Saturday, December 29, 2012

German Sweet Bread (Stollen)

What a perfect day to bake Stollen! The snow was floating down in thick clumps and it was Christmas Eve. It brought back happy memories of holiday seasons past--the decorated tree, wrapped Christmas gifts, stockings hanging by the fire, and joyful children racing through the house.

I miss those festive days, but will pass the joy on to you. This recipe was given to me by a friend who got it from her mother who came to the United States from Germany. We liked it so much that we ate it not just at Christmas, but also for brunches on special occasions, winter or summer. I entered the stollen in a baking contest in the summer, decorated with Black-eyed Susan s made of candied pineapple petals and sliced date centers. It won first place  and was published in The Elwood Call Leader in Elwood, Indiana, in the mid 1970's.

The decorations in Winter are usually candied cherries--red or green and pecans. This recipe makes four medium sized loaves that you can share with your friends as gifts or at your next party. Don't forget to get the children involved in the preparation. Watch out for the Santas in your house. In my home they nearly polished off an entire loaf before we got up on Christmas morning.


1/4 cup water
2 packs of yeast or 2 scant tablespoons
pinch of sugar

1 1/4 cups milk (Scalded)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter (softened)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 beaten eggs
5 2/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup plumped raisins (Measure raisins and soak in 1/2 cup warm water for about 10 minutes)
1/2 cup candied fruit (Citron, cherries, pineapple-your choice)
lemon zest (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

1. Put lukewarm water in small bowl; add pinch of sugar and yeast. Stir and allow to set until foamy...

2. Meanwhile scald milk, do not boil! add sugar, butter, salt and cool to lukewarm.

3. Add eggs, yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour. Mix until smooth.

4. Add spices, raisins (drained), citron, lemon zest, nuts, and remaining flour a cup at a time. Knead on floured surface to form a soft dough. Form into a ball, place in large buttered bowl and let rise until double in bulk.

5. After rising, Cut into four equal pieces and flatten each into oval shapes. Butter and fold in half,long ways. Place two breads each long ways on greased cookie sheets. Cover with warm towel and allow to rise until double. Bake 375 degrees for 25 minutes until light brown. Remove to rack and cool. Ice with butter frosting and decorate with candied fruit. Share!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Fudge

While shopping at the grocery store the other day, my sister, Wilma, met an elderly woman who was so excited about a recipe she had discovered that she couldn't wait to tell everyone.

That's one thing about being a senior citizen--it's okay to talk to total strangers in the middle of the baking isle at the grocery store. So I would like to thank the creative chemist who thought up this recipe with only two ingredients! Yes, you read that right--just two.


2 cups peanut butter
1 can vanilla or white icing (or chocolate if you prefer)

But wait, there is a caveat. Make sure you buy the cheap peanut butter, not the all natural with just peanuts and peanut oil ( The fudge will turn out too soft.) If you prefer to use natural, try peanut butter with coconut oil or something that makes it homogenized--in other words, it should have a spreading consistency without having to stir it.

1. Pour the can of frosting into a medium-sized microwave safe bowl.

2. Heat in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes.

3. Add peanut butter and mix until smooth.

4. Pour into a buttered 8x8 baking dish.

5. Place in refrigerator until set.

6. Cut into cubes and serve only when you are having guests. Otherwise you're likely to eat the entire dish yourself--not good for you, unless you are a senior who is of a mind that you should have dessert first because life is short.

I used Chocolate icing for this batch:

This is great to make with children, but be sure only adults handle the icing while it is hot. Making goodies with your kids is great fun. Make enough to give some to their favorite people, like Grandma, Grandpa, and their teachers.
Wrap it in a gift bag and see if they can keep a secret until the holidays!