Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Brazilian Christmas cookies and other traditions

After reading a post recently that basically summarized the "lack of knowledge" regarding Brazilian Christmas traditions, I started thinking about the whole subject and what are Brazilian Christmas traditions.
I know Christmas is over and all but maybe you can capitalize on this information for next year and be more well informed.
My family, given the European background has many "Stollen" traditions. (Ha! Fiona, I don't know how I never made that connection before ;) ).
Yes, as well mentioned on a comment by dear blogger friend, Fiona, yes, we have "Stollen de Natal" in Brazil, also known as "Bolo Alemao de Natal".
My grandmother's original German recipe used candied fruit, nuts and raisins, however if I could say there is a Brazilian tradition trend here, I would have to mention my grandmother has been making "Stollen de Natal" with chocolate chips and some Brazilians even make it with goiabada bits, now THAT is Brazilian.
Gil's grandparents and his mother make "Stollen de Natal" with figs, that is how his family makes it.
His grandmother has an old fig tree at her house. They love figs, LOVE IT!
My family has also always made a traditional Christmas cookie called "Rosquinha de Pinga" which is a very simple type of sugar cookie with lots of Cachaca, the alcohol evaporates so don't worry, nobody get's drunk over Pinga cookies, they are awesome and my mother, grandmother and aunt have already planned to make Gil and I a batch and send it over with my cousin coming to New York city in two weeks for a Trade Show.
I called my mother who emailed me grandma's "Stollen" recipe but grandma will not share her Christmas Cookie recipe. She will only teach you how to make this one in person. ;)
I talked with grandma on the phone and we are gonna have an Expat's Blogger's meeting next year where she will teach all present how to make the traditional Brazilian Christmas cookie or "Rosquinha de Pinga".


Brazilian Christmas Cookie-Rosquinha de Pinga

We will get Brazilian Christmas Cookies "Rosquinhas de Pinga" and our favorite Melitta coffee which we are almost out.
We can hardly wait for the goodies coming our way :)

Here is my Grandmother's "Stollen de Natal" recipe:

Traditional "Bolo de Natal Alemao" or "Stollen de Natal"
Some people make it round instead of rectangular


-2    tablets of fresh yeast ( 2 packets of yeast-the refrigerated type )
-1/2 cup of sugar
-1    tea spoon of salt
-1    Stick of melted butter
-1    Cup of warm milk
-1    Whole Egg
-1    Egg yolk
-1/2 Kilogram of wheat flour ( 1 pound )
-1/2 Cup of chopped Walnuts
-1/2 Cup of raisins
-1/2 Cup of chopped dried fruit (comfit)
-1    Cup of confectioners sugar (powered sugar)

How to make it:

Mix in the packets/tablets of yeast, the salt and sugar. Pour in the melted butter, the milk, the egg yolk and the eggs and mix it well (according to my grandma) with a wooden spoon until it's all well blended.
Add the flour slowly to the mix, always stirring well until all the flour has been added to the mix.
Place your dough over a floured kitchen counter and press the dough to push the air out.
Cover the dough with a clean cloth and leave it to rest for 1 hour.
After 1 hour resting, mix in the walnuts, the dried fruit and raisins to the dough.

Brazilian Version:
At this point if you are making the Brazilians version of "Stollen de Natal" instead of the raisins and the dried fruit you need to add your chocolate chips or goiabada bits into the dough.

Brazilianized Chocolate Stollen

Confeitaria Cristina, an Austrian Bakery in Sao Paulo makes the apricot stollen.

Fold the dough in half and shape it in a rectangle of 12X20 inches or 30X50cm, fold it again from the wider sides inwards toward the center without touching the two borders.
Place it in a greased baking pan and cover it with a clean cloth and let it rest until it doubles in size.
Bake it at 350F degrees in a pre heated oven for 30 minutes.
Cover it with powered sugar and serve.

If you are lucky enough to live in Sao Paulo and lazy to bake just take a look at this AWESOME AUSTRIAN BAKERY IN SAO PAULO  Confeitaria Cristina and you can buy your Stollen over there.
By the way, you can also find all sorts of Brazilian Christmas Cookies at Confeitaria Cristina like the ones on the pictures below.

Brazilian Christmas Cookies at Confeitaria Cristina in Sao Paulo 

Brazilian Christmas Cookies at Cristina Bakery in Sao Paulo
Brazilian Christmas Cookies with the Brazilian Christmas figurine at Confeitaria Cristina in Sao Paulo


Jim said...

Sign me up for THAT blogger get together. Everything looks delicious.

I have a fool proof Panettone recipe for my bread maker (just made another one yesterday) - but that Stollen looks like a much better way to go.

This Christmas cookie thing must be another example of the regional differences across Brazil. Luiz and other friends living here in Niterói say they have never had a Christmas cookie and that it is not a part of their tradition.

There were certainly none availalbe in our local padarias/confeitarias, or even in Lojas Americanas, etc.

Perhaps it is more popular in the more European-influenced areas.

Gil and Ray said...


You are on, the first one to RSVP to our blogger meeting for next year. I have one year to plan it now.
Let's do it, my grandmother will be thrilled, she is 87 by the way and super active, rides the bus by herself, works as a volunteer at a Hospital, does a ton a community work at her church, never stops.
Yes, the differences are very big despite the small relative distance between Sao Paulo and Rio.
For example, I chuckled when I saw your posts about the Saint/Images at the supermarkets walls around Niteroi. That must be a super Portuguese thing to do, because we see that all over Massachusetts, not only inside stores like the ones you showed but in front of homes, on the front lawns.
We never, EVER saw a Saint image in a store or home anywhere in Sao Paulo.
Cariocas are beach people. They do have a very different cultural background than we do in the highlands.
Let's keep in mind that Sao Paulo state has about 42 million people, 18 million living in the metropolitan area, that is a huge regional difference to be observed and respected.
Also, remember!!!!
We don't have the Ocean in front of us like you guys do in Rio. Sao Paulo city's weather is much more like San Francisco's mild in terms of temperatures and not so hot like Rio.
So our lives revolve A LOT around cooking and eating, going to the theater, movies and working.
Actually, you know the going joke, Paulistas work so Cariocas can sit on the beach :)


Gil and Ray said...


Gil has just told me he has seen Religious images in Padarias in Sao Paulo. Padarias are usually owned by Portuguese.
However with the late "trends" of political correctness, the new or remodeled Padarias don't have the Religious images anymore.


Corinne said...

stollen, or weinachstollen, is a Christmas tradition on my mother's side, due to her German heritage. We would always make it to have for Chrsitmas breakfast. It is my impression that there is more "traditional", i.e. European inspired celebrations of Christmas in SP and the south of Brazil, much less than elsewhere in the country. My husband's family does not have a strong European influence, hence, few of these traditions are followed. What I have not seemed to find is a specific Brazilian tradition, similar to tamales in Spanish-speaking Latin America, for instance. However, there are many more tradtions for New Years in Brazil than I ever remember in the US. Again, nothing is better or worse, and difference should be celebrated.

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Corinne,

You hit the nail in the head. Thank you for pointing that out. I should have written that the Christmas traditions or lack thereof are not better or worse, just different.
Sao Paulo and South Brazil most definitely have a stronger tradition Christmas tradition due to climate and cultural background.
I wouldn't know what would be a Brazilian Christmas tradition like the "Tamales" in spanish speaking America...
May the "Rosquinhas de Pinga" are very Brazilian. I am sure they used some different kind of liquor in Europe but it was replaced by the cheap and readily available Cachaca. The Stollen made with
Goiabada bits or Chocolate chips.
The Brazilian Panetones have been getting more and more sophisticated year after year. Now there is truffle Panetone, Chocolate Panettone, White Chocolate Panetone. These are all Brazilian creations I don't see around New England, Italy or any other country that has Panetone.
Thanks for your comment.


Fiona said...

Wow! I never thought to consider that you would have Stollen in Brazil, but of course! It's absolutely delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe!!!

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Fiona,

Yes, thanks to you, I had a chance to share this Christmas tradition with our readers.
I don't know where in Sao Paulo Gustavo's family lives but if you are familiar with the Southern neiborhoods of Santo Amaro, Brooklin, Campo Belo and Chacara Flora which are the areas of Sao Paulo with the highest concentration of Paulistanos with German, Danish and Austrian origin and where you still find many typical bakeries that specilize in either one of those old country's traditions, you will always find Stollen over there or you can just make your own with the recipe we just shared ;)
Chocolate is my favorite but I am super curious to try the Goiabada one.