Austrians and Germans have been baking Stollen for 700 years, calling it Christstollen as the stollen shape and appearance were reminiscent of the wrapped baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. Nowadays, Stollens are sold all over Europe just before Christmas at most bakeries. The fillings may vary, but the shape stays consistently like a snowy log, adding to that Christmas theme.

This Is my favourite breakfast sweet bread on Christmas morning. Stollen is deliciously rich, fragrant and bursting with fruit, nuts and spices, dusted with a thick coat of icing sugar. I love the subtle sweetness of the marzipan which reminds me of so many confectionary cakes and desserts from Austria and Germany, especially during the Christmas season. Traditionally, the marzipan is added as one whole, long piece, but I like to add them in small pieces so that each slice has several studded marzipan pieces. If you can’t find ready-made marzipan in your country, I have added a recipe for homemade marzipan. Please try to use the best almonds you can get, together with either almond extract, bitter almond extract* or rose water extract to make the most authentic and amazing marzipan.

My gluten-free recipe uses baking powder instead of yeast which helps lighten the dough slightly. In my opinion, when yeast is added, it can overpower the sweet ingredients. It still tastes like a loaf of sweet bread, despite the lack of yeast. The result is just as good and frankly, less work and faster to bake. There is also no kneading involved – straight from the bowl to the baking tray after some resting time.

I have also included a gluten-free homemade stollen spice mix to give the stollen that very authentic spice taste.

  • Bitter almond extract is used typically in Germany and Austria, if you can find this in your store, this is the most authentic extract used for stollens. It is also available online.
Gluten-Free Stollen

For the gluten-free homemade stollen spice mix

Enough for one recipe
(makes 2 ¾ teaspoons)

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground aniseed

Enough for a small jar

  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg powder
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground aniseed

Mix well together and use in this recipe or store in an airtight, small jar

For the homemade marzipan

  • 250g whole almonds, peeled
  • 135g icing sugar, sieved
  • 2 teaspoons rose water extract (found in most baking or International stores)
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract or bitter almond extract
  1. Dry the almonds in the oven for 20 minutes at 100 C/ 210 F.
  2. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Process the almonds into a fine mixture.
  4. Put the fine almond mixture into a mixing bowl and add the sugar and extracts, mixing well until it takes shape into a marzipan mass.
  5. Mould the dough into a rectangular shape.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until further use.

For the stollen:

  • 325g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 250ml sour cream
  • 75ml buttermilk
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 70g pistachios, whole
  • 70g pecans or walnuts, halved
  • 1 washed orange, grated zest only
  • 200g store-bought or homemade marzipan, chopped into small pieces
  • 100g raisins soaked 1:1 in rum or Cointreau for 30 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons candied lemon peel pieces
  • 2 ¾ teaspoons gluten-free homemade stollen spice mix
  • Tapioca flour, for dusting hands
  • Icing sugar, for dusting the cooked stolen

Step by Step Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 170 C/325F.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and xanthan gum together in a medium bowl.

3. Add the eggs, 3 tablespoons melted butter, sour cream, buttermilk and sugar. Mix well.

4. Add the vanilla extract, nuts, orange zest, marzipan, raisins, candied lemon peel pieces and gluten-free homemade stollen spice mix. Mix well.

5. With dusted-tapioca floured hands, transfer the stollen dough to a lined baking tray, moulding it into a long oval loaf approximately to 35 by 15 cm.

6. Bake for 40 minutes on the middle shelf. The stollen should appear golden after 40 minutes.

7. Cover the stollen with some foil to prevent it from burning and lower the oven to 150 C/ 300 F. Bake for a further 15 minutes.
8. Remove the foil and insert a toothpick or long wooden skewer stick in the centre, if it comes out clean, it is fully baked.

9. Rest the baking tray on a wire mesh and Immediately brush the stollen with the remaining melted butter and dust generously with the icing sugar. This step will give the stollen its typical sugary coating.

10. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Store in an airtight container.
Keeps for 5 days
Makes approximately 14 slices
Freezes extremely well for 3 months. Slice the stollen and separate with baking paper before freezing. Reheat straight from frozen in a low oven 170 C/ 325 F for 10-15 minutes covered in foil.