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Betsy’s Stollen
When Betsy Oppenneer’s husband was in the Army years ago they were given orders to be stationed in Germany. She couldn’t wait to taste a true German stollen. Much to her disappointment it was rather cake-like and dry. This is her version of a moist, lovely stollen perfect for the holidays.
1 cup raisins
1 cup mixed candied fruits
1/4 cup orange juice or rum
2 packages (2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, softened
7 cups (approx.) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon mace
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup chopped almonds
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons (approximately) heavy cream
red and green candied cherries for garnish (optional)
Combine raisins, candied fruits, and orange juice or rum; set aside.

In a large bowl stir yeast into water to soften. Add milk, half the softened butter, 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, mace, lemon rind, and eggs. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. This is a sponge; it has the consistency of cake batter rather than bread dough.

Cover the sponge with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise for 30 minutes. It should be light and full of tiny bubbles.

Stir sponge to deflate. Add remaining half of softened butter, salt, raisin/fruit mixture, and almonds; mix well. Gradually add flour, a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead, adding more flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Put dough into an oiled bowl, turning once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil, cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 9 x 13-inch oval. Brush 1 tablespoon melted butter on each oval. Combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle half the sugar mixture over one half of each oval lengthwise. Fold dough in half lengthwise to resemble a long Parker House-style roll. Carefully lift stollens onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press folded side slightly to help loaf keep its shape during rising and baking. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 minutes, or until internal temperature of stollens reaches 190°F. Immediately remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack to prevent the crust from becoming soggy. Let sit for 30 minutes before icing.

Combine confectioners’ sugar with enough heavy cream to have the consistency of honey. Drizzle atop stollens. Cut red cherries into sixths and place spoke-fashion, to resemble flower petals, on top of stollens. Cut green cherries into fourths to make stems and leaves. Makes 2 stollens.
This recipe reprinted from King Arthur Flour’s Baking Sheet, Vol. III, No. 2, December, 1991.

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