Dear Reader, One of the things I love about Christmas is that it's the time of year our modern society looks back to treasured traditions of the past. To celebrate this joyous season, I've created this page to share with you some
of my Christmas favorites.
I know from experience that women tend to create the holiday experience for our families.
Often that takes so much time and energy, we aren't always able to savor the pleasures of the season. I hope you'll take a little time for yourself. Put on your favorite Christmas music, make a cup of hot chocolate, maybe light a
candle with a festive scent and curl up with a Christmas story.
Wishing you all the joy and wonder of the season!
The theme of the bracelet for my December giveaway is joy! The winner will also receive a copy of my digital Christmas anthology A Regency Christmas Treasury. All current subscribers to my newsletter will be automatically entered.
This year, I would like to share with you one of my favorite holiday recipes. Stollen is a sweet German bread filled with spices, fruit and nuts and I have been baking it during the holidays for many years. It requires some time and effort, but when I bite into a thick slice it just tastes like Christmas!
Makes 2 good sized stolen or 1 very big one
2/3 cup milk, scalded
2/3 cup white sugar
¾ tsp salt
½ cup butter
2 Tbsp shortening
Pour scalded milk into large bowl. Add sugar, salt, butter and shortening. Stir until butter and shortening melt and sugar is dissolved. Cool to lukewarm.
2 pck active dry yeast*
¼ cup warm water
Soften yeast in warm water. Add to milk mixture.
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground mace
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
3 ½ cups (approximately) all-purpose flour
Beat eggs into milk mixture. Add spices and enough flour to make a soft dough that can be kneaded. Turn onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth.
1 cup diced mixed candied fruit
¼ cup raisins
½ cup pecans
Toss fruit in a little flour to prevent sticking. Knead fruit, raisins and nuts into dough until evenly distributed. Place dough in greased bowl. Cover with damp tea-towel and let rise in a warm place until roughly doubled in bulk.
Punch down and roll into one or two ovals about 1 inch thick. Fold over lengthwise so that the two edges do not quite meet. Place on greased baking sheet(s), covered with damp tea-towel until roughly doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake stolen for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and bake 25 minutes longer or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Watch near the end that the stolen doesn’t burn on the bottom. Brush with butter and allow to cool. Top with white icing if desired.
* - make sure the yeast is very fresh. Because this dough is so dense and has all the fruit and nuts, it can take awhile to rise.
I love so many different musical genres, and I especially love Christmas music of all genres. Here are three of my favorites...