German Stollen are the ultimate Christmas treat for the festive season. These Stollen bars are made without yeast which means they’re quick and easy to bake. Each little bite is packed full of dried fruits, candied orange zest, chopped pistachios and almonds, marzipan and winter spices making them the perfect treat for the Christmas season.
Stollen is a traditional German Christmas bread, usually referred to as Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. It’s a staple treat around Christmas time and is now enjoyed in other parts of the world too. Traditional Stollen recipes include the use of a strong bread flour and yeast, making a dense cake-like sweet bread full of dried fruits and chopped nuts, with a marzipan centre. They’re also quite often referred to as Quarkstollen, using quark in the recipe to make them extra creamy. My take on Stollen is slightly different but still in keeping with traditions.
This Stollen is incredibly easy to make and can be eaten warm fresh out of the oven. The melted butter is cooled and mixed with the cream cheese, sugar, spices and zest before being added to the dry ingredients to form a sticky dough. The frozen marzipan, dried fruits and chopped nuts are then folded through the mixture before being transferred into a baking tin to bake for around 25 minutes. Once baked, the Stollen is lathered with more melted butter and sprinkled generously with a thick layer of icing (confectioner’s) sugar.
What equipment do I need for these bars?
- 8 inch (20cmx20cm) square baking tin
- Stand mixer or electric hand-held mixer
- Baking paper
What ingredients do I need?
- Sugar – Caster sugar or fine white sugar is used in this recipe to add the sweetness it needs
- Eggs – Medium free range eggs are best. Egg is needed to add structure to the bars and whisking it in aerates the mixture
- Butter – Unsalted butter is my preferred butter but if you do tend to use salted butter, you can leave out the extra 1/4 teaspoon of salt from the mixture. The butter is melted and cooled before being added to the mixture so as not to risk curdling with the cream cheese or the egg. Using melted butter creates a denser heavy cake rather than using the creaming method which would create a fluffier crumb
- Gluten free flour – A gluten free flour blend such as Doves Farm Plain Flour or Schär Mix C for Cakes is perfect for this bread. I prefer a plain flour with no added baking powder or soda so that I can control the amount being added but a self-raising flour can be used too. The perfect blend for this cake is a flour blend that contains cornstarch, corn flour, lentil flour, tapioca starch and Xanthan Gum. Traditional recipes call for strong white bread flour and yeast but this recipe creates a more cake-like Stollen
- Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten free recipes and there’s no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice but you can use any brand. Xanthan Gum is a gluten replacement for gluten-free baking and helps to replace the lost elasticity that gluten provides, keeping your cake together and stopping it from crumbling into dry pieces
- Baking powder – Baking powder also acts as a leavening agent, helping the cake to rise. Any baking powder will work, just again, check that it is definitely gluten-free as not all brands are.
- Mixed ground spices – Ground spices are what add the intense flavour to this cake. A mixture of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom mean this cake is packed full of Christmas flavour.
- Salt – A pinch of salt in a cake recipe enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness of the cake
- Dried fruits – Any dried fruits can be used for this Stollen such as sultanas, however, I prefer cranberries!
- Orange zest – The zesty notes in this recipe come from the zest of 1 medium orange. You could however use candied orange peel or zest too!
- Ground almonds and chopped almonds – Ground almonds and chopped almonds add to the nutty flavours and pair perfectly with the fruit tones
- Marzipan – Marzipan is present is all traditional Stollen recipes and it doesn’t go a miss here. Marzipan is cut into 1cm cubes, frozen and folded carefully into the mixture in order to help it remain cubed whilst baking
- Chopped pistachios – Chopped pistachios are the best ingredient in this Stollen. Try not to chop them too small, in fact you can also toss them whole into the mixture if you wish
- Cream cheese – Some Stollen recipes use quark, however, I prefer to use a full-fat cream cheese such as Philadelphia. Quark, yogurt or cream cheese can be used and the Stollen will taste great with any substitute
Tips & Tricks
Freezing the marzipan overnight before adding it to the dough mixture means that the marzipan isn’t too soft before baking and won’t spread too much during the baking process. Just be sure to chop the marzipan into 1cm-sized cubes beforehand.
If you wish to add extra zesty-ness to your Stollen, soak your dried fruits in orange juice overnight before draining and drying out. The fruit must be thoroughly dried out before adding to the dough so as not to add too much extra moisture to the bars! Alternatively, you could soak them in brandy too for Stollen bars with an extra kick!
The dough is rather sticky and if you’re finding it difficult to spread it evenly into the baking tin, use the back of a wet spoon or wet hands to smooth the dough into place.
German Stollen Bars
Delicious traditional German stollen bars made without yeast and packed full of cranberries, marzipan and pistachios as well as zesty orange and winter spices. The perfect little bite-sized Christmas treats!
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 25-30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12-18 bars
For the Stollen bars:
□ 260g gluten free plain flour blend
□ 200g caster sugar
□ 90g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
□ 1 medium egg
□ 135g cream cheese
□ 30g ground almonds
□ 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
□ 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
□ 1 teaspoon baking powder
□ 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
□ 1/2 teaspoon mixed ground spices
□ zest of 1 orange
□ 150g dried cranberries
□ 50g chopped almonds
□ 50g chopped pistachios
□ 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
□ 200g marzipan
For the topping:
□ 150g icing sugar
□ 50g melted butter
- Chop the marzipan into 1cm cubes and put in the freezer to freeze whilst preparing the dough or the night before.
- Preheat the oven to 170 C fan and grease and line an 8 inch (20cmx20cm) square baking tin. Take care to leave some baking paper hanging over each side so that transferring the Stollen to a cooling rack is easier.
- Melt the butter in a pan a set aside to cool completely before whisking together with the cream cheese, orange zest and spices.
- Whisk in the egg until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, Xanthan Gum, baking powder and salt.
- Fold in the dried cranberries, chopped almonds and pistachios to the dry mixture.
- Create a well in the dry mixture and pour in the wet mixture.
- Mix together with a wooden spoon until no pockets of flour remain.
- Fold in the frozen marzipan.
- Transfer the sticky dough to the lined baking tin and spread evenly with a wet spoon.
- Bake on the middle shelf for around 25-30 minutes or when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Set aside the Stollen to cool for several minutes before brushing with melted butter.
- Sift a generous layer of icing sugar, around 5mm, onto the Stollen and cut into 12 large bars or 18 smaller bars.
Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think!