Christmas cookies – and stollen




We had a cookie exchange at work this afternoon.  I had no idea what this was, and so I declined to participate.  My bad.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, everyone in the office brings a couple dozen cookies.  The cookie dishes are placed around a table where people walk by and take two of each one, giving them a plate full of cookies that are not like the ones they brought in.

Because of my lack of participation, I was not able to indulge in this overload of sweetness. However, out of gratitude for taking a couple pictures I was given free reign of some of the leftovers. The treats on this plate pictured above were just delicious.

As a child, my Mom and Dad would make Christmas stollen.  I thought everyone made it, but it turned out that it was a pretty special treat, as not only did not every family make it, most of them didn’t even know about it, .  Making it today largely resembles how my folks did it, but there is a memory I have about making stollen that sticks out above the others.

I don’t remember the whole process, but I remember distinctly my Dad clamping a big bread hook/bucket to the kitchen counter, then adding the ingredients to the bucket and cranking that bread hook like he was trying to start a Model T.  Round and round he went, flour everywhere, until the dough was just right.  Then he dropped in the candied citron and ruined it all.

Ruined it by my standards.  The bread itself was delicious, and eating it warm from the oven with a big slab of butter melting on top, oozing over the sides in little rivers through the powdered sugar was unimaginably good.   But once I hit one of those nasty little citron things, the Christmas magic was all over.  They would make a bunch of loaves and, thanks be to God, give it away to family and friends.

I’m guessing the recipe for stollen came over with the Friedhoff side of our clan direct from Bavaria.  They could have kept it in Germany for my benefit.

The memory of the bread hook, the flour, and mostly Mom and Dad making this stuff together is thick, and part of my Christmas past.  I don’t know what happened to the bread hook or the recipe for stollen, and it really doesn’t matter.  Watching them put it together, together, sharing their love with each other and everyone on their stollen list, is what I remember most.

I won’t be making stollen this year.  Or next.  But now that I know what the cookie exchange is,  I may have to join in a year from now.  Nobody brought any stollen, though.  I don’t think they know what they are missing!


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