Hi, Winter!

Thanks, for showing up so abruptly!  I am so grateful that you decided to make an appearance on my day off since I can enjoy you from the comfort of my home!

Thanks for being so beautiful upon your arrival and for forcing me to refocus on the magic of the holidays!  Thanks for making me forget about the endless to-do list.  Finally, thanks for adding even more enjoyment to today’s baking venture.  It’s almost as if my Papa, Nana and Aunt Angie were letting me know that they were proud of how I was putting their memory back into the holiday.

German Stollen

(adapted from King Arthur Flour)
2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C very cold butter, cut into chunks
1 C part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp orange extract
1 C dried fruit, diced
1/3 C sliced almonds, toasted
1 egg white
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles uneven crumbs.
Stir in almonds and dried fruit
In a separate bowl, mix together ricotta, egg, vanilla and orange extracts. 
Fold into dry ingredients and stir until moistened.  Move mixture to a floured surface (or silpat) and knead about 1 minute until dough holds together. 
Divide dough into 2 loaves (each about 1 lb.). Roll each half into an oval, about 1/2″ thick.
Fold each oval in half and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. 
Bake at 325 degrees about 40 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. 
Brush each loaf with egg white and dust heavily with powdered sugar.  Allow to cool completely on rack.
Cut each loaf into 1/2″ slices and serve.  Each loaf makes about 12 slices and will keep in plastic wrap at room temperature for about 2 weeks. 

I couldn’t believe how moist this bread was – I think we can attribute that to the ricotta.  It was perfectly sweet, too – not over the top.  I think Nana would most certainly be proud!  Steve sure was – especially with the mountain of powdered sugar on top!

The stollen was a great addition to the other fun I have had this week.  For our work Christmas shindig, our bosses treated the girls to pedicures and champagne – a gift that I am happy to partake of anytime.  Especially since I haven’t had either since my best friend got married last November.. as in over a year ago!

We did our pedicures “Secret-Santa style” and each chose another girl’s polish color.  My chosen color was bright, festive red with some candy cane stripes thrown in for added celebration.  I wish the temperatures allowed me to show my tootsies off, but as you saw from the first photo, it’s a bit too chilly.  

I chose that Shrek-like green color with the poinsettia on the left.  She was definitely not digging the green until the flower was painted on, but I LOVE it!   We all had a great time, lots of laughs and a few bottles of bubbly!

Many cheers to these two people who made it a fabulous Christmas celebration!

Do you have unusual Christmas get-togethers (something other than the cocktail/dinner parties)?


2 Responses to “Hi, Winter!”

  1. 1 Tes
    12/17/2010 at 5:40 AM

    Wow this sounds like a easy and fun recipe. It sounds simple and delicious. Cute toe nails painting 🙂

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Hi Ya’ll!

Hiya! I'm Heidi, a 28-year-old "retired" student living in Virginia. I am a newlywed and currently on the hunt for a full-time job that will use either my Biology or Secondary Education degree. In the meantime, I work in retail and at an event venue part-time. When I'm not working, I love to kill hours at the gym, scrapbook, and act as a domesticated diva to keep my hubby happy!


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