I only discovered stollen a couple of years ago but it was love at first bite and ever since I have made some at Christmas. It certainly helps that there’s a large quantity of marzipan involved but all of the ingredients play a part. The mixed fruit and cherries add a lovely tangy sweetness and the spices bring a warmth and flavour that instantly transport you to Christmas day. I was snacking on the last of a pack the other day and once it was all gone I started wishing that it didn’t take quite so long to make. If only it was as quick as making a batch of cookies. Of course that got me thinking about how delicious a simple chewy cookie would be with the addition of dried fruit, cherries, cinnamon and ground cardamom.
Somewhere along the way my simple chewy cookie evolved into a more time consuming layered and rolled cookie. It’s not complicated, and your food processor does most of the work, but there’s just a few stages and a bit of waiting for the dough to chill. I wanted to include a roll of marzipan in the middle and started searching for recipes for rolled cookie dough. As soon as I found these colourful spiral cookies on Sprinkle Bakes I ended my search. I am a huge fan of Heather’s – she has the most incredible recipes and beautiful photos – but I’ve never tried one of her recipes before. I adapted the recipe to include the stollen flavours and ingredients but I knew that her recipe would work brilliantly as a base. Instead of adding a single log of marzipan in the middle I added it as a third layer in the cookie, so the marzipan goodness would be distributed evenly throughout the whole cookies.
I absolutely love the result. The dough even tastes amazing unbaked and it was hard to resist cutting slices off to eat. I had to put it in the freezer to stop myself. It doesn’t have the texture of stollen but of a chewy, slightly crisp cookie. It makes a really great alternative to stollen and the spirals look really pretty as well.
Makes around 40-50 cookies (depending on thickness)
280g (2 cups) unsifted plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
75g (2/3 cup) unsifted icing sugar
50g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
282.5g (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
75g mixed dried fruit
150g glace cherries
½ teaspoon (or more) red food coloring (paste is better)
4-5 tablespoon unsifted plain flour
75g flaked almonds
Using glace cherries means quite a lot are needed to add enough flavour. If you can get hold of some cherry extract then I’d suggest using this instead and you will probably need a bit less of the extra flour.
1. Place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugars in a food processor and pulse briefly to mix.
2. Add the butter in small pieces. Pulse gently until the mixture has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
3. Add the almond extract and pulse until the mixture just starts to form a ball.
4. Divide the dough in half. Take the first half and gently mix in the dried fruit, trying to work the dough as little as possible. Wrap in cling film and chill for half an hour.
5. Add the glace cherries to the food processor and process until they form a paste. Add the other half of the dough and the red food colouring. Pulse until combined. The cherries make the dough very sticky so add enough of the extra plain flour to achieve a similar consistency as the other half of the dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for half an hour.
6. Take the dough with the dried fruit in out and place between two pieces of baking paper. Roll it out in a rectangle about 28cm by 22cm. You can use an A4 piece of card as a rough guide. It will be about 3mm thick. Sprinkle the ground cinnamon and cardamom over. Chill for at least 2 hours.
7. Take the cherry dough out and roll out between baking paper to the same size. Chill for at least 2 hours.
8. When the doughs have been chilled for long enough roll the marzipan between baking paper to the same size as well. Now you are ready to assemble. Remove the top sheets of baking paper.
9. Brush the dried fruit dough very lightly with water and then place marzipan on top. Then brush water on the marzipan and place the cherry dough layer on top of it. You may need to trim the combined layers to tidy it up.
10. If the dough is very soft by the time you’ve finished this then return it to the fridge for a few minutes. You want the dough to be just pliable but still cold.
11. When the dough is ready start to roll. I found the beginning part the most difficult as it is the tightest roll. Aim to roll it so there is no gap in the middle. I used the baking paper underneath to pull the edge of the dough up and minimise handling it. The dried fruit dough layer is likely to tear in a few places but it can be repaired easily by gently easing the dough back over the gaps again.
12. Once you have finished rolling brush the outside lightly with water and roll in the flamed almonds. Wrap the whole thing in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour. The more chilled your dough is the less your cookies will spread when baked. The log can also be frozen and when you want a few cookies just defrost slightly, slice a few cookies off and return the rest to the freezer.
13. Heat the oven to 175°C. Slice the log with cookies about 5mm thick. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook for around 10 minutes. The edges of the cookies should be just turning golden brown.