These could almost be called Fruit Cake Cookies, because I think they are a delightful stand-in for it, and might even be preferred to it by most.
This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Holiday edition of her magazine, but can also be found on her website.
Makes about 48
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup pitted, coarsely chopped dried dates
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup dried currants*
1/4 cup finely chopped candied orange peel* (you can find this in the grocery store around this time of year, I bought mine last year and it is still good. It’s a great ingredient to have around for other baked goods, especially bread pudding.)
1/8 cup or more if you like it candied ginger, finely chopped*
1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Put the butter and brown sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy.
3. Add the vanilla and egg, and mix until smooth.
4. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined (! – See Mom’s Gingersnap recipe notes for more information)
5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in all the chopped dried fruits, currants, orange peel and ginger, as well as the pecans. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead briefly until incorporated. I didn’t bother to flour my counter, but if it is a particularly moist day and it feels like a moister dough, go ahead and do it.
6. Divide in half and form each half into a log, or a more squarish loaf which is what I did, about 7 inches long and 2 x 1 and 1/2 inches. Wrap each loaf and refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 4 hours in the fridge or 1 hour in the freezer.
7. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 and line your baking sheets with parchment (by the way if I haven’t said this, I always line my sheets with parchment unless I specifically mention not to- with some dough it is not necessary because of the amount of butter in the dough).
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned on the edges. You will smell the fruits by this point. Let them cool on the sheet about 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. I’m happy to eat these and skip the fruitcake.