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Traditional Treats for Christmas Day

By Jane Butel  December 21, 2021

I have always loved tradition and I think Christmas Day is all about celebrating and sharing.  For Christmas breakfast, for many years I have loved serving warm Stollen oozing with lots of goodies...candied cherries, pineapple, citron and slivered almonds plus lots of butter.  My favorite recipe makes two loaves, so I freeze one for the next year and serve one.  To create this specialty from Dresden , Germany, I tested many, many recipes and came up with the one I have used oh so many years and am sharing it with you.  It is a rich bread dough that is just enough dough to encase all the goodies  So many recipes are mostly dough and very little candied fruit .

The other recipe is one from my Father's Mother who was from Welsh and German background.  This Date Pudding is actually a national dish in Australia and there are many competitions to determine the best one.  This recipe is easy to make and stays moist for a very long time.  I like to serve it with freshly made whipped cream that I make with Lavender Sugar.  Actually once you make whipped cream, you can keep it for several days in the refrigerator, covered.  

Another special  traditional candy is my favorite Peanut Brittle recipe that can be made traditionally or spiced with red or green chile powder.,..Pecos Valley Spice Company's of course.  You must use salted, roasted Spanish peanuts, which are best made by you.  To do this,  just place a single layer of raw, Spanish Peanuts in a baking  sheet with a ridged edge.  Very sparingly, sprinkle on a very little vegetable oil, any kind and then rather generously sprinkle with salt and place in a 250F oven for  one hour, stirring to mix every 15 minutes.

If you still need a gift that just keeps giving and creates lots of happy memories--call us at 505-243-2622 for a gift certificate.  All cooking classes are on a 10% off holiday special until December 24, midnight.  We have day classes, weekend and weeklong, plus private classes and our ever popular Oaxaca Culinary tour.  Also, gift certificates are available for assortments of our Pecs Valley Spice Company products and Jane Butel authored cookbooks in gift boxes or  any  price point above $25.00.  You can check out all these options on my website at www.janebutelcooking.com.

Here's my favorite traditional recipes--

STOLLEN

The best of all stollens—I worked on this recipe for years and feel it is well worth the extra effort. For years I’ve been making a recipe every other year for serving on Christmas morning with champagne. 

Temperature: 325 F

Baking time: 1 hour

Yield: 2 large loaves

Stollen¾ cup unsalted butter

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon mace (if you do not have mace, substitute more nutmeg)

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Grated rind of ½ orange

2 eggs

¼ cup dark rum, brandy or sherry

1 cup milk

1 package active dry yeast

¼ cup warm water

6 cups all-purpose flour, approximately

1 cup raisins

1 cup currants (if unavailable, substitute more raisins)

¼ pound each candied orange peel, lemon peel, and citron

1 slice candied pineapple

1 cup toasted almonds1 ½ pound candied whole red and green cherries

¼ cup melted butter

Powdered sugar

  1. Cream butter, add sugar gradually and cream until fluffy. Blend in salt, nutmeg, mace, lemon and orange rind.
  2. Add eggs. One at a time, beating well after each addition. Add liquor and milk. Soften yeast in water and stir into mixture. Add flour until dough is easy to handle. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead until the dough is satin smooth and the gluten is well developed.
  3. Do not add more than ½ cup flour into the dough while kneading as too much flour will make the bread dry and coarse.
  4. Mix together all fruit except cherries, then dredge with ¼ cup flour, making sure each piece is covered.When the dough is smooth, add the fruit and almonds, a small amount at a time, until the fruit is spread throughout the dough and all is used.
  5. Poke holes in the dough with your forefinger and place a cherry in each hole. This prevents mashing the cherries.
  6. Divide the dough in half and place in large well-greased bowls; brush generously with melted butter and set a warm place to rise. Since the dough is heavy with fruit, it will require about 8 hours to rise.
  7. To form, turn out on a lightly floured board, punch down and divide in half. To make typical stollen or crescent shaped loaves, first pat the dough into an oblong shape, then fold in half lengthwise.

        8.   Place loaves on a greased baking sheet; brush with butter and let rise until                       doubled.

          9. Preheat oven to 325F during last 10 minutes of rising. Bake for 1 hour, brush                    several times with melted butter as the loaves are baking. When baked, dust                      generously with powdered sugar just before serving. Serve warm.

Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s Freezer Cookbook

GRANDMA FRANZ'S DATE PUDDING

While growing up, every Christmas at Grandma’s, we had this pudding for Christmas dinner dessert. It is an English tradition and supposedly almost a national dish in Australia, where it is usually served with a sauce of some sort. I prefer whipped cream.

Yield: 6 to 8 generous servings

Temperature: 350 F

Baking time: 35 to 40 minutes

2 cups chopped dates

¼ cup sweet cream unsalted butter, divided

¾ cup water

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup coarsely chopped English walnuts

Whipped Cream Topping:

1 cup whipping cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously butter an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. Bring the water to a boil and stir in the dates, then add the baking soda. Stirring by hand, add the sugar, then the egg, flour and nuts. Mix only until well mixed

2. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until done. (An inserted toothpick will come out clean.)

3. Cut in squares and serve warm with the whipped cream.

4. To serve, whip the cream with an electric mixer, using highest speed. When the cream is frothy, slowly add the sugar, then vanilla and whip until firm.

GREEN AND RED CHILE HOT PEANUT BRITTLE

This is the real old-fashioned peanut brittle, that used to be sold in bulk at the country general store. The chile really peps up the brittle and is delightful. Without the chile, it used to be called shoe box peanut brittle, because the recipe just about filled a small-size shoe box for mailing.

Yield: Approximately 1 ½ pounds

2 cups salted Spanish peanuts
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups light corn syrup
¼ cup butter

Combine the following:

1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cold water
2 Tablespoons ground red or green pure chile powder

1. Place peanuts in shallow pan. Bake at 275F until heated through. Do not roast.

2. Lightly grease sides of saucepan.

3. Add sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water. Cook over low-heat, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. You should not be able to feel sugar grains when you rub the spoon against the sides of the pan

4. Remove from heat and, with a damp towel, wipe any grains from the sides of the pan above the liquid level.

5. Start the syrup boiling and clip the thermometer onto the side of the pan.

6. Cook over low heat, without stirring, until thermometer registers 275 F (syrup forms a soft crack in cold water.)

7. Remove thermometer; lower heat.

8. Add butter and peanuts; cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.

9. Clip candy thermometer back on the side of the pan; cook, stirring constantly to 300 F or (syrup forms hard crack in cold water)

10. Remove from heat; stir in the soda, vanilla, and cold water-chile mixture and continue to stir for 30 seconds. Candy will foam.

11. Pour onto well-oiled baking sheet. Cool until surface is barely warm to the fingers. Then with a spatula turn the mass over and with your hands pull and stretch as thin as possible.

12. Break into irregular eating size pieces and cool. Store in airtight container in layers separated by sheets of waxed paper.

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