2 Great Traditional Christmas Treats to Try Out This Holiday Season!

Christmas is one of those holidays that a lot of people either love, hate, or ignore – but one thing is certain across the board: Christmas is an awesome time for food! It’s also a time for presents, which I love to receive, but also to give. In the spirit of the season, I’d like to share a couple of the traditional Christmas treats that I grew up enjoying, and which not many people I’ve met in the Bay Area know how to make from scratch.1207kuntitled

I grew up in the South Bay, and every Christmas we would drive up to Tiburon, in the San Francisco Bay Area, to visit my Grandma Sandy. Her house was built in the early 1900’s, and was right on the waterfront – reminding me of a hidden, fairytale gnome house complete with it’s own miniature beach. She would prepare a wonderful feast for the family and any nearby friends: pancakes, eggs, bacon, hashbrowns and fresh orange juice to begin. When this was finished, the table would be filled to overflowing with an array of Gingerbread Men, Peppermint Bark, Fruitcake, Pfefferneuse, Stollen and Lebkuchen, just to name a few.

Years later, grandma Sandy is long passed, the house is sold, and I’ve got my own kids to make Christmas memories for – and I also have her original recipes! Heck yeah! (Thanks Aunt Donna!) So, here’s my gift to you for being patient enough to read this: 2 old-school German Christmas delights that will not disappoint. Pfefferneuse and Stollen were always my favorites, and if you make them I’m sure you’ll understand why! Enjoy!

Pfefferneuse1207guntitled

¾ cup margarine
1 ½ cup honey
½ cup strong cold coffee
6 cups of flour
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp allspice
1 ½ tsp pepper
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbs crushed anise
1 tbs cinnamon
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
4 drops maple extract
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar together – add in all the other ingredients, mix well. Chill dough several hours or overnight. Roll into small balls, bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool slightly and roll in powdered sugar. Store in a cookie tin for several months (make these in September). Add cut apple to the tin in November to soften. Roll in powdered sugar again before boxing or serving.

Stollen1207huntitled

¾ cup milk
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 packages of yeast (4 ½ teaspoons)
½ cup warm water
1 cup flour
2 eggs
¾ cup very soft butter
5 cups flour
½ tsp nutmeg
4 cups candied fruit
½ cup chopped almonds
1 to 1 ½ cups currants

Scald milk, add sugar and salt – let cool. Dissolve yeast in warm water, add 1 cup flour and allow to proof (form a sponge). Beat two eggs and add to yeast mixture. Add all additional ingredients and knead for ten minutes, adding currants in the last two minutes.

Let rise until double. Divide into 2 or 3 pieces. Pat into oval shaped ½ inch thick loaves. Spread with butter and fold over and press down. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. Brush hot Stollen with ample melted butter. Dust with powdered sugar, wrap in saran wrap and foil, store until Christmas. Just before giving, redust with sugar. Enclose a card for heating that reads “Wrap in foil and warm in 350-degree oven for 20 minutes before serving – makes great toast!”1207funtitled

Everyone has their own memories about the Holidays, and I guarantee that no matter how your family celebrated, food was a big part of it. I know it was for my family, and as I’m raising my two boys I’m trying to keep the tradition alive with these great family recipes! Do you have any treats you always look forward to during the holiday season? Do you think that a slice of Stollen will fit into your snacking plans? Let us know in the comments below!

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