Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Stollen

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My granny Lisa was loved and adored for many of her baked goods. She truly mastered the German Sunday coffee table, filling the house with the sweetest smell of butter, sugar, and eggs every weekend. To please her six children’s cravings, and later a growing pack of grandchildren, she sometimes baked seven different cakes in one day. Sponge and fruit cakes, cream tarts and crumbles were often lined up on her kitchen counter and doubtlessly influenced my own baking habits. Her Donauwelle – a marbled cake with cherries and buttercream – will always be my favourite. It’s the taste of my childhood – and the beginning of my ever hungry sweet tooth.

Six to eight weeks before Christmas, Lisa used to take orders from friends and family for another one of her celebrated classics: stollen. It’s a German staple that you can find at every bakery, in every household as soon as the Christmas lights leave the boxes to twinkle behind wintery windows. The original stollen is quite a dense treat, it’s a heavy yeast dough, the texture is crumbly like a fruit bread, but it has richness and depth. Raisins, candied orange and lemon peel infuse the cake for weeks while it sits wrapped in parchment paper in the darkness of the pantry. The top brushed with warm fat and then generously dusted with icing sugar, preventing it from drying out and giving it its snowy white Christmas look.

You can find various interpretations of the basic formula and fill the cake with marzipan, hazelnut or poppy seed paste to add taste and moistness. Yet, when the European dairy co-operative Arla asked me if I’d like to come up with a new recipe using their Kærgården, I immediately knew which direction I would take. This is the first stollen recipe I ever created and I wanted it to be an aromatic firework of flavours without distracting from the classic’s qualities. I went for bittersweet chocolate chunks, candied orange peel, and a touch of christmassy cardamom and aniseed. I’m more impatient than my granny, so we ate the stollen immediately. There’s only one treat that I manage to wait for and that’s English Christmas pudding. My impatient nature was also quite pleased by the fact that Kærgården can be stirred immediately into the stollen’s puffy yeast dough, it’s soft, even when it comes straight out of the fridge. I never use margarine in my kitchen, just butter, but the Scandinavian product is butter with a splash of rapeseed oil, which makes it wonderfully spreadably and kneadable when it comes to baking Christmas stollen.

Thanks to Kærgården for sponsoring this post, thanks for reminding me of my granny’s kitchen and inspiring me to create my first stollen recipe!

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For the German recipe, scroll down.

Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Stollen

plain flour 450g / 3 1/2 cups (divided)
granulated sugar 70g / 1/3 cup
ground cardamom 5 teaspoons
aniseed, finely ground in a mortar, 1/4 teaspoon
zest of 1 large orange
fast-acting yeast 2 sachets (7g / 1/4 ounce each)
water, lukewarm, 150ml / 2/3 cup
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
Kærgården unsalted 250g / 9 ounces
candied orange peel (preferably organic) 100g / 4 ounces
almonds, roughly chopped, 150g / 5 ounces
bittersweet chocolate (50%), roughly chopped, 170g / 6 ounces

For the topping

Kærgården unsalted 50g / 2 ounces
icing sugar, sifted, about 4-6 tablespons (to taste)
ground cardamom (optional, to taste)

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine 260g /2 cups of the flour, the sugar, cardamom, aniseed, orange zest, and yeast. Add the water and, using the hooks, mix for about 2-3 minutes or until well combined. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place, or preferably in a 35°C (100°F) warm oven, for 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

If the dough has almost doubled in size, add the remaining 190g / 1 1/2 cups of flour, the salt, Kærgården, and orange peel and, using the hooks of the stand mixer, mix for about 3 minutes until smooth. Add the almonds and chocolate and continue mixing until well combined. The dough should be soft and shiny, but not sticky. Take the dough out of the bowl and, using your hands, knead for about 1 minute.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet and form a short-ish loaf-shape. Flatten the dough a little, flip one long side over until it reaches the middle, then flip over the other long side (see 6th picture), pushing the layers softly together, but don’t flatten the loaf, it will expand when it’s in the oven! Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F.

Bake the stollen for about 45-50 minutes or until the loaf is just baked through.

For the topping, rub the top of the warm stollen with the 50g / 2 ounces of Kærgården and dust immediately with icing sugar. If you’d prefer the cardamom to be more present (I recommend to try the stollen first), combine some icing sugar with additional cardamom (to taste) and dust the top of the stollen.

You can serve the stollen immediately, yet I prefer to eat it when it’s cool and the chocolate isn’t soft anymore. Keep it wrapped in parchment paper and aluminium foil.

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Schokoladen Orange Kardamom Stollen

Mehl 450g (aufgeteilt)
Zucker 70g
gemahlener Kardamom 5 TL
Anissamen, im Mörser fein zermahlen, 1/4 TL
Abrieb von 1 großen Orange
2 Päckchen Trockenhefe (à 7g)
lauwarmes Wasser 150ml
Salz 1 Prise
Kærgården ungesalzen 250g
Orangeat (bevorzugt Bio Qualität) 100g
Mandeln, grob gehackt, 150g
Halbbitter Schokolade (50%), grob gehackt, 170g

Für das Topping

Kærgården ungesalzen 50g
Puderzucker, gesiebt, 4-6 EL
gemahlener Kardamom (optional)

In der großen Schüssel einer Küchenmaschine 260g des Mehls, den Zucker, Kardamom, Anis, Orangenabrieb und Hefe vermischen. Wasser dazu geben und mit den Knethaken etwa 2-3 Minuten kneten, bis der Teig glatt ist. Wenn der Teig zu klebrig ist, etwas mehr Mehl dazugeben. Mit einem Küchentuch bedecken und an einem warmen Ort – oder bevorzugt im 35°C warmen Ofen (Ober-/Unterhitze) – etwa 45 Minuten gehen lassen bis sich das Volumen fast verdoppelt hat.

Die übrigen 190g Mehl, das Salz, Kærgården und Orangeat zum Teig geben und mit den Knethaken etwa 3 Minuten glatt rühren. Mandeln und Schokolade dazugeben und weiter rühren bis alles gut vermengt ist. Der Teig sollte weich und glänzend, aber nicht klebrig sein. Aus der Schüssel nehmen und mit den Händen etwa 1 Minute weiter kneten.

Ein Backblech mit Backpapier auslegen.

Den Teig auf das vorbereitete Backblech geben und einen kurzen Laib formen. Leicht flach drücken und eine Längsseite bis gerade über die Mitte umschlagen, die 2. Längsseite darüber umschlagen (siehe 6. Bild) und vorsichtig andrücken. Den Laib aber nicht flach drücken, er wird sich beim Backen ausdehnen! Den Laib mit einem Küchentuch bedecken und etwa 20 Minuten gehen lassen.

Ofen auf 175° Grad (Ober- und Unterhitze) vorheizen.

Den Stollen etwa 45-50 Minuten backen bis er gerade durch gebacken ist.

Für das Topping die Oberfläche des warmen Stollen mit 50g Kærgården einreiben und sofort mit dem Puderzucker bestreuen. Falls der Kardamom Geschmack etwas präsenter sein soll (ich empfehle den Stollen erst zu probieren), etwas Puderzucker mit Kardamom (nach Geschmack) vermengen und den Stollen damit bestreuen.

Der Stollen kann sofort serviert werden, ich bevorzuge ihn aber, wenn er abgekühlt und die Schokolade nicht mehr flüssig ist. In Pergamentpapier und Alufolie verpackt aufbewahren.

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