Fruitcake is a mixture of fruits and nuts with just enough batter to hold everything together. Many versions are drenched in liquor, typically brandy or rum, which prevents molding and as a result allows the cake to be kept for a long period of time. The beauty of fruitcake is that you can change up the fruits and nuts to your liking.
No food elicits as much horror as fruitcake around the holidays. Most people associate it with a hard, dry brick; a gift passed around and re-gifted for years. Truth be told, I've had my fair share of bad fruitcake, but years ago, I tried my first ever fruitcake cookie (also sometimes called a "Christmas Lizzy" here) and fell in love. It was soft, chewy and densely packed with fruits and nuts.
My version does not contain any alcohol, so it's fine for the kids (though I DO have a version with alcohol and it contains a LOT). Packed with candied cherries, dates and pecans, these always seem to go over well at holiday gatherings. It's also an easy recipe, and one that kids will love "helping" with.
adapted from Suite101
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped candied red cherries
1/2 cup chopped candied green cherries
I forgot to include the vanilla and almond extracts in the picture...
Who ever thought of making GREEN cherries?
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl until blended. Add egg, vanilla and almond extract and beat well to combine.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium mixing bowl.
Mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold in the pecans, dates and candied cherries until evenly distributed.
The batter will be VERY thick.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto prepared sheet.
They don't have to look perfect to taste good.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on a wire rack and then store in an airtight container.