Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

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Christmas Drop Cookies
Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

These Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies are what I like to describe as a deconstructed light fruitcake turned into mighty tasty little cookies. The cookies, themselves, are not difficult or complicated to make though there are a couple of time delays required for them. One is the period required to soak the fruit in brandy and the second is the cookie dough resting period in the refrigerator.

The fruit add-ins for the cookies consist of candied cherries, mixed glazed fruit, golden raisins, and mixed peel. Just like in a fruitcake, the fruit is soaked in brandy to add flavor. I recommend that this be done for 24 hours prior to mixing the cookie dough as this will allow time for the fruit to absorb the brandy flavor and for the raisins to be fully rehydrated and plumped. Stir the fruit 2-3 times over the 24-hour period.

Christmas Cookies
Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

Like many drop cookie doughs, this one benefits from being refrigerated for several hours before baking. Refrigerating the dough serves a couple of purposes. First, while it is important to have ingredients at room temperature to blend them well together, room temperature cookie dough going into the hot oven is often a cause of cookies spreading and becoming thin or flat instead of puffy and chewy. And, we all like to see drop cookies with that sought-after puffy look and slightly chewy texture!

Stack of Christmas Cookies
Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

The butter in room temperature cookie dough will melt rapidly as soon as the cookies go in the oven, causing the cookies to quickly spread out before they have a chance to take shape, rise, and start baking. On the other hand, if the dough has been chilled for several hours, the butter has had a chance to solidify, or firm up, and cold, firm butter takes longer to melt in the oven. This delayed reaction gives the cookies a chance to raise up instead of spread out as would be the case with soft/melted butter. As a result, the cookies begin to bake, create structure, and are able to hold their shape before the butter breaks down and flattens and spreads them out.

Second, this particular cookie dough will appear quite moist once it is mixed with the majority of moisture coming from the egg and brandy. Refrigerating the dough will help the moisture to be evenly absorbed into the dry ingredients; in other words, to hydrate the flour and give the sugars time to absorb the liquid. Eggs, in particular, take longer to be absorbed into dry ingredients than other liquids such as in this case, for example, the brandy which is a thinner liquid.

In doughs that have several eggs, this typically would take longer than the minimum 6 hours of chilling that I recommend for this dough. Some cookie dough recipes recommend long refrigeration periods of anywhere from 24 – 72 hours for the absorption of liquids and hydration of flour(s). However, this recipe only calls for one egg and not a lot of flour or sugar so a minimum of 6 hours will suffice though the dough can remain for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator before baking.

My testings of longer than 24 hours for this cookie dough did not result in any significantly better results. In fact, I did not find that any chilling time beyond the 6 hours resulted in any appreciable differences for this particular recipe. This chilling period is sometimes referred to as the “resting period” or “ripening stage” of the dough. While the chilling time is a delay in producing the cookies, it results in better quality cookies that are more evenly baked and cookies that have a deeper, more complex flavor with lovely texture (the latter of which is also aided by the addition of the lovely almond flour in the dough). This is because the cookie dough has had a chance for its flavors to mix, mingle, and develop, and the moisture to be fully integrated into the dry ingredients. And, of course, it allows the butter to harden, too. In short, this ripening period will contribute to the desired well-risen, puffy, and slightly chewy drop cookie. If the dough is particularly stiff when it comes out of the refrigerator to the point that it can’t be scooped or spooned without chibbling it, let it rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.

I tested the cookies with different weights of dough and found that those made with approximately ¾ ounce (or about 22 grams) of dough make lovely sized cookies and they bake with good results in about 14-16 minutes on an oven rack positioned in the center of an oven preheated at 350°F. They will have a lovely soft, chewy texture.

Christmas Cookies
Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

…and a note for those who may wish to make a gluten-free version of these cookies:

These cookies can be made gluten free by substituting ¾ cup of gluten-free 1-to-1 or cup-for-cup baking flour for the ¾ cup of all-purpose flour called for in the recipe and ensuring all other ingredients are also gluten free. However, your health is your responsibility and you should always read the labels and confirm the gluten-free status of each ingredient in the recipe yourself to ensure your own comfort level. Even if I have not specifically stated “gluten-free” by every single ingredient, it is understood that the intent is that each and every ingredient (and not just the flour) is to be gluten-free if gluten-free cookies are to made from this recipe.

I am not a medical professional and have no medical training. The recipes on my website are based on my own experiences along with information obtained through my own research. Use of this recipe, as well as any others, from my food blog are at the user’s own sole risk. If you are not comfortable with the recipe, or are uncertain of the gluten-free status of any of the ingredients called for in the recipe, please do not use the recipe.

Tin of Colorful Christmas Cookies
Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup (3½ oz) candied cherries, cut in half (aka glacé or glazed cherries)
1/3 cup (2¼ oz) mixed glazed fruit (aka candied fruit)
1/3 cup (1 7/8 oz) golden raisins
2 tbsp (1 oz) mixed peel (aka candied peel)
2 tbsp brandy

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tbsp white sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp pure almond extract

¾ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free 1-to-1 or cup-for-cup baking flour)
2 tbsp almond flour
¾ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/16 tsp cloves

¼ cup chopped pecans

Method:

Combine the candied cherries, mixed glazed fruit, golden raisins, and mixed peel in small bowl. Pour the 2 tablespoons of brandy over the fruit and stir well to combine. Cover and let stand, stirring 2-3 times, for about 24 hours.

Bring butter and egg to room temperature.

Sift, or sieve, dry ingredients together into bowl and set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium to medium-high speed until soft. Gradually add the white sugar followed by the brown sugar and beat until well combined. Add the egg and beat well to blend. Scrape sides of bowl if necessary to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Add the grated orange rind, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat well.

With mixer set to lowest speed, add the dry ingredients, about a half at a time, combining well each time and scraping sides of bowl as necessary.

Remove the bowl from the stand and manually fold in the fruit mixture along with the chopped pecans. Cookie dough will appear quite moist. Transfer to a bowl with a tight-fitting cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 6 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.

Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. The dough should be firm to the touch. If it is particularly firm, let dough stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Drop dough by tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies about 2” apart. For reference purposes, the cookie dough for the cookies in the photographs weighed approximately ¾ ounce (22 grams), per cookie. Bake for approximately 14-16 minutes, rotating baking sheet partway through the baking. Let cookies rest on cookie sheet(s) for 4-5 minutes after removing from oven and before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: Apx. 22 cookies

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Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

With a soft and chewy texture, these festive Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies are brimming with colorful candied fruit, raisins, and pecans. A great addition to any holiday sweet tray!
Course Cookies
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword Christmas Cookies, Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies, cookies,, drop cookies, Fruitcake Drop Cookies
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (3½ oz) candied cherries, cut in half (aka glacé or glazed cherries)
  • 1/3 cup (2¼ oz) mixed glazed fruit (aka candied fruit)
  • 1/3 cup (1 7/8 oz) golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp (1 oz) mixed peel (aka candied peel)
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • ¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp pure almond extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free 1-to-1 or cup-for-cup baking flour)
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/16 tsp cloves
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Combine the candied cherries, mixed glazed fruit, golden raisins, and mixed peel in small bowl. Pour the 2 tablespoons of brandy over the fruit and stir well to combine. Cover and let stand, stirring 2-3 times, for about 24 hours.
  2. Bring butter and egg to room temperature.
  3. Sift, or sieve, dry ingredients together into bowl and set aside.
  4. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium to medium-high speed until soft. Gradually add the white sugar followed by the brown sugar and beat until well combined. Add the egg and beat well to blend. Scrape sides of bowl if necessary to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Add the grated orange rind, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat well.
  5. With mixer set to lowest speed, add the dry ingredients, about a half at a time, combining well each time and scraping sides of bowl as necessary.
  6. Remove the bowl from the stand and manually fold in the fruit mixture along with the chopped pecans. Cookie dough will appear quite moist. Transfer to a bowl with a tight-fitting cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 6 hours, or up to 24 hours.
  7. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
  8. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. The dough should be firm to the touch. If it is particularly firm, let dough stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Drop dough by tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies about 2” apart. For reference purposes, the cookie dough for the cookies in the photographs weighed approximately ¾ ounce (22 grams), per cookie. Bake for approximately 14-16 minutes, rotating baking sheet partway through the baking. Let cookies rest on cookie sheet(s) for 4-5 minutes after removing from oven and before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 22 cookies

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Christmas Cookies
Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies
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