Review – {Stollen}

The beginning of this year was rough for me; passing with a flood of tears and confusion. After a breakup in February, Mom picked me up from my apartment with chocolates and tissues waiting for me on the passenger seat of her silver SUV. The next day, Dad listened to me cry over breakfast at Shirley’s. Every moment preceding, inbetween and following was filled with help from S, R, H and others; all helping bring out the emotions that would force me overcome my blindness and get through it all.

I thought, at that point, that this would be the worst year of my life, but I was wrong. It’s been a year of growing confidence and shedding fears. Taking chances and trusting my gut. I didn’t know it until I sat down to write this post, but this has really been a very memorable year for me. Sure, it had it’s rough moments, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

My old roommate, S, and I packed up our cozy apartment in May and went our separate ways. She was headed for law school in DC, and I was headed for Sandusky, Ohio.

I spent the summer on “The Fun Coast” living with 5 strangers-turned-crazy-roommates and chasing wayward Go-Karts around the track in Challenge Park for minimum wage and no respect. I went out dancing with friends and went on a few dates with a cutie from Columbia who spoke English about as well as I speak Spanish (which is not so good ;P). I tried to shed my intense fear of looking like an idiot in front of people I do and do not know, which made dancing fun and dating less scary.

In those months I met and befriended people from all over the world, picked strawberries, hung out at the beach, spent hours in coffee shops and went to bonfires at 2 in the morning.

I got flipped in a canoe with one of my best friends, by one of my best friends.

I had an appearance on the news.

I went camping with R, H and their puppy Kona.

When school started again, I got to leave CP housing for my new apartment in East Lansing. I spent all my free time with S and H; partaking in some combination of cooking, watching movies and shopping every single night and weekend.

Profs increased homework and reading requirements to a whole new level of annoying, meaning I spent more and more time on a couch with piles of textbooks as the semester went on.

In early September, H helped me find a dress to wear to a career fair and gave me enough courage to combat my awkwardness and insecurity to actually make me go. The event was a little scary and I wasn’t quite sure what to do, but, in the end, I got the internship I wanted. Huzzah!

Just as winter began to show itself, R and H moved to begin their post-college life on sandy beaches in Florida, leaving S (for now!) and I to freeze our butts on in Michigan.

And now, I’m on break; enjoying a little R & R before I get back to school and catching up on all the things that have gotten away from me over the course of the year. I promise I’m done reminiscing. I dunno if these are highlights or just a little look back, but, either way you spin it… This has been a good year.

Thanks a ton for sticking through it with me. You guys are the best!


Stollen adapted from Poires au Chocolat
Printable Recipe

1/8 c (30 ml) lukewarm water
1 tsp honey
About 4 tsp (13 g) active dry yeast
1/2 c (120 ml) milk, room temp
70 g unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 c (355 g) flour, plus extra for rolling
3/8 c (57 g) brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 egg, room temp
1 vanilla bean, seeds only – pod reserved for another use (such as brewing with your coffee)
2 handfuls (57 g) candied orange peel, to taste (I ended up making my own following the recipe here for candied lemon peel, substituting orange peel and halving it)
2 handfuls (57 g) glace cherries, quartered and to taste
2/3 c (80 g) whole almonds, sliced and to taste
1 egg yolk or a few Tbsp of cream

Combine the lukewarm water and honey in a bowl, then sprinkle over the yeast. Let set five minutes, then stir to dissolve. If the yeast is not foamy, start over and try again.

Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until the butter has melted. Remove from the burner and allow to cool briefly.

In the meantime, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a the bowl of your mixer. Set aside.

In another small bowl, beat together the eggs and vanilla seeds to combine.

Add the egg mixture, the milk mixture and the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with the paddle attachment to combine, about two minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest 10 minutes.

Switch the paddle attachment to the dough hook (or put the dough on a floured surface) and knead for six minutes (8 by hand). The dough should be soft, smooth and not terribly sticky. Add the orange peel, cherries and almonds and knead briefly to combine. Transfer dough to a very big oiled bowl, cover well with plastic wrap and move to the fridge. Let rise overnight.

When you are ready to bake, oil a 9″ cake pan or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Remove the dough from the fridge and let warm for about two hours before shaping.

Punch down the dough into one 28″ish by 9″ish rectangle or divide in half and form into two separate 14″ish by 5″ish rectangles. Roll the rectangle(s) tightly to form a snake. Join the ends together as best as you can, pinching to seal. Place the roll into the oiled pan or place both smaller rolls onto the lined sheet. Use scissors to cut incisions around the edge of the wreath. Cover tightly with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours or until they have nearly doubled in size (I often place the dough in the oven with the heat off and put in a pan of boiling water to speed the process). When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and brush all over with the yolk or cream. If baking one large loaf, bake for 40-45 minutes. Bake the smaller loaves for 30-35 minutes. Either way, rotate the loaves halfway through. They should be a deep brown and sound fairly hollow when knocked on the bottom.

Remove from the rack and let cool.

Quick Glaze

Splash of milk
Powdered sugar
Almond extract
Vanilla extract

Pour the milk into a bowl and add a little powdered sugar at a time, whisking to combine. Add powdered sugar until the glaze is desired thickness, then whisk in extracts.

If you like the glaze thick, pour it on loaves that are completely cooled. For a thinner glaze, pour it on warm loaves.


  1. says

    Happy New Year to you, too, Kaitlin! I am so happy to have found you and your blog in 2011 and have enjoyed each and every recipe as well as your sparkling personality. As I read your account of this past year I would say that you have grown and matured and, like a fine wine, have aged beautifully! I wish you all the best in 2012 and thank you for all your hard work and effort to make this such a

  2. Tesei says

    Stollen is absolutely delicious but I'm a hassle to make, will try it myself once no doubt, thank's for bringing it up! And thanks fir another year of blogging and sharing your time with us!! All the best for you and your loved ones on this new year!!!

  3. Anonymous says

    To each of us…a toast to New Beginnings! For you and an exciting future of new possibilities and for me, being a widow of one year, for healing and being able to see a future with out the love of my life.

  4. says

    Sounds like you're ready for a new and better year, and if you ever plan to spend any time on a sandy beach in Florida, look me up. Meanwhile, I need your advice. I made a stollen (not the recipe above, but from FoodTv) and my yeast quit on my. The sponge rose magnificently, but that was pretty much the last time the yeast was heard from. No rising in the dish, and almost none in the oven.

  5. says

    Happy New Year! It sounds like you've been through a lot. Your blog is a constant source of inspiration and I can't wait to see what you come up with in 2012. Love your take on stollen here – Christmas may be over now but I still want to give it a try!

  6. says

    Thanks for all of your lovely comments! You guys are unbelievably sweet!<br /><br />Marc, I hate to say it, but I&#39;m not really sure! That&#39;s happened to me before, too. It sucks because you know the yeast is active and still… It quits on you. Perhaps the recipe did not call for enough yeast? Or maybe the yeast was just not so good? I wish I had soem advice to offer… It&#39;s

  7. says

    Happy New year ! Or &quot;Bonne année&quot; ! I wish you a sweet and happy and lovely new year ! <br /><br />I love marzipan stollen but your stollen is just &quot;miam&quot; or hmmmmmmmm !!! <br /><br />Bises ! XOXOXO

  8. says

    Enjoyed the highlights of your past year! Happy New Year to you and congratulations for being able to see the bright side of change. Over the years I have found that the things I thought would break me, actually made me stronger than I thought I could ever be and always, ALWAYS happened for a reason so I could move on to something even better than what I thought I had. Cheers to you. :)

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