Studded with fruit and infused with an aromatic combination of spices and ground almonds, stollen is a favorite holiday treat. This recipe makes two stollens - one for you and one to give away as a gift! A quick bread version of the yeast stollen, this delightful bread has a tender crumb and is easier to make than traditional German stollen.
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp.baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. mace*
5-6 cardamom seeds, crushed
(or, substitute ½ tsp. ground cardamom)
3/4 cup finely ground almonds ½ cup butter
1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbs. brandy
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup candied lemon or orange peel
1/4 cup diced dried apricots)
melted butter (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º. In a medium size bowl, sift flour (not necessary, but will produce a more tender bread). Add to the flour the baking powder, sugar, salt, mace, and cardamom. Stir in the ground almonds. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
In mixer bowl, blend the cream cheese until light. Add egg, extracts, brandy and then cream well. Stir in dried fruit. Gradually stir in the flour mixture and combine until well mixed.
Gather dough into a ball and turn out on a lightly floured board. Knead dough a few turns just until smooth. Cut dough in half and shape into two ovals, approximately 8” long by 5” wide. With a butter knife crease it just off center lengthwise. Fold the smaller side of the oval over the larger. Place on an un-greased cookie sheet. Brush lightly with melted butter if desired before baking.
Bake at 350º for about 30 to 40 minutes until just lightly browned. Remove from oven, and after five minutes, using a wide metal spatula, move stollen to cooling a rack. Cool stollen slightly longer before dusting liberally with confectioner’s sugar. Refrigerate for best storage and slice thinly to serve.
* The spice mace is actually the waxy outer covering of the nutmeg. It is dried and subsequently turns a bright orange/rust color. More delicate in flavor than nutmeg, it is highly prized for its warm and pungent sweetness. Today, mace is imported from Indonesia and Grenada. If you do not have mace, you may substitute nutmeg.
Note: King Arthur Flour Company is a wonderful resource for many baking items. I use their European fruit peels, decorative sugars, etc…