I recently joined Daring Bakers, which is part of the Daring Kitchen (for those of you who don’t have an obsession with baking blogs, Daring Bakers is a community of bakers that organizes baking challenges each month. A different blogger “hosts” every challenge, and all of the participating bakers share their results). Every participant has to complete at least 8 challenges a year, and I figured that between summer break and several small vacations, I’d be able to get home often enough to make the cut. December was my first month as a Daring Baker, and the challenge was to make Christmas Stollen, which is a fruitcake-inspired bread. The host of the challenge provided a recipe, and set some guidelines for us Daring Bakers, but we could get creative with variations.
Instead of rum soaked raisins, glace cherries and mixed peel as filling, I soaked a mixture of raisins, dried cherries, figs, and dates in rum and orange juice. Based on some other baker’s comments, I used a lot more fruit than the recipe called for, so of course I had to use way more rum! After soaking for a day, the dried fruit was delicious, and would have been terrific mixed into greek yogurt or maple syrup for pancakes. I didn’t have the lemon extract that the recipe calls for, so I substituted almond extract, which I thought would complement the marzipan other bakers suggested. I didn’t taste the almond extract in the end, but maybe it was overpowered by the marzipan. Vanilla probably would have worked just as well.
The most important variation I made was the addition of chocolate. Chocolate and dried fruit is a delicious combination, and you just can’t go wrong with semisweet morsels
|My Stollen, pre-baking. It’s a little chubby because I accidentally rolled the dough the short way instead of the long way, but it turned out really well anyway. Plus, this way the slices are bigger!|
|In this picture you can see all of the delicious dried fruit, almonds, and marzipan.|
|The finished product, baked and generously coated with confectioner’s sugar. I served it for my mom’s holiday brunch and it was absolutely delicious.
We finished it off for breakfast over the next two days. The Stollen was time consuming, but I would definitely make it again.