As far as the classic German Christmas cake called Stollen, Christmas Stollen (or Weihnachtsstollen), is concerned, it comes in many different shapes and sizes these days – traditionally this is a rich, yeasted loaf enriched with fruit, cherries, nuts and citrus peel. When it comes out of the oven, it is brushed with tons melted butter, then covered thickly in icing sugar. Don´t get me wrong, we enjoy the classic German Stollen – if you are looking for a more traditional Christmas Stollen, you can visit my blog, I posted a wonderful recipe here – but this year, which seems to be busier than ever, I thought I'd transform a true classic into muffins for a quicker result with just as much flavor!
Stollen recipes also have a lot of symbolism and history. There are records and recipes in Germany as far back as the 1300s, and the marzipan wrapped in the dough symbolises the infant swaddled in cloth. I really like this idea of symbolism, and it is nice that these traditions are still with us, all these years later.
Marzipan Stollen Muffins
(Author: The Kitchen Lioness)
Ingredients for the Muffins
- 150g butter, unsalted, room temperature
- 100g superfine (caster) baking sugar
- 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla sugar
- 2 eggs (M), free-range or organic
- 200g AP (plain) flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 ¼ tsp Stollen Spice Mix* (or you can substitute ½ tsp Mixed Spice**, ½ tsp Ceylon cinnamon, and ¼ tsp ground nutmeg - or a good grating of fresh nutmeg - instead)
- 100ml milk, room temperature (I use 3.5 %)
- 75g dried cranberries, chopped roughly if too large (you can use raisins, sultanas aka golden raisins, or dried cherries instead)
- 75g dried figs, chopped (you can use Mixed Peel aka candied lemon and orange peel - instead)
- 60g Marzipan, diced (I use Lübecker Marzipan)
- 60g blanched whole almonds, finely chopped
Ingredients for the Butter-Sugar Coating
- 25 grams, butter, unsalted, melted
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- a 12-cup capacity muffin tray
- paper liners or silicone molds
- pastry brush
Preparation of the Stollen Muffins
- Pre-heat your oven to 180° C (160° C convection oven/356°F).
- Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers or silicone inserts (I used red tulip paper liners).
- In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla sugar until light and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes).
- Add eggs to the creamed butter mixture, one at a time, making sure to cream well after each addition (for about a minute).
- Then in another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spice mix (or spices).
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
- With a light touch, fold the dried fruit, marzipan and almonds into the batter.
- Separate the mixture into 12 muffin cases (I use my 5 cm ice cream scoop here but you can also use tablespoons).
- Bake the Stollen Muffins for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or untli slightly risen and golden brown on top.
- Once the Stollen Muffins are ready, remove the muffin tray from the oven.
- When they have cooled a little and are firm enough to handle, lift out of the muffins onto a wire racks and cool for about 5 minutes.
- Then melt the butter, and use it to brush the warm muffins.
- Using a fine sieve, cover with the icing sugar, and add another dusing of icing sugar just before serving. NOTE: Although these are best served warm or at room temperature, they will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container. If you keep them for a few days, make sure to re-heat slightly before eating (microwave) and enjoy them either plain or broken up and slathered with unsalted butter and honey or marmalade.
Stollen Spice Mix / Stollengewürz
(feel free to double or triple the quantities, as needed)
Ingredients for the Stollen Spice Mix (*)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (I always use Ceylon cinnamon)
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp ground mace
Preparation of the Stollen Spice Mix
- Carefully measure out the spices.
- Mix all spices well.
- Scoop the mix into a spice jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Label the jar (with date and contents).
- Use this mixture in recipes that call for Stollen Spice Mix
- Discard any leftovers after four months.
These festive muffins capture the essence of a classic German Stollen with their cakelike interior, delightful pockets of gooey almondy marzipan, a bit of crunch from the almonds and those wonderful fruity flavors from the dried fuits as well as a must-have sugar-coated exterior. Flavored with warm Christmassy spices, they take on the feel of Advent season and Christmas.
We were really pleased how they turned out. They are ideal as Advent teatime treats but if you're planning to serve them on Christmas morning or for breakfast, you can cut down on prep time by weighing and mixing all your dry ingredients and lining your muffin tray on Christmas Eve or the night before. Then all that is left to do is a bit of creaming and baking which will fill your kitchen and house with wonderful seasonal aromas.
Wishing all of you a peaceful and delicious Advent season!