Stollen is a traditional German Christmas bread. Sometimes, because the bread has such a rich texture and is so packed with fruit, it is described as a cake or a fruitcake. It starts with aÂ yeasted dough that is sweetened with sugar or honey and enriched with butter, to give it a soft texture. Spices or fruit zest are often added to the dough, as are nuts, dried fruits and candied fruits. The dough is wrapped around a log of marzipan before baking. It is traditionally shaped into a oblong loaf, but as stollen become more popular (as gift items, here in the US), you can sometimes see them in other shapes. The finished loaf is generously dusted with confectioner sugar before being sliced and served.
Stollen is sweet and rich, but not as sweet as a regular Christmas cake or a plate full of sugar cookies. Unlike another traditional Christmas bread,Â panettone, it can be quite heavy, so it is best served in smaller slices where you can enjoy all the flavors in the loaf without being overwhelmed by too much marzipan in one go.