Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fruitcake, But in a Cookie

Now that I have my oven back, I am on a baking rampage.  Two to three times a day, the oven is getting used.  This is an especially good thing since for 2 weeks now I have stuck with my cash only system and trying not to go out to eat that much and it works better when there is an oven working at home! 

And since it is the holiday season, I have no problem posting my second cookie recipe of the week.  I was browsing through the Betty Crocker Cooky Cookbook  last week (I love how they spell Cooky) and glanced over a fruitcake cookie recipe.  I promptly forgot about it but then yesterday I was at the grocery store and suddenly had a thought, I want to make Fruitcake Cookies!  When I had the container of candied fruit in my hand, I was starting to have some serious second thoughts whether that was such a good idea.  Did I really want to waste $2 of organic butter?  I decided to stick to my guns but also purchased some nice candied ginger to substitute if I got really apprehensive. 
 Let me pause for a second and talk about this Cooky Book.  There is a bit of history in my family about this book.  My mom baked out of this constantly when I was growing up and I would spend hours flipping through the pages, salivating over the glossy photos of fat chocolate chip and pinwheel cookies sitting next to glistening glasses of ice cold milk.

About 15 years after I moved out of the house, my mom gave me this cookbook as a gift, assuming I would jump for joy to have it for my very own.  Well, let me just spare you the $20 of going out and buying this yourself.  Most of the recipes are terrible.  Cooking times are wrong.  It ALWAYS says you are going to have twice as much as you actually end up with.  (One time, as an experiment, I tried to make the quantity of some cookie that the recipe said I would have; I ended up with cookies the size of quarters.)  Also, everything calls for margarine and many of the recipes use cereals or other product tie-ins.  Awful.

When I got home and looked at the recipe, I thought, uh, no thanks, and went and found an Ina Garten recipe that looked pretty good.  But then I found the exact same recipe on several other sites so I am not sure who to give credit to.  Probably Ina.  But I changed it up anyways because of course she wanted you to chop your own dried fruit and all I had was the Crayola colored fruit I bought at the store.  But I had the good candied ginger and that helps a lot.  They taste a lot like a shortbread, which was a pleasant surprise.  Guess what everyone is getting from me this year for the holidays?

Fruitcake Cookies
1/2 pound diced fruitcake fruit
1/2 cup plus chopped candied ginger
1 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoons dried sherry
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour

Mix fruits with honey, sherry, lemon juice, pecans, pinch of salt.  Set aside while you make the cookie dough.

In stand mixer, cream butter with sugars until fluffy.  Add egg and mix until just incorporated.  With mixer on low, slowly add flour along with 1/4 teaspoon salt until just combined.

Add fruit and nut mix and blend in.  Divide dough in half, roll into 1 1/2 inch logs and wrap in wax paper.  Chill for at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350F.
With a sharp knife, slice logs into 1/2 inch slices, turning log as you cut to retain round shape.  Place slices about 1/2 an inch apart on ungreased baking sheet.   They don't rise or expand much but I still prefer to cook about 12 to a cookie sheet to give them a lot of breathing room.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.  Mine took about 16.5 minutes!

They look so festive and pretty and taste NOTHING like those fruitcake bricks that everybody hates but are ubiquitous to the holidays.

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