Snacks: Tasting two more German Christmas treats

After writing about thirteen traditional German Christmas treats and subjectively reviewing three of them in the past two years, the duck and I decided it was high time we tried a few more baked Christmas goods – this time, some we had never tried before. At first, we wanted to review apple-cinnamon heart cookies and a baked apple Stollen, both from the 2021 Bahlsen (a German cookies and cakes brand) Christmas lineup. We couldn’t find this particular Bahlsen Stollen anywhere (we were looking too early). But we did find Lidl store brand mini baked apple Stollen during one of our October grocery shops. Then we remembered the Bahlsen mini Spekulatius with milk chocolate we had seen during our apple Stollen search and decided that those sounded much more awesome anyway and grabbed a bag of those instead of the apple-cinnamon cookies. Now we had a new, even more exciting, theme for this year’s German Christmas treat taste test:2021 Christmas treat duck Mini snacks! While we would not eat apple Stollen and chocolate Spekulatius in the same sitting (with us being decidedly peculiar when it comes to mixing fruit and chocolate flavors), those two treats promised to be a perfect representation of the fruity and the chocolaty side of German Christmas treats. Here’s what we thought:

Mini stands for “Must ingest numerous immediately,” right?

As always, I will point out that the duck and I have very specific tastes which makes this a very subjective taste test. Also, keep in mind that the holiday season is our favorite time of the year and that we adore Stollen and cute things. For us to dislike any of the treats we chose, something would have had to have gone horribly wrong in the production process, which I highly doubt. So, prepare for another “wow! Everything is wonderful!”-style subjective taste test.

Mini Bratapfel Butterstollen
For those of you who don’t know: Stollen is a German fruit bread that, depending on who made it, contains dried or candied fruit, nuts, lemon and/or orange zest, and about a finger’s breadth of powdered sugar on top that makes it nearly impossible to come out of a Stollen snacking session without a sprinkle of white powder on your face or clothes.
These tiny Stollen come filled – with a marzipan-apple-cinnamon mixture that, of course, came as a surprise with our first bite- because we have serious difficulty reading packaging! Since they’re so small and the filling makes up about 40% of each mini Stollen, you get a guaranteed taste of apple marzipan in every avid bite and a much better taste and moisture distribution than you might in a regular-sized Stollen slice. The bread batter contains butter (a lot of Stollen do, but not all of them), hence the “butter” in the title. It also has raisins, almonds, and candied apple pieces – that add a nice change in texture if you’re lucky to spot one – mixed in. There is a hint of lemon, but, to the duck and me, the apple flavor is much more prominent. We like that these Stollen have a relatively fresh taste (though we would prefer a more tart, lemony one) and that the marzipan is so nicely distributed. There isn’t too much powdered sugar on them, probably because of gravity; this doesn’t change the overall sweetness, though, as, unlike some traditional Stollen, these miniature ones sport a sweetened bread batter on top of the sweet apple-marzipan filling. While the duck and I aren’t huge fans of the sweet, appley aftertaste, as Stollen enthusiasts, we can’t award anything less than a visual 5/5 ducks (though, like last year’s marzipan Stollen, this is much closer to a 4; we understand that a certain sweetness is to be expected in grocery store brands – for Stollen with a more discreet taste, you’d likely have to go homemade or buy one from a specialty store at a decidedly different price point).Apple Stollen Rating

Mini Spekulatius
For those of you who don’t know: Spekulatius are cookies that come in fancy shapes and often feature spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and/or ginger, though there are plain butter varieties for those who like their Christmas cookies to have a more neutral taste. The duck and I don’t mind the taste of spiced Spekulatius, but we have to be in the mood for them and generally are satisfied with eating one or two Spekulatius per holiday season. When we saw that this variety featured tiny versions of those delightfully shaped cookies and milk chocolate, we knew we had to try them.
After the first bite, we were pleasantly surprised at the mild taste of spices. A look at the ingredient list confirmed that cinnamon is the predominant spice (though “spices” and “flavors” follow toward the end of the list). This meant we could definitely eat a whole lot more than two of these this holiday season. The milk chocolate goes well with the light cinnamon taste of the cookies and makes them a perfect and inobtrusive Christmas treat overall; their size also helps with that. Also, though we can’t taste it, their little shapes – especially the owl – bring us immense joy! Despite the comparatively mild taste of spice, our taste buds do register these mini Spekulatius as holiday cookies, which could lead to us having enough of them at some point. But if you are in the mood for a Christmas treat that tastes a bit like Christmas and looks super cute, these are perfect. Because this is a Christmas treat taste test, we still want to give them 5/5 ducks because we can see us munching them all season. And, after a 9-month break, we might have regained our excitement to munch them again.Chocolate Spekulatius RatingThis shall conclude this year’s German Christmas-themed subjective sweet snack review. I wonder if the duck and I will do one next year… Only time, location, new/not-before-tasted Christmas treat availability, and our taste buds will tell. We are definitely planning to keep sharing our snack ventures on here, at least for the foreseeable future, because nothing beats an excuse to buy new snacks so that we can “share our severely scientific taste analyses with the world.”

What are your favorite holiday snacks? Have you discovered any new ones this year?

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