Daring Bakers December Challenge: Stollen

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.

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