Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fresh Take on Fruitcake

You voted, and because of you (or, more appropriately, thanks to you) fruitcake is gettin' a makeover. I don't mean thanks to you because fruitcake needs a makeover, I actually kinda like the stuff. I don't understand why it gets a bad rap. Maybe it's because of the bright neon candied fruits, or the fact that it weighs more than a bowling ball. But I mean, it's not all bad. It's boozy, fruity, spicy…hello, holiday classic! 

Some classics shouldn't be effed with. It's a Wonderful Life, candy canes, and the holly-jolly fat man himself…those are classics that should remain the same. Some classics, however, deserve a makeover. And what better way to freshen up fruitcake, than by turning it into…cookies? COOKIES! FRUITCAKE COOKIES! YES! 

Swap out those tooth-achingly sweet candied cherries with brandy soaked dried fruit, and then wrap it all up in a spicy shortbread-esque dough. Roll it, slice it, bake it, eat it… and then wonder why the hell you've never made fruitcake cookies before!

Fruitcake Cookies
  • 1/2 cup of each of the following, coarsely chopped:
    • dried cherries
    • dried apricots
    • dates
    • dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • zest from one lemon and one orange
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • raw sugar
Combine dried fruits, nuts, zest, brandy, honey, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Let sit overnight at room temperature.
Cream butter, cloves, superfine sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the egg and mix until incorporated, then slowly add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt just until combined. Add the fruits and nuts, and stir to combine. Divide the dough in half and place each half on the long edge of a 12 by 18-inch piece of parchment paper. Roll each half into a log, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inch thick, making an 18-inch-long roll. Refrigerate the dough for several hours, until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Before slicing, roll each log in raw sugar. Cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

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