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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fruity Tootie

Ted may be the only person I know who actually likes fruitcake. I'm not saying that he tolerates the annual fruitcake.  He actually likes it and has been known to seek it out.  Several years ago I made him a fruitcake because he likes it so much.  Who knew that such a person existed?  Most people receive fruitcakes and use them as doorstops.  We receive a fruitcake and Ted eats it.

I, on the other hand, don't really like fruitcake.  At least not enough to waste the calories on it, especially at this time of year. But I do like to see my husband happy so I have found a compromise: the fruitcake cookie.  I have to say that these cookies are quite yummy.  They include all the things that are good about fruitcake: dried fruit and booze, and leave out most of what's less appealing: wildly colored candied fruit.  In fact, the only candied fruit in this recipe are cherries, which are pretty manageable when you're talking about candied fruit.

The other nice thing about this recipe is that you can adjust it to include the dried fruits you like.  You could also leave out the candied cherries, although I left them in because I thought they added a pretty color.  The original recipe is from Ina Garten.  She's always a good place to start when you're making something that includes a lot of expensive ingredients.

Customize this recipe to make it your own like I have.  That person you know who enjoys fruitcake will thank you.  You might even find that you like fruitcake, at least in cookie form.

Fruitcake Cookies


1/4 pound dried apricots
1/4 pound dried figs
1/4 pound raisins
1/4 pound candied cherries
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces chopped walnuts
kosher salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 extra large egg
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Coarsely chop the figs and the apricots.  In a medium bowl, combine the apricots, figs, raisins, candied cherries, honey, sherry, lemon juice, walnuts, and a pinch of salt.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, cloves, superfine sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, add the egg and mix until incorporated.  With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix until just combined.  Don't overmix.  Add the fruits and nuts, including any liquid in the bowl.  Divide the dough in half and place each half on the long end of a 12x18 piece of parchment or wax paper.  Roll each half into a log, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick, making an 18 inch long roll.  Refrigerate the dough for several hours, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350.

With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2 inch slices.  Place the slices 1/2 inch apart on ungreased  sheet pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

1 comment:

  1. Ted's not alone. I too like fruitcake, but - and this is a big BUT - it has to be an Italian panforte which, no matter what they say, is for all intents and purposes a fruitcake. The one made by the neighbors next to whom I grew up in Pittsburgh shines above any I've tasted in Italy. So it seems that even the Italians have trouble getting a handle on fruitcake, with the distinct exception of my aforementioned neighbors whose panforte I still look forward to receiving every Christmas!
    These look wonderful, Nadine. Definitely worth a try. I completely agree with you about garishly-colored candies fruits. They scare me.