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Mandelstollen   (Almond Stollen)

4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 package Active Dry Yeast
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted Butter
1 Egg
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Cardamom
1/2 cup Almonds, ground
1 cup Almonds, chopped
1 3/4 ounces (50g) Zitronat
2 tablespoon Powdered Sugar (for topping)
1/2 stick Butter (for topping)

Combine yeast, milk, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add 2 tablespoons flour and mix until a thin batter develops. Allow this mixture to stand (covered) in a warm place for 20 - 30 minutes. This will activate the yeast. The mixture should begin to bubble.

In the meantime, cream the butter using a mixer (paddle attachment). Add remaining sugar. Beat butter until the sugar has been absorbed and the mixture has lightened slightly in color. Add Cardamom and salt. Add the egg and continue beating the mixture until the egg has been absorbed and the mixture becomes slightly fluffy.

Combine the yeast mixture and the butter mixture. Add remaining flour and sugar. Add the Zitronat, the ground almonds, and the chopped almonds. Knead together until a dough forms.

Transfer dough to a clean bowl and allow dough to rise (covered) in a warm place for 1 hour.

Place dough onto a floured surface. Flatten the dough into a large oval shape (about 1 1/2 inches thick). Fold one long side of the oval shape about 1/2 of the way over the dough. Transfer the Stollen to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Alternatively, you can also use a loaf pan to bake the Stollen.

Allow dough to rise again for 30 minutes (covered) in a warm place. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake Stollen for approx. 60 minutes or until it is golden brown.

Remove Stollen from oven. Immediately brush with melted butter. Sprinkle Stolen with powdered sugar.

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