Stollen is a traditional German Christmas bread. This version replaces the candied fruits with cinnamon, sugar, and nuts for a new twist on an old classic!

Merry Chrismas Eve! ....well for the Christmas celebrators. For everyone else, happy day after festivus, and a few days to kwanzaa and happy friday should cover just about everyone else! :) 

I'm back in Arizona! Glorious, warm, sunny, beautiful, cactus filled Arizona! For the next four days I'll be running around spending time with family and friends, eating, baking, and laughing the days away. WOOT! This is a much needed warm vacation. London and Edinburgh were a delight, and London, I know you guys are broke but seriously CRANK THAT HEAT UP!  I love the home vacations because I get to sleep in, be lazy, and my mom will probably make me a sandwich if I ask nicely, which as a grown adult I should be ashamed of myself for but I'm not! Oh, well, and there's presents. Who doesn't love that? 

I'm about to go shopping with my mom actually. We're running over to one of my favorite stores to buy her present! Yes, she has to be there. Why? My mother has built herself a cabin and that means she has a whole new kitchen to outfit! Now, she really does own two of just about everything (and fifteen if it is something for cake!)......except for spices! Yes, I'm telling you because I know she won't be on the internet before we leave. Ha! I'm sneaky. I am taking her spice shopping to make sure she has everything she needs to bake herself silly up in the mountains! And wow does she L-O-V-E baking in the mountains! When we go camping she's a gourmet. While camping? Yes! It's a great accomplishment! So I want to make sure she has some gourmet spices to cook with! So excited. I love spice shopping...and it means we can pick up some wonderful Vietnamese cinnamon like I used for this stollen! 

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

I turned my stollen into French toast! It has made for a perfect breakfast! Absolutely delicious! I highly recommend it! Perfect for a Christmas breakfast! 

Happy holidays! 

Holiday Stollen

¼ cup lukewarm water about 110ยบ F
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup milk
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
5½ cups all-purposeflour
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hazelnuts, chopped cooked chestnuts, almonds, or pecans
1 1/3 cups packed golden brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons Vietnamese cinnamon
3 tablespoons flour
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting wreath

Pour warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

In a small saucepan, combine milk and butter over medium - low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add vanilla extracts.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

Then mix in the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

Begin kneading mixing with the dough hook adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 6 minutes by machine.

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Punch dough down. Divide dough in half. Pat each half into 10 x 16-inch oval.

Mix together nuts, cinnamon, brown sugar and flour. Sprinkle over top of the two halves.

Roll each half up as you would a cinnamon roll or a jelly roll; pat gently. Place on prepared sheet. Cover and let rise in warm draft-free area until almost double in volume, about 2 hours.

Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Bake until loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped on bottom.

Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot. Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter. Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first. The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.

Let cool at least an hour before serving.

Slice and serve! And it makes great French toast!