes.

sprinklescake

Krewe Xenia has themed our float “Candyland” in honor of the National Capital Area Cake Show and Cupcake Challenge. The cupcake theme is “Candy Bar” and we will be handing out goodies and flyers with all of the information. Of course you can see it all on the website now.

National Capital Area Cake Show: www.cakeshow.org

Cupcake Challenge 2013:  www.cupcakechallenge.org

Note: The spiritual side of this holiday (yes, mardi gras) is really important to me too, and I look forward to the Lenten fast with just as much anticipation. Try it this year– it will revolutionize your Easter celebration!

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