Fruitcake cookies are a delicious, bite-sized take on the traditional holiday dessert. They’re like a chewy, fruity spice cookie!
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Every year it feels like holiday baking season starts earlier and earlier.
It starts with the infamous Pumpkin Pushers and their PSL cravings in late August and snowballs from there. Before you know it, it feels like we’re making Christmas cookies before Halloween is even over.
For someone who gets a bit disgruntled when I see Christmas decorations pop up in the store before school supplies are off the shelves, I actually don’t mind the prolonged baking season.
I notoriously love all things gingerbread and could eat Gingerbread Cake any time of year.
Chai Sugar Cookies are so good they deserve to be as much a staple in May as they do in December.
Linzer cookies are genuinely perfect any day of the week.
And let’s not forget Maureen’s Rice Krispie Cookies. My dad could eat those in one sitting all year long.
Fruitcake Cookies are perhaps harder to justify outside of the October-to-December baking season, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a cookie you’ll want to eat earlier than that.
This Fruitcake Cookies recipe is an old family favorite. In fact, they were my Uncle Mike’s favorite cookie growing up.
One year, when he was in high school, my great-grandmother made a batch of these cookies and sent them home with my uncle. He was, of course, supposed to be sharing with the family…but instead, he hid them under his bed and ate them all himself!
Now, you have to understand that the original recipe for Fruitcake Cookies makes approximately 120 cookies…and yes, he did manage to eat every. single. one. (It does help that, like actual fruitcake, these cookies get better with age.)
No one else even knew the cookies existed until my great-grandmother asked my grandmother how they were. I think perhaps the rest of the family was a little peeved, but my great-grandmother thought it was just about the cutest thing she had ever heard.
CANDIED FRUIT FOR FRUITCAKE
Now, before you start thinking I have completely lost my marbles in trying to convince you to buy that mysterious candied fruit for fruitcake, you should know that you can buy a fruitcake fruit blend from King Arthur Flour.
I, however, choose to put off my normal reservations and embrace the retro-ness of this recipe and by using what is available at my local grocery store.
I have to be honest that I kind of love the crazy colors in this particular recipe.
You can usually find candied fruit for fruitcake in the baking aisle of your average grocery store, especially during the holiday season.
If you’d like to make Fruitcake Cookies when candied fruit is unavailable, or you’re noting that it’s tricky to find, you can purchase a fruitcake fruit mix on Amazon.
Two-day shipping for the win.
FRUITCAKE COOKIES RECIPE
Ok, so I assuaged your fears about the candied fruit…but I can still feel you eying your computer screen with suspicion.
Admittedly, many of us – especially those of us who grew up in the north – have probably grown up with fruitcake being the butt of Christmas re-gifting jokes.
But rest assured, these Fruitcake Cookies are more like a chewy, nutty spice cookie than anything else.
My father has spent his entire adult life swearing off all forms of fruitcake, yet could not stop eating these. I think I’ve made a Fruitcake Cookie believer out of him…and I bet I can make one out of you, too!
Ingredients you’ll need
In addition to chopped candied fruitcake fruit, you will need:
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup brown sugar, well packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ tablespoons milk
- ½ cup unfiltered apple juice (or orange juice)
- 3 cups chopped pecans
- 6 ounces (about 1¼ cups) white raisins
I know that apple juice is unusual to find in a cookie recipe, but again – just trust me here.
The batter for this recipe is very thin; it’s the fruit, nuts, and raisins that make it thick. And yet the cookies bake up perfectly.
Making this recipe
Start these cookies by prepping the candied fruit. Fruitcake fruit is incredibly sticky stuff, so we want to counteract that.
Stir together the candied fruit with a few tablespoons of the flour. Set this aside for later.
In a bowl, whisk together the rest of the flour with the spices and baking soda.
Use a mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the milk and apple juice.
Add in the dry ingredients, then mix in the nuts, floured candied fruit, and the raisins.
Remember, don’t worry that the dough seems more like a cake batter – that’s how it’s supposed to be!
Use a spoon or cookie scoop to drop the dough by spoonfuls onto lined baking sheets. I usually pat my down with a spatula – the cookies won’t spread much on their own.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.
HOW TO STORE FRUITCAKE COOKIES
Fruitcake Cookies may not last as long as their fabled counterpart, traditional fruitcake, but they still last quite a long time!
Store Fruitcake Cookies for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature. They actually taste better after they’ve aged a bit, so don’t be afraid to make them a few days before you plan to serve them.
Because of their long shelf life, they’re perfect for shipping to loved ones. I like to make a batch and send some to my uncle and grandmother.
If you want them to last even longer, they also freeze quite well.
Give these Fruitcake Cookies a chance. My uncle would surely encourage it.
For a more traditional take on fruitcake, take a peek at my Christmas Spice Cake recipe.
Fruit in cookies is great! I would rather eat these guys any day than fruit cake. 120 cookies is a lot of friggen cookies, wow. PS good luck in the photo contest.
No kidding…It’s kind of embarrassing sometimes how much food my family can put away. Haha. 🙂
I would consider that the sign of a good cookie and love my for a stunt like that! Can you substitute rum for the applesauce?
Hi Bonnie — You could definitely try rum (or brandy!) in place of the apple juice!
I’m a-ok with grandma cookies! 😉 Off to vote for your photo!
These cookies look so festive and tasty! Great for gift giving! I’ve never bought the fruit cake fruit and am glad you informed us of the healthier, less processed option from King Arthur. I’m also excited that apple cider is used for the recipe, sounds great!
I love these cookies and had forgotten about them. I feel fairly certain that I could eat at least 60 of the 120 cookies which MyFitnessPal would not think is as cute as Ma-Ma would. I will make them for Christmas Eve and hide them from myself. 🙂
Aw! Gotta love old family recipes! I bet Santa loves these 😉
This is fruitcake I can handle 🙂 they look so good!
These will make my dad, the fruitcake lover, very happy in his stocking. Can you please clarify for me what ‘white raisins’ are? I am familiar with golden raisins, but not white. Thanks, I look forward to giving these a go soon.
Oh sorry, white raisins = golden raisins.
haha ok fruit cake still freaks me out! But I trust you, those cookies do look DELISH darling! Im so excited its Christmas cookie season 🙂 We need to have a real cookie exchange too!!
I can’t believe we both made these cookies, using the KAF fruit blend no less, in the same week! Great minds, sister! 🙂
I’ve made something like this, and as a bonus you can brush them with a little brandy when they’re warm out of the oven. It will soften the cookies slightly, but it’s a nice addition.
I found these too late to make them last year, but couldn’t wait to try them out for my dad this year. These are very good, says the girl who doesn’t like fruitcake. Dad loves Collin Street Bakery fruitcake, so I peeked at their description and subbed honey for the sugar, and added a splash of cognac since I couldn’t find the brandy. Can’t wait to delivery them on Thursday. Thanks for sharing your family recipe, and the story of it, too.
I’m so glad you like them! And they’ll only get better by Thursday. I hope your dad loves them, too!
Robby I love you and Stephie.
God help me. I grew up eating Collins Street Bakery Fruitcake every year of my life.
I was recently DX as having a wheat allergy.
No more CSB for me . Every *cry*
But these…subbed with GF flour….just might work.
Dad deemed them ‘very good, maybe better than fruitcake’. And this from a man who is spoiled with regular homemade cookie infusions. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it will be a regular in the holiday rotation.
I’m so glad!! 😀
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Have you ever tried these as “bars”?? you know how you take the chocolate chip cookie batter and put in a 9 x 13 pan and bake? I am better these would be wonderful!! and I really like the thought of glazing them with a cognac/brandy style glaze…..
I have never tried it! If you do, I would think you would want to keep an eye on the baking time; I have no idea how long they would need. If you try it and it works, let me know!
I LOVE good Fruitcake! And it is hard to find! I made this recipe (doubled) and these cookies were BEYOND AWESOME! I ate almost all of them myself (some people are too afraid to try something new). I didn’t find unfiltered apple juice, so I used apple cider, and since I doubled the recipe, I used a 16oz container of red candied cherries, an 8oz container of green candied cherries, an 8oz container of candied pineapple, a 4oz container of diced mixed candied fruitcake mix, and an entire box of golden raisins. I am so happy to have found this recipe! I plan to make them at Christmas from now on! (Someday I’m going to be the legendary Grandma that makes these cookies!)
I love this! The original recipe is the amount you made, so my great grandmother would love that you went for all 120 cookies! So glad you loved them and plan to make them again 🙂
Can these cookies be made a head and placed in freezer
Yes, absolutely! They are great make-ahead cookies.
Oh, my gosh, this made my day. My Ma-Ma (grandmother) would have been so pleased to know how much you loved them. She also had multiple good fruitcake recipes (when you grow up an hour and a half away from New Orleans, it’s a Christmas staple). Enjoy them and now you know why my little brother hid them from us!
Flour used is it all purpose or self rising
Loving these simple but delicious cookies for Santa! Thank you so much for sharing them tonight on #PureBlogLove Link party!!
How much is a “stick” of butter?
Hi Robyn – You will need 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons of butter.
Stephie you recipe call for baking soda but the picture has baking powder…which one is it!!
i think i just ruined all my ingredients…i used baking soda like the recipe call for and the baking soda flavor is very strong…
Hmm, I have had many people make this recipe and they haven’t had any issues. Perhaps the baking soda was expired?
I had never noticed that! Thank you for noticing. It uses soda as written in the recipe.
A friend gave me this recipe years ago and I LOST it!! Delighted to see your post. I HATE fruitcake but these cookies are so darned good!!! I have looked at many recipes, but they’re never the right one! Thanks so much for posting!!!
Aren’t they a delightful little cookie? I’m so glad I could help restore a long lost recipe!
Do you think i could cut this recipe in half?
You could certainly try! Let me know how it does if you do.
Has anyone tried substituting dried cranberries for part of the white raisins? I’m not a huge raisin fan and thought it might be really good with the cranberries!
I don’t know if anyone has tried that yet, but it sounds amazing! I say go for it!
Gave the annual batch of these to my dad at THanksgiving, and when I saw him yesterday he said they “Might be my all time favorite cookie.” I’m trying to decide on a mix of simple dried fruit to put in them since the candied cherries are already gone from my store. Thanks again for such a winner of a recipe.
Thank YOU for sharing! I’m so glad your dad loves them!