There is a basket in my parents' house which, to this day, holds back-issues of Gourmet magazine. It was there when I was a kid, and I used to love looking at the photos of all things that I wanted to eat and places I wanted to go. One strange memory sticks in my head, which is of seeing a photo spread on a little town in Austria all decked out for Christmas. Twinkle lights, craft stalls, snowbanks, cheer. It looked like heaven.
I still harbor this secret desire to go and seek out this unnamed place (which could actually be half of Europe), to experience Christmas condensed. Maybe one day I'll get there, but in the meantime, I'll make things like Linzer cookies and stollen and picture the article in my head. (RIP print magazines.)
If you too want to make stollen, you should start now. The process takes a few days, and the breads, which are saturated in spices, candied fruit, and butter, get better over time. But the results are delicious, perfect for both a hearty breakfast or an afternoon snack. Bonus: if you're going to go through all that work anyway, the recipe makes enough loaves for gifting.