Stollen bites

ImageSponge
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (6 ounces) lukewarm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast

Fruit and nuts
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) chopped, toasted almonds or walnuts or hazelnuts
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) golden raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup (3 ounces) candied cherries, snipped into quarters
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) rum or brandy

Dough
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) softened butter
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest or 1/8 teaspoon orange oil

Topping
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter, melted
2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, glazing sugar, or non-melting sugar

Making the sponge: Mix together and set aside for 1 hour, or for up to 4 hours.

Mixing the fruit: Mix together and set aside to allow the fruit to absorb the liquor. Do not mix in nuts.

The dough: Combine the sponge and the dough ingredients, and mix and knead to make a soft, shiny, elastic dough. Towards the end, knead in the soaked fruits (along with any liquid) and nuts. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide it into 40 pieces, rolling each piece into a ball. Place the balls on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 1″ between them. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes, until the balls are puffy. Bake the stollen bites in a preheated 350°F oven for about 18 minutes, until they’re light brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. In a large bowl or pot with a lid, toss stollen in the melted butter, then sift in the confectioners’ sugar, cover with lid and shake. Allow to cool completely before wrapping and storing. Stollen bites keep well for a week at room temperature; freeze for longer storage. Toss with confectioners’ sugar again just before serving, if desired.

Alternatively, you can make the dough in the bread machine on dough setting.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

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