Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Cherry Stollen Bars

This is the start of my seasonal baking, although it was made for Hub's birthday treat. I like this recipe so much that I'll probably make another batch for New Year, when we have family visiting. I like these bars because they are packed with marzipan, and they achieve the 'stollen' effect without using yeast. Not only does yeast baking take so much time, my yeast doughs are notoriously unreliable - a recipe which works once may not work the next time I try it!

The recipe for these Stollen Bars comes from Dan Lepard, and featured in last year's Christmas cooking supplement in the Guardian Weekend magazine. When I made them last year, I followed the recipe exactly and thought the result was perfect! This time I varied the fruit content and cut down on the nuts a little, mostly because of what I had available in the store cupboard, but also because I wanted to try the recipe with cherries and cranberries. I used only 50g of pistachios and 150g of mixed dried fruit, including cherries, cranberries, chopped apricots and sultanas. There were more cherries by weight than any of the other fruit - a mix of regular and sour - which is why I've called these Cherry Stollen Bars. I used a generous coating of butter - about 25g was enough - and kept adding icing sugar until no more butter soaked through. Hubs thought it would be better with less icing sugar!

Although the result was just as tasty as before (I had been worrried that stronger tasting fruit would overwhelm the pistachio and orange flavour, which didn't happen), and looked really festive, I wasn't as happy with the bake. I'm not sure if the tray of dough was slightly under-baked or if the marzipan  lumps melted round the edge and made the dough too moist. I used marzipan with a slightly lower almond content than my usual brand, so that might have accounted for the difference. Whatever it was, it left the bars  moister in the centre than previously - more cake-like than bread-like - which I didn't like quite as much (although I am being really picky and self-critical here!).

As well as being a good seasonal bake, these Stollen Bars fit into this month's AlphaBakes Challenge. This month the challenge, set by Ros from the More Than Occasional Baker, is to bake something where the name, or principle ingredient, begins with the letter 'S'. I expect, given the time of year, that stollen will feature heavily in the offerings, but that's fine by me, as it's one of my favorite christmas cakes. Ros co-hosts this baking challenge with Caroline, from Caroline Makes - each month a new letter of the alphabet is chosen randomly.

11 comments:

Jean said...

Oooohh how lovely! I adore stollen - always have - just treated myself to a large slice with a coffee whilst out Christmas shopping yesterday.

I have often fancied making it but shied away because of the yeast element to usual recipes, so this looks really appealing.

Katie said...

Wow they look fabulous! I adore marzipan and they look so festive! I've not had Stollen since going gluten free and have been too nervous about trying to make my own. These could well be the solution! Yay! Thanks :)

figjamandlimecordial.com said...

Beautiful Suelle! Love the idea of stollen without yeast! Hope you and your family are all having a lovely festive season. All the best for a happy Christmas and a wonderful 2013! xx

Choclette said...

Stollen is a firm favourite with me, but I've never made my own. I'd already bookmarked this particular recipe as an interesting alternative to the yeast one and know it's had your seal of approval I really, really do want to try and make it this Christmas. The pieces look so pretty with the different coloured fruit and pistachio.

belleau kitchen said...

i've never made my own either but something tells me this is the recipe to have a go at... it looks amazing!

Miss C Flash said...

This looks stunning, a perfect seasonal treat. I've never made my own stollen but feel inspired to now!

Foodycat said...

Delicious! I made stollen once but it wasn't very good. And I have to eat it by myself!

Suelle said...

I'd urge you all to 'have a go'. It's quick and easy, and almost as good as a real stollen. Do buy good quality marzipan though!

Baking Addict said...

A perfect seasonal bake and a great AlphaBakes entry! I'm glad you've managed to improve on the perfect recipe this year :)

Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

Absolutely love stollen! A colleague of mine made some the other day but had the opposite problem - it was too dry. But it still tasted good, you just needed to drink something with it! I quite like the idea of it being more moist.

Caroline said...

Thank you for reminding me of this recipe - I made them as part of my mum's Christmas present (she adores marzipan!) and she was very pleased. Pretty sure I overbaked them though - my marzipan melted and bubbled up through the top! How do you tell when they're done, because mine definitely didn't look done at 30 minutes.