Admittedly, fruitcake isn’t always at the top of everyone’s holiday baking list. And honestly, I think the stuff gets a bad rap. Is there bad fruitcake out there? You bet there is. But there’s some great fruitcake out there, too.
Despite all of the fruitcake hate, a recipe for fruitcake cookies is something that I get requests for pretty frequently. I’m not sure if it’s just the nostalgia of a fruitcake cookie that has people excited about them or maybe folks just love the taste, but I think I’ve had 10 or 12 requests in the last week.
The thing about it is, I’ve never had a fruitcake cookie that I’ve liked. They all have just tasted so blah – nothing wrong with them, but nothing exciting either.
And despite the requests, I knew I didn’t want to put a recipe put there that I wasn’t 100% behind. I’ve tried a handful of different recipes, but was just never bowled over by any of them.
So, I knew we had to start from scratch.
Nearly every fruitcake cookie recipe I found used shortening. And for good reason. Shortening has a higher melting point which means cookies spread less and bake up taller because it gives the eggs more time to set before it melts.
The problem with shortening is that is doesn’t add any flavor. So I swapped the shortening for butter.
Butter adds flavor. And while the cookies might spread a little more and be a little chewier, those are things I was willing to risk to add flavor.
The other issue with fruitcake cookies is the actual fruit. A lot of the candied fruit in the grocery store is just not great. It’s been sitting on the shelf for a while and just doesn’t taste good.
So finding the right candied fruit is super important. Now this isn’t dried fruit. It’s candied fruit. Like this…
Some common brands you might find are Sunripe and Paradise. On several occasions, it’s been recommended that I buy the fruit from Nuts.com. They call it glazed fruit and apparently, it tastes much better. (If you’ve found some great candied fruit, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!)
Starting with better fruit is going to yield better cookies.
But even if you can only find the grocery store stuff, I’ve added in more flavor via vanilla, almond, and lemon extracts to give these cookies a punch.
Old Fashioned Fruitcake Cookies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup diced candied pineapple
- 1 cup diced candied red cherries
- 1 cup diced candied green cherries
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 300°F and line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon extract and mix well.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Fold in the candied fruit and pecans.
- Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonsful onto the prepared cookie sheet about 3 to 4 inches apart. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until just golden brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for a few days or in the refrigerator for longer. Cookies can be wrapped tightly and frozen for a few months.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.