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Easy German Stollen (King Arthur Flour)

Easy German Stollen (King Arthur Flour)
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Easy German Stollen (King Arthur Flour)

This baking powder version of a classic yeasted holiday favorite (a.k.a. The I-Don't-Have-Time-To-Make-Stollen Stollen) is quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. The recipe combines dried fruits and toasted almonds in a tender, buttery dough, with a blizzard-like coating of confectioners' sugar. Even better it makes two loaves: one to enjoy, one to wrap and give away. Personal Note: Having been lived and been raised by a German mother, I've eaten my share of German Stollen, which is a traditional Christmas treat. I'd describe this recipe as a cross between Italian Biscotti and our fruitcake (minus any trace of liquor). These taste better, even after a few days. I enjoy them with a morning cup of coffee. Make more-- they disappear fast!

Ingredients

cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
½ cup granulated sugar
teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt*
½ cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
1 cup ricotta cheese, part-skim milk type
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
teaspoons Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor, optional but good
¼ teaspoon lemon oil or ¼ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
1 cup dried fruit blend; or ½ cup golden raisins + ½ cup of your favorite dried fruits, chopped to ½" pieces if necessary
cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled
Reduce the salt to ¼ teaspoon if you use salted butter
NOTE: I added almond paste to the center of each stollen, and it turned out great.

Directions

1) Preheat your oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment. 2) Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. 3) Cut the cold butter into small chunks, then blend it into the flour mixture to form uneven crumbs. 4) In a separate bowl, mix together the cheese, egg, vanilla, and flavors. 5) Toss the fruit and almonds with the flour mixture until evenly distributed. Then combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing until most of the flour is moistened. 6) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead it two or three times, until it holds together. Divide it in half. 7) Roll each piece of dough into an 8" x 7" oval about 1/2" thick. 8) Fold each piece of dough roughly in half, leaving the edge of the top half about 1/2" short of the edge of the bottom half. Should you fold the long way, or the short way? The long way will give you a longer, narrower stollen, with shorter slices; folding the short way will give you a wider, fatter stollen, with longer slices. 9) Use the edge of your hand to press the dough to seal about 1" in back of the open edge; this will make the traditional stollen shape. It's also the familiar Parker House roll shape, if you've ever made them. 10) Place the shaped stollen on the prepared baking sheet. 11) Bake the stollen till they're very lightly browned around the edges, about 40 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean. 12) Remove the stollen from the oven, and transfer to a rack. Brush them each with 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle heavily with confectioners' sugar. 13) Allow the stollen to cool, then brush with butter again, and sprinkle with sugar again. Wrap in plastic wrap till ready to serve. Plastic-wrapped stollen will keep well for 2 weeks or so at room temperature. Yield: two 1-lb. stollen loaves. Recipe summary Hands-on time: 20 mins. to 30 mins. Baking time: 40 mins. to 45 mins. Total time: 2 hrs to 2 hrs 15 mins. Yield: 2 loaves Tips from our bakers * Unlike standard stollen, this version doesn't keep for weeks on end. However, it was fresh as fresh could be a week after we made it; and still good 2 weeks out. By the end of the third week, it was starting to get that dry, stollen-type texture you might be used to... so we'd say enjoying it within 2 to 2 1/2 weeks after baking would give you your optimal stollen experience. * A number of readers have asked for a substitute for ricotta cheese. You won't get as smooth-looking a result using the following substitutions, but the stollen will still be very tasty. Reduce the butter to 2 ounces (1/4 cup). Work 3 ounces cream cheese and the butter into the flour as directed. Mix the egg and vanilla with a generous 1/3 cup milk (instead of with ricotta). Proceed as directed in the recipe.

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