Monday, December 23, 2013

12 Days of Cookies Day 11: Fruitcake Cookies

Many people don’t like fruitcake, but it can be great, so I figured that a fruitcake cookie might be less scary than an entire fruitcake. I don’t like a lot of candied fruits, which I think is what most people think of when they think of fruitcake. It’s too bad. You can make fruitcake with dried fruits and it’s a lot better. We make a Christmas (fruitcake) cake every year and it doesn’t have any candied fruit at all. This cookie does have a little candied fruit, but just 2 ounces. And if you don’t like it you can simple omit it.

This recipe calls for 14 ounces of dried fruit, and you can use any combination that you want. The original recipe called for 8 ounces of dried figs, but they aren’t my favorite. I substituted a combination of dried cranberries and currants. I thought about using dates, which would also be great, but they are a pain to chop up! You can also use and brandy or liqueur to soak the fruits and nuts. The recipe called for sherry, but I didn’t have any. I used Grand Marnier. Brandy would also be nice. You could use fruit juice if you wanted to avoid alcohol.

I prepped the fruits one night, made the dough in the morning, and then baked up the cookies once I got home. You could refrigerate them longer if you wanted. I don’t think I have ever cut slice and bake cookies so thick, ½”, but it works here. The cookies taste a lot like fruitcake, although not quite as heavy as fruitcake can be. I really liked these cookies, and I encourage you to give them a try, even if you’re afraid of fruitcake!

Fruitcake Cookies
6 ounces dried cranberries
2 ounces currants
4 ounces raisins
2 ounces candied peel or cherries, chopped
2 ounces dried apricots, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
2-4 tablespoons brandy or liqueur
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 ounces chopped pecans
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 2/3 cups flour

In a medium bowl, combine the cranberries, currants, raisins, candied peel, apricots, honey, brandy, lemon juice, pecans, and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.

The next day: in a large mixer bowl cream the butter, cloves, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until light. Add the egg and stir to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour and stir just until incorporated. Add the fruits and nuts (and any liquid) to the dough and stir on low to combine.

Divide the dough into thirds and shape each piece into a log, 1-1/2” in diameter and about 12 inches long. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Slice the logs into ½” thick slices and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Ina Garten

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