If you like fruitcake you’ll enjoy these cookies, which are heavier on nuts and shorter on candied fruits than most.
If you don’t like fruitcake, don’t believe the hype: As good as these are, they aren’t likely to change your mind.
The recipe is adapted from “My Mother’s Southern Kitchen” by James Villas and Martha Pearl Villas. The original called for a teaspoon of sherry extract instead of rum extract; I couldn’t find sherry extract in stores or online, so I used rum extract instead. You could also try vanilla.
Makes 85 cookies
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup dry sherry
1 teaspoon rum extract
3½ cups chopped pecans or walnuts
¼ cup candied pineapple, chopped
1 cup candied cherries, chopped
1 cup chopped dates
¼ pound seedless golden raisins
¼ cup mixed chopped candied orange and lemon peel
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside.
In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the eggs and beat until well-blended. Add the dry ingredients and sherry alternately to the butter mixture and mix just until combined. Add the sherry extract, then stir in the pecans, pineapple, cherries, dates, raisins and orange and lemon peel, and mix well. Drop the mixture by heaping teaspoons onto the cookie sheet, about 1½ inches apart, and bake until slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate extra dough for up to three days, or freeze for later use.