Saturday, December 26, 2009
I am definitely a member of the masses when it comes to poking fun at fruitcake. The fact that it feels like a lead weight that could easily break a window coupled with the lack of taste truly makes it food for fodder.
So why would I make fruitcake cookies? First, as you have probably noticed, I put an unusual amount of trust in Ina Garten and everything she puts in her recipe books. These cookies are from Barefoot Contessa at Home and I was intrigued that she would attempt any recipe with such a dubious reputation. If anyone can make fruitcake palatable, Ina can. I was also interested in the idea of making fruitcake into a cookie and thought, maybe the high volume of candied fruits, alcohol and nuts is just too overwhelming to a cake. The cake is trying to hold all of these elements together and screaming for mercy. Perhaps something with a cookie-like consistency and shape is exactly what is needed to make fruitcake something that is tolerable.
So, with all of that said, I present to you the fruitcake cookie. My verdict on these is that they are most definitely better than typical fruitcake. In terms of taste I would not put them ahead of chocolate chip cookies or macaroons but they have that candied/spice flavor that I love simply because it just tastes like the holidays. I will probably make these again for that reason along with the fact that they truly do look like a jeweled cookie which I adore for the holiday season. These are also excellent to transport and keep well over a long period of time. Give them a try and please enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home
1/2 pound dried figs
1/4 pound raisins
2 ounces candied cherries, coarsely chopped
2 ounces dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons very dry sherry
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces chopped pecans
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
Snip off the hard stems of the figs with scissors or a small knife and coarsely chop the figs. In a medium bowl, combine the figs, raisins, cherries, apricots, honey, sherry, lemon juice, pecans, 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 the 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 just until combined. Add the fruits and nuts, including any liquid in the bowl. Divide the dough in half and place each half on the long edge of a 12 by 18-inch piece of parchment or waxed 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, or until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on ungreased sheet pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden.