Thursday, December 6, 2012
Fruit Cake Cookies
I know fruit cake gets a bad rap as a dense, badly flavored brick of a cake that no one wants to eat, but these cookies take what's good about it--fruit, nuts and flavor--and turn it into a soft, chewy cookie that you'll want to enjoy. I was surprised by the lightness of this cookie and thoroughly enjoyed all the different bits of fruit scattered in each bite. This is how fruit cake was meant to be enjoyed--on soft, chewy cookie at a time.
This recipe screams Christmas and I had to give it a whirl. Just to see how it would turn out. And I was pleased. Originally from I Believe I Can Fry, Julie used lots of dried fruit and nuts to impart the fruitcake flavor. Instead, I grabbed a bag of King Arthur Flour Dried Fruit Blend instead of each separate fruit. This also meant a wider variety of fruit, including apricots, raisins, pineapple, dates, and cranberries. I was also tempted to at least add some rum extract for a more authentic flavor, but a quick scan of the pantry showed I didn't have any so there went that thought. These whip up pretty easily and aren't heavy or dense like regular fruit cake, but still have a nice fruit flavor in a spiced cookie. A new twist on a traditional holiday dessert that is sure to please.
Fruit Cake Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup water plus 2 Tablespoons powdered buttermilk base
1 cup pecans, chopped (Note: I show walnuts in the photo but ended up finding a bag of pecans that I used instead. Either will work)
2 cups dried fruit blend or 1 cup dates, 1/2 cup candied red cherries and 1/2 cup candied green cherries, chopped
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand held mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add egg, vanilla and almond extracts and beat to combine.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and powdered buttermilk base, if using.
Alternating between flour mixture and buttermilk/water, add to butter mixture and mix well to combine. Fold in pecans and dried fruit to distribute throughout.
Using a medium cookie scoop, drop dough onto parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges. Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.
Remove from oven and cool on pans for 2-3 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
The Cookie Princess
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