The Christmas baking has begun. Just a little here and there. Enough to make the house feel cozy, and get all 7 Clawson’s in the Christmas spirit. It started out with cookies, but I decided to try my hand at a traditional German Christmas bread. A few years ago I bought a loaf of Stollen from a van on the corner of Main St. A bakery from a town far away would send a van every Sat. to all the larger cities and peddle their bread. Being a bakery owners wife I scout out all the competition:) It’s my job. I taste test most of the baked goods in our little valley on a regular basis.
The bread being sold out of the van was more of a European hard crusted variety. Lots of long baguettes, and free formed loaves. They were beautiful, but the one I decided to purchase was a German Stollen. If you’re interested in the history of Stollen click here. Needless to say, it cost about $7 or $8 for a smaller loaf, but it was tasty. A yeasted bread loaded with all sorts of fruit and topped with tons of powdered sugar. It’s pretty, and festive, and I love all that fruit in a toasted slice of bread.
So this year I decided to try making it. After doing a search I found that sometimes the loaves are made with a surprise of Marzipan inside. That’s what I wanted! I love that stuff. It’s just ground up almonds and sugar that is made into a paste. I decided to use my favorite bread recipe since it’s easy, and it has never failed me, and I used the fruit and nuts that I wanted. Lots of raisins, cranberries, dried blueberries, chopped almonds, lemon and orange zest and peel. The marzipan center is a treat I think. The recipe made 3 enormous loaves, so if you don’t want or need to feed an army, go with the numbers in parenthesis. That would be a little more manageable for a family and it will still give you 2 BIG loaves. It’s great the day of, or toasted a day or two later. With all the dried fruit the bread dries out a bit quickly, but I can imagine it would make a lovely bread pudding, or some delicious French Toast Sat. morning. Good luck!