With Christmas around the corner, it’s time to get my glad rags on. And by glad rags I mean my apron. As a keen self taught baker, gifting Christmassy bakes to my friends, family and neighbours is the perfect way to celebrate the season of giving. These little stolen bites are ideal for packaging in gift bags and giving out to your loved ones.
I mean think about it. We all feel the pressure every December, or November if you’re super prepared (I’m super last minute but each to their own). Who do I buy for? What do I buy? Can my budget afford it? It can become quite stressful if you ask me. BUT, gifting bakes is so much more affordable and unique with a personal touch. Call me a scrooge if you must, but gifting your friends with thoughtful homemade bakes screams originality and practicality. Who doesn’t like to eat right? (that was a rhetorical question, if you know someone who doesn’t like to eat, keep them at arm’s length- you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life).
So anyway, back to the recipe. I made these well in advance this year (I’ve got a lot of Christmas baking to get through, organization is key my dear). How did I do this without handing out mouldy stollen before Christmas day? My trusty freezer that’s how. These freeze exceptionally well. After baking, cool them right down, cut them into squares and pop them in freezer bags. When you’re ready to package them for gifting (or to eat them yourself of course) that’s when you’ll finish the stolen bites off- by thoroughly defrosting, brushing them with rum butter and dusting them with icing sugar. Package them in cellophane bags, secure with some fancy ribbon and there you have it. Santa’s your uncle and Rudolph’s your aunt.
Makes 50 large bites
Prep time: 2 hours (includes proving)
Total time: 4 hours (includes cooling down)
For the Stollen Bites:
150g dried mixed fruit
75g glace cherries, chopped
2 tbsp rum
Zest of 2 oranges
2 tsp fast action yeast
475g strong white bread flour
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks, beaten
500g golden marzipan, divided
Icing sugar, for dusting your work surface
To finish off:
75g melted butter mixed with 2 tbsp rum
Icing sugar, for rolling
Combine dried fruit, glace cherries and rum in a small bowl and set aside. Grease and line two 8 inch square tins with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang.
Make the stollen dough. In a small saucepan over a medium heat, combine milk, butter and zest. Heat gently until melted and allow the liquid mixture to cool until just lukewarm.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, caster sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice. Make a well in the middle and pour in the butter and milk mixture followed by the beaten eggs. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until you get a rough dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and springy to the touch, around 10 minutes. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover loosely with some oiled cling film. Prove in a warm place for 1.5 - 2 hours until doubled in size.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, press down into a rough rectangle and scatter over the fruit (drain any excess liquid first). Knead the dough briefly until the fruit is evenly distributed throughout. Divide the dough into four equal parts.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan and grease and line two 8 inch square tins with parchment paper, leaving an overhang of parchment for easy removal. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece of dough into a rough 8 inch square. Carefully place into the tin and using your fingers, push the dough into the corners and edges, covering the base of the tin. Now take 250g of the marzipan and on a clean surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out to an 8 inch square. Place the marzipan over the stolen dough and then place another rolled out 8 inch square of dough of top. Cover with cling film and allow to prove for 30 minutes or until nearly doubled in size. Repeat the same procedure for the second 8 inch tin (I only had one 8 inch tin to hand at the time, so I rested the dough in the fridge until I had baked and cooled the first tin).
Bake the stolen for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before lifting out and cooling completely on a wire rack. Trim the edges and cut into 25 squares and repeat the same for the second tin. (If you’re planning on freezing the stollen, now is the time to package them in sealable bags and freeze.)
Finish off the stolllen bites. Combine melted butter along with 2 tbsp of rum, brush onto each stollen bite and then roll the bites in icing sugar to coat.