A marzipan stollen recipe adapted from a century old recipe, with a Canadian twist. Featuring almond paste, dried cranberries, and a sweet bread base, this is a Christmas staple.
We wanted to share a really traditional stollen recipe, and since Alex’s family is German, she asked her oma for a family recipe. There wasn’t one – but her oma asked her best friend, and so now we have omi’s BFF’s great-grandmother’s marzipan stollen!
Of course some changes need to be made to a century-plus old recipe. The original calls for as much flour to be added as needed, and to be baked until it’s done (in a ‘moderate oven’). If you’re familiar with these old-style recipes, you know they were written for people who already knew their way around the kitchen.
We made a few flavour changes but kept the base recipe essentially the same, apart from adding concrete amounts and times. Instead of two types of raisins, we went for dried cranberries – a Canadian holiday must-have, especially with the festive jewel tones – and added candied peel, which isn’t usually present in traditional stollen. Small pieces of marzipan remain and are scattered throughout the loaf.
Stollen is a bit hit-or-miss depending on the German you’re talking to, and for most the trick is finding the proper balance for the bread to fruit ratio. It’s not fruit cake!
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the printable recipe card with full ingredient measurements and complete instructions.
Gently heat the milk and butter on the stove-top, until the butter is just melted. Pour this into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the sugar.
Check the temperature of the liquid with a fingertip. It should be just warm to the touch. If it feels hot, let it sit for a few minutes to cool. (If the mixture is too hot, it’ll kill your yeast.) Whisk the yeast into the mixture and set it aside to rest for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, the yeast mixture should be slightly foamy. If you don’t see any change at all, your yeast may no longer be active (it’s a good idea to test in warm water beforehand if you’re not sure). Whisk in the egg yolks. Waiting until now to add the eggs ensures they won’t scramble when added.
Add a cup of flour along with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
Stir in the remaining flour, mixing by hand in the bowl until it becomes too difficult to stir.
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for about 15 minutes, or until a soft, smooth dough forms. You can do the windowpane test at this point to be sure. Place the kneaded dough back into the large bowl, cover, and set in a warm place to rise for about two hours (not a typo – see below for more on this). It should double in size.
Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down and add the cranberries, marzipan, and candied peel. Knead the additions into the dough to incorporate throughout.
Shape the dough into a tight log, tucking the ends underneath for a uniform shape. Try to cover any cranberries with dough, or press them into the dough to ensure they’re not sticking out above the bread.
Cover the loaf with a tea towel and set aside to rise again for about an hour (45 minutes in a warmer spot). It won’t double in size but will rise visibly.
Bake the stollen for 40-45 minutes, or until deeply golden in colour and the crust feels fairly firm when touched. Brush the loaf with more butter and cool fully before serving.
Optionally, for a more beautiful loaf and one that lasts longer, coat the outside in a generous layer of powdered sugar before storing. This can be done twice – once immediately after buttering the baked loaf, and again once it cools completely. Avoid adding the sugar if you prefer something less sweet.
Tips and Notes
Make sure you really try to tuck any dried fruit under the dough when you’re shaping the loaf. Any cranberries (or raisins) that are exposed during baking will burn. Another way to manage this is to remove any that are sticking out past the dough after the second proof.
Stollen is meant to be a bit on the dense side, with a scone-like crumb. It has a very high amount of added fat, with an almost 1:2 butter to flour ratio, plus egg yolks, whole milk, and sugar – all of this results in a tighter, almost short crumb. It’s one of the defining aspects of the bread and not an error!
The dough will seem a bit wet and sticky when you first start kneading, but it’ll come together into a nice smooth dough with a bit of work. Don’t be tempted to add too much flour during kneading. As with any sweet dough, it should feel soft when you’re working with it.
The long proving time is due to the high amount of fat and sugar present in the dough. With a greatly enriched dough like this, the rising time is lengthened significantly (much like a brioche). Be sure to plan ahead.
If your butter is unsalted, add a half teaspoon of sea salt when you add the spices.
The shapes of stollen are varied, depending on the region and type. You may be most familiar with Dresdner Stollen, with its ubiquitous rolled top appearance. This is what’s typically seen in North America.
Since it is relatively difficult to achieve this shape at home without significant separation of the bread, we’re sharing a simpler form instead. If you’re very experienced then go for the double roll shape – we want to ensure that the bread works for every baker, and why we went this route.
Don’t love candied peel? The homemade kind is pretty far off from the the little cubes that you get at this time of year, but you can just omit it if you prefer. We’ve kept the amount used pretty small so it doesn’t overpower the bread.
Try subbing dried currants or raisins for all or part of the cranberries. The old recipe calls for raisins and Korinthen, meaning corinthian raisins, or black raisins. We’ve replaced this partly with the candied peel and dried cranberries.
To make this dairy-free, simply use vegan butter and milk. You can likely manage without the egg yolks to make it fully vegan, but you’ll lose the dense, biscuit-y nature of a stollen.
Change up the spices as you prefer. If you like more cinnamon, add more to the dough, or go for cloves, star anise, whatever you fancy.
More Christmas Baking
If you make this recipe, let us know by tagging @baked_theblog + #bakedtheblog on Instagram! We love to feel like we’re in the kitchen with you.
Cranberry Marzipan Stollen
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- pastry brush
- Small saucepan
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Parchment paper
- baking sheet
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for brushing
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast*
- 2 egg yolks from large eggs
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ tablespoon nutmeg
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup candied peel, chopped
- ¼ cup marzipan, cut into small pieces
- Powdered sugar for coating, optional
- Gently heat the milk and butter on the stove-top over low-medium heat, until the butter is just melted.
- Once the butter has melted, pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar.
- Check the temperature of the butter mixture with the tip of your finger. It should be just warm to the touch or skin temperature but not feel hot. If it’s the correct temperature, whisk in the yeast.
- Set the bowl aside for about 10 minutes. After this time, the yeast should be active and foaming slightly. Whisk in the egg yolks.
- Add 1 cup (150 grams) of flour, the cinnamon, and nutmeg to the bowl. Stir to combine. Add 2 more cups (300 grams) of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough becomes too difficult to mix.
- Lightly flour a clean surface and tip the dough out onto it. Knead, adding the remaining ½ cup (75 grams) of flour as needed, for about 15 minutes, or until a soft, smooth dough forms.
- Place the kneaded dough back into the mixing bowl and cover. Set in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours**, or until doubled in size. If your home is cold, it will take longer.
- Once the dough has risen, add the cranberries, candied peel, and marzipan. Knead again to incorporate the additions evenly throughout.
- Shape the dough into a tight log, sealing the joining point by pinching carefully. Make sure to cover any cranberries with dough.
- Place the shaped dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover and set aside to rise again for about an hour, or until increased in size by about half.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Once the oven is hot, bake the bread for 40-45 minutes, or until a deep golden colour. Take the bread out of the oven and brush the crust with more butter.
- Optionally, sprinkle the bread with a generous amount of powdered sugar after buttering. Cool fully and cover again with powdered sugar (this keeps the loaf fresh longer, but does add significant sweetness).
- Cool the stollen fully before slicing and serving. It will keep, in an airtight container in a cool place, for 4-5 days. The loaf freezes well, wrapped carefully, for up to a month.