I wish you could smell my kitchen! Holiday Breads Are Baking!

I have been baking all day, and the fragrance of spices and dried fruit and brandy and almond have turned my kitchen into the most heavenly-scented place on earth. Today I am baking the most delicious almond filled Stollen because Stollen is my husband's favorite. And I am baking a beautiful, dried fruit studded Panettoni because ... well ... Panettoni is my favorite! And... I have mixed up 5 diffrent batches of cookie dough - but more about that tomorrow!

 

It seems that every country in the world has at least one MUCH LOVED holiday bread reserved for this time of the year. I have provided links below to entice you to try at least one celebration bread from another country this season.

But first I want to introduce you to two of my favorite places to go for ingredients and inspiration.

Penzey's Spices

Every spice, dried herb or herb blend in my cupboard is from Penzey's Spices. They are always much, much fresher and much less expensive than those you can buy in the grocery stores. The online store makes internet purchasing easy, but I personally prefer to shop from their terrific catalog because every single spice or herb or blend Penzey's offers comes with a description and suggestion for using it. I have learned so much about herbs and spices from the pages of the catalog. It's actually a very "good read". Order your cloves, cardamom, mace, anise, and cinnamon now so you will have them in time for your holiday baking days. And at the same time, ask Penzey's to put you on the Spice Catalog mailing list. Hint: Order the 4 oz bags, leave a little out to use and store the rest in the freezer. Spices don't deteriorate in the freezer, so you'll save even more money because you are buying "in bulk". Well... I guess if you kept them in there five or six years they would lose their potency; but I have stored some of mine up to three years in the freezer and they have been just fine.

King Arthur Flour

Get to know King Arthur Flour! Since I began using King Arthur Flour, my cookies, cakes, pies and breads are better than ever before. Go to their website - you will have access to a huge library of delicious and reliable recipies. (In fact, you will notice that many of the recipes I link to below are from King Arthur Flour's online recipe files.) Don't miss Baker's Banter, a most excellent baking blog. Treat yourself to at least one cookbook. (Both the Almond Stollen and Panettoni recipes I use are from the cookbook pictured above.) And for those of you who love to EAT holiday goodies but do not love to BAKE them from scratch, King Arthur offers a large assortment of mixes. You can even order cakes, sweet rolls, cookies and breads ALREADY BAKED for you! Hint: Check out all the beautiful cookie decorating sugars, cookie cutters, flavorings, and chocolates offered in the catalog! I just love my stacking spice tower which I use to store my decorative sugars.

NOW FOR THOSE LINKS TO LOVELY HOLIDAY BREADS (Since I became a blogger this year, I am sticking to "what I know" in the kitchen! But I plan to try all of these celebration bread recipes over the next couple years. If you try one, let me know how it comes out!)

Panettoni (home made is way better than "store bought") And while we're on the subject, visit this recent post on Baker's Banter - step by step to making a beautiful Panettoni. Same recipe I use and it is delicious! It is not hard, and I really like the addition of mixed dried fruits.

Betsy's Panettoni

American Style Panettoni ( This is the one I like to bake and mine looks exactly like the picture with the recipe.)

Overnight Panettoni

Stollen

Stollen Bread Wreath from Martha Stewart's Mother (I really want to make this.)

Betsy's Stollen

The -I-Don't-Have-Time-to-Make Stollen (Sounds perfect to me!!)

Others to try

Greek Christmas Bread

Julekake - Norwegian Christmas Bread (Seems like a simple sweet bread to bake.  I hope to try it this year)

Tuscan Coffee Cake

Pandoro (More fruit filled goodness fom Italy)

Lussekatter (Saffron buns traditionally eaten on Santa Lucia Day.)

My Challah recipe (Challah is one of my absolute favorite breads, but I still haven't tried my hand at baking one.)

St. Nicholas Breads from the Saint Nicholas Center HAPPY HOLIDAY BAKING TO ALL!

Penzey's Spices = win! I love

Penzey's Spices = win! I love reading their catalogs. Not getting it is definitely one of the (myriad) disadvantages of living away form home. I've made some really fun recipes of theirs in the past. They have really nice Christmas cookies. (Cookies are definitely my primary Christmas baking. Without a doubt. I mean, I also always make a pumpkin pie, but that hardly counts.

Wow, this post was like

Wow, this post was like coming home (to Wisconsin) where Penzey's has their store. Wonderful place. And King Arthur flour--my fav also.

My mouth is watering from hearing, seeing and smelling all the wonderful things in your kitchen!!

Oh goodness, I love stollen!

Oh goodness, I love stollen! I had it for the very first time last year and I immediately tried to replicate it, and it was a dismal baking failure! I'll have to check out those links to see if I can try for a round #2!

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