Be sure to sample them all and take some home to share with family and friends throughout the holiday. You'll find vendors outside, inside on the main floor and the second floor. You can even try baking a traditional favorite at home. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
Stollen is a bread-like cake traditionally made in Germany, usually eaten during the Christmas season as Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen. Stollen was created in Dresden in around 1450. Stollen is a fruitcake made with yeast, water and flour, and usually dried citrus peel dried fruit, almonds, and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon; the dough is quite low in sugar. The finished cake is sprinkled with icing sugar.
1 Vanilleschote, 1 kg Mehl, 100 g Hefe, 400 ml Milch, 100 g Zucker, 2 Eier, abgeriebene Schale einer Zitrone, 1 Teelöffel Salz, 400 g Butter, 200 g Mehl, 350 g Rosinen, 100 g gehüllte Mandeln, 50 g Zitronat, 100 g Orangeat
5 cl Rum
150 g Butter, 1 Vanilleschote, 100 g Zucker
1. Rosinen, Mandeln, Zitronat, Orangeat in Rum einlegen, ziehen lassen. Aus 1 kg Mehl, 150 ml Milch, 1 Prise Zucker und Hefe einen Vorteig rühren. Gehen lassen. Zucker mit Mark der Vanilleschote mischen. Hälfte des Vanillezuckers, restliche Milch, Eier, Zitronenschale und Salz zum Teig geben, verkneten. 30 Minuten gehen lassen. Butter mit 200 g Mehl verkneten, unter den Hefeteig arbeiten, 15 Minuten gehen lassen.
2. Zwei Rollen (30 cm lang) formen, zum Stollen einschlagen. Auf ein gefettetes Blech geben, eine Stunde gehen lassen. Bei 200 Grad C ca. eine Stunde backen. Mit zerlassener Butter bestreichen, mit Vanillezucker bestreuen.
One vanilla bean, 1 kg flour, 100 g yeast [or 2 teaspoons activated yeast], 400 ml milk, 100 g sugar, 2 eggs, grated peel of one lemon, 1 teaspoon salt, 400 g butter, 200 g flour, 350 g raisins, 100 g shelled almonds, 50 g candied lemon peel, 100 g candied orange peel, 5 cl rum.
150 g butter, 1 vanilla bean, 100 g sugar.
1. Soak the raisins, almonds, candied lemon and orange peel in the rum. Mix a pre-dough out of 1 kg flour, 150 ml milk, a pinch of salt and yeast. Let rise. Mix the sugar with the pulp from the vanilla bean. Mix half of the vanilla sugar, the rest of the milk, eggs, lemon peel and salt into a dough and knead. Let rise for 30 minutes. Knead butter into 200 g flour and work into the yeast dough. Let rise for 15 minutes.
2. Form 2 rolls (30 cm long) and pound into stollen loaves. Place on a greased baking sheet, let rise for one hour. Bake at 200° C for about an hour. Coat with melted butter, sprinkle with vanilla sugar.
German Christmas baking is not complete without Lebkuchen, a soft gingerbread, which was probably invented by Medieval monks in Franconia, Germany in the 13th century. Lebkuchen bakers were recorded as early as 1296 in Ulm, and 1395 in Nuremberg, the latter being the most famous exporter today, known as Nürnberger Lebkuchen (Nuremberg Lebkuchen).
Historically, and due to ingredients, Lebkuchen is also known as honey cake (de:Honigkuchen) or pepper cake (de:Pfefferkuchen).
Sometimes Lebkuchen is packaged in richly decorated nostalgic tins and boxes which have become collectors' items. Lebkuchen range in taste from spicy to sweet and come in a variety of shapes with round being the most common. The ingredients usually include honey, spices and nuts, almonds or candied fruit. Salt of Hartshorn and Potash are often used for raising the dough. Lebkuchen dough is usually placed on a thin wafer base called Oblate. This was an idea of the monks who used communion wafers to prevent the dough from sticking.
Lebkuchen is usually soft, but a harder type of Lebkuchen is used to produce Lebkuchen hearts, usually inscribed with icing, which are available at many German fairs and the witch houses made popular by Hansel and Gretel.