Britain has their mince pies, in France it’s Bouche Noel and Germany has Stollen – alongside all the other Lebkuchen and Christmas cookies, which are all together traditionally served on a ‘bunte Teller’. Literally translated that means ‘colourful plate’ and that is very much what people create with all their varied baked treats in the Advent season and for Christmas itself.
But baking all the traditional cookies takes quite a few evenings and making a good Stollen is also rather laborious, so I was quite pleased when I discovered a receipe for what’s almost like a combination of the two – bite sized Stollen nuggets made with quark, that due to their size are quite cookie like.
Stollen usually contains some candied fruit and orange peel but as I’m not the biggest fan of either my Stollen bites here only have dried cranberries and raisins, some marzipan and nuts, resulting in a Cranberry-Orange-Marzipan flavour.
I keep nibbling away at them as I write this but they get even better if you leave them in a cookie tin for 1- 2 days and keep for a week.
For one baking tray / around 22 Stollen Bites you’ll need:
- 40g raisins
- 40g dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp rum
- 50g butter, softened
- 75g quark*
- 150g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground cardamon
- 1 pinch ground ginger
- grated zest of half an orange
- 40g sugar
- 50g marzipan, chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 15g pistachios, roughly chopped
- 15g chopped almonds
- ca 20g butter
- icing sugar
(* Quark is a German mildly tangy low-fat cheese, similar to curd cheese and you get it in most of the big supermarkets in the UK and delis in the US)
THE EVENING BEFORE YOU’RE BAKING, soak the raisins and cranberries in the orange juice and rum overnight, or, if you are baking in the evening, you could leave them to soak during the day, which should be just about long enough too.
Start by draining any excess fluid out of the quark – some people even drain the quark in a muslin cloth lined sieve but you should be fine to just pour the liquid off that has collected on top of the quark, before measuring the needed amount from the drained quark.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
In one bowl mix the flour with baking powder, cinnamon, cardamon, ginger. In another bowl whisk the butter and sugar together with the orange zest and the scraped out seeds of the vanilla bean, until creamy. Then add the quark and whisk again to incorporate. Add the flour-spice mix and gently whisk it in.
Drain the raisins and cranberries of any excess liquid and add them with the pistachios, almonds and marzipan and knead everything together into a smooth dough.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface, to a thickness of around 1,5 cms and cut out squares of 3×3 cms. Line the squares up on the baking tray with a little space in between and bake them in the oven for 12 minutes.
Melt the butter and brush the baked bites generously with it when they are still warm then thickly dust them with icing sugar. Once the Stollen Bites are cool, keep them in a biscuit tin.