Treat yourself: Stollen Bites recipe perfect for Christmas
What a crazy year but if there is one good thing to come from all of this, it is time spent together with the ones you love. The slowdown has forced us all to do just that, slow down and sometimes you just need to see the upside of that. I can’t imagine having a family, helping with home schooling, working from home, cooking and cleaning but that is exactly what a lot of my friends and family are dealing with, but I also see all the FB posts of everything they are doing to make this a special time. Good for them, that is what we should all strive to do right now. Take some time to do one thing a day that makes you feel good, whether it’s having coffee or tea from a special cup, yoga, meditation, cooking up something you love or just reading a book. Treat yourself better right now, love more, laugh more and try to worry less.
I’ve been cooking up some of my favorites. We make tamales every December and freeze them for future eating throughout the year. I’m bottling my raspberry vinegar to give as gifts and baking a couple batches of biscotti every week. I’m glad that I canned raspberry jam all summer and Ralph made his delightful snack mix. I have a small table in my kitchen at Christmas time where all these items gather waiting to be put in a bag and given away. It takes all the stress out of shopping for people because everyone loves food and especially homemade.
The recipe I’m sharing with you is one I only make around Christmas. I share a few of them with special friends but I confess I like to eat most of them myself with a cup of coffee, chai tea or mulled wine, (that treat I was talking about earlier). I love me some Stollen bites. The original recipe is from King Arthur Flour, but they call for making a sponge and they were so dry I couldn’t even roll them into a ball, plus I substituted dried fruit for all the candied, more to my liking, added eggs, more butter and a few other tweaks. They keep in an airtight container for a week but mine have never lasted that long. I know this recipe looks hard but it’s really not if you do it in stages. Cut up your dried fruit and almonds a day or two before, then all you have to do is mix up your dough, let it rise and shape them. As with any yeast dough the time is mostly in waiting for it to rise but you can always find something else to do during the rising (like reading a book).
2 pkg active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water (105-110 degrees)
Put above ingredients in a small bowl and allow to rise about 10-15 minutes
Have your fruit cut up ahead of time, 1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/2 cup golden raisins or dried crannies, your choice, I use 1/4 cup of both. Put all the diced fruit in a bowl and add 2 Tablespoon rum or brandy, I like White Christmas Rum & Brandy. We have this on hand every year. I nuke this for about 30 seconds to help the fruit absorb the liquid.
For the dough, put the yeast mixture in a bowl and add:
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 1/2 cups flour, I used unbleached plus a little more if needed
Combine all ingredients adding flour last and when mixed thoroughly add in your dried fruit, the last thing you will stir in is 1/2 cup of chopped almonds, I like Trader Joe’s Honey Roasted sliced almonds for this recipe. Place the dough in a buttered bowl and cover. Let rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours till double in size. Turn the dough into a work surface and divide into about 45-50 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet leaving 1 inch between them. Cover and let rise about 45 minutes, until balls are puffy.
Bake the stollen bites in a preheated 325-350 oven for 16-18 minutes, remove and cool for 10 minutes. Toss stollen in 1/2 cup melted butter and roll in 2 cups powered sugar, this is best done in a bag, keeps the mess contained. I prefer to dust them with the powdered sugar using my small mesh hand-held strainer, then I just rub the bottoms in the extra on the cookie sheet.
These might seem hard the first time you make them, but I guarantee if you make these once they will be on your Christmas baking list every year.