I want to go back. To go back to being young and innocent, the only pressure studying to pass a math test. I didn’t love a lot of my youth. School destroyed me emotionally and exhausted me physically. I was always a worrier. But so many things about being a kid, tween, teen were enjoyable. I often wish I could relive those moments, those feelings, those memories.
I want to go back to our trips to Disney World because truthfully I don’t really remember them. I know it was a good time from pictures and stories, but I’d just love to experience it again. It must have been awesome to little seven year old me to see the Magic Kingdom and experience it without a worry in the world.
I want to go back to the summer we lived in an apartment. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t love living in an apartment, but I loved the swimming pool there. Almost always empty, ready, and waiting for me along with Mom or my baby sitter. Entire, sun filled days of bliss were spent there, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I want to go back to all of my Granny’s visits. I loved her with all my heart, but I was a kid focused on my own things, not hers. Now that she’s been gone for more than six years, I’d love another chance to talk to her, bake with her, take a walk with her. we’d connect on an entirely different level.
I want to go back to a couple summers ago when my aunt and uncle stayed with me while Mom and Dad went on vacation, then Mom and I went to Fash Bash, a huge fashion show and party. We did all kinds of other fun things and I felt like the world was my oyster. I want that summer back to live it all over again. Of course, as I look out the window at seemingly never ending snow, stacking up inch after inch, I just want summer back period.
However, I can’t have any of those things back. Instead, I’ll just have to try to remember and focus on making the future even better than the past.
Luckily, I have some of this Stollen stashed away in the freezer to relive and making it with Mom was a new, wonderful memory. I’ve wanted to make Stollen for years and finally got around to it. I’m so glad I did. The recipe is easy to make, though it does require lots of rise time. The end result is a decadent coffee cake like bread. The exterior has a shiny, bakery worthy crust, while the interior is soft and moist. It’s loaded with dried fruit and almonds. Plus, it feeds an army. Seriously, this thing is MASSIVE! It’s perfect for Christmas morning alongside a cup of coffee or tea! I’m already making awesome new memories with this Stollen and you will be too!
1 cup currants
¼ cup bourbon
1 ¼ cups jumbo raisins (I like Trader Joe’s medley)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
6 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup milk (I used almond, but any will work)
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¼ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Zest of 2 oranges
Zest of 1 lemon
¾ cup dried tart cherries
¼ cup chopped dried apricots
1 ¼ cups unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
In two separate, small bowls, soak currants in bourbon and raisins in orange juice.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, 6 tablespoons sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cloves.
In a medium microwave safe bowl, heat milk and 10 tablespoons butter in 30 second increments until butter is fully melted. Cool for about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast. Let stand 2-3 minutes until yeast is frothy and bubbly. If the yeast does not froth, it is dead and you need to try different yeast. Add the yeast mixture, the milk mixture, and the eggs to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
Once a dough is formed, add currants and raisins, along with about a spoonful of liquid from each bowl, orange zest, lemon zest, cherries, apricots, and almonds. Stir the add-ins in as much as possible before transferring to a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes.
Butter a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of butter. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to coat it with butter. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and place in a warm place until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Punch the risen dough down and roll it into a rectangle about 16 by 24 inches and ¼ inch thick. Starting with a long side, roll the dough up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder. Connect the ends of the dough, forming a large circle. Make sure the edges are sealed and the circle is as uniform as possible. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Cover the dough with parchment paper and place in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes. It will not rise much. After the 30 minutes, brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter and bake until golden brown and crusty, 35-45 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool completely. Bread may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours or in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving. This really adds to the flavor; however, do not freeze it with confectioners’ sugar.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
An additional 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours is required for bread to rise, but this is not hands-on time.