Fruitcake Bar Cookies

Stay tuned for my Favorite Holiday Gifts Guide and lots of giveaways coming up in a few days! 

We’ve never been fruitcake fans, but we do love our fruitcake cookies! Dried fruit layered with cinnamon, brown sugar, and just enough flour and butter to hold it all together until it reaches your mouth! Mama has made fruitcake cookies each year for as long as I can remember. She goes shopping for the candied fruit each year *after* Christmas, when it is on sale, and stores it in her freezer until the holidays roll around again and we all get to craving the brown sugar/fruity goodness of these yummy cookies.

Mama’s recipe is traditional and wonderful, but this year I worked up a simpler version with less fuss. I sent a platter of them to my mother’s house for her approval and she called this morning to get the recipe. She said she’s gonna make my version instead of hers this year to give herself a little break because “They taste every bit as good and sure are a lot easier!”.

So here is my easier version. No dropping dough or cookie sheets. Just pat it all into one pan, cook and let it cool and rest overnight, then cut into little bites and enjoy. Because we all have Christmases when we really want the fruitcake cookies, but a little break would be nice, too!

 

You’ll need: Baking Mix, Margarine, Chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, raisins, dark brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, one egg, and Candied Fruit Mix or chopped candied dried fruits of your choice.

 

Notes about ingredients and substitutions: 

Baking Mix – Some folks aren’t familiar with “Baking Mix”. Bisquick is a brand of baking mix and that usually strikes that note of recognition with them :) Bisquick is not my favorite baking mix. I prefer House Autry (which can’t be found where I live) or Pioneer Brand. I do get Bisquick if I have to make a really large quantity because it comes in larger boxes, or if I can’t find the other two that I prefer. You can also make your own homemade baking mix by using one of the gazillion recipes found on the internet :)

Nuts - I’m using chopped walnuts because they are so much cheaper than pecans. Feel free to use whatever nuts you have on hand.

Dried and Candied Fruit – My mother doesn’t like the fruit cake blend of candied fruit as much as I do so she uses only candied cherries in her fruit cake cookies. I love the added citrus fruits in the candied fruit mix :) Please tailor this to your own preferences and taste.

Brown Sugar - I’m also using dark brown sugar because I just really like dark brown sugar. You can use light if you prefer.

Margarine - You can substitute butter for margarine in this recipe but I prefer margarine in this one. These cookies have a longer shelf life and ship very well thanks to the margarine. Note: If shipping, be sure and let them sit for at least a day before cutting and package in a single layer so they have less chance of being smooshed.

Vanilla - I’m using real vanilla because someone gave it to me. For those of you purists, enjoy this picture but don’t get too comfy. You’ll see me using bargain imitation vanilla again soon enough :) I’ll cheerlead your personal choice all the way but we’re running on a two way street here :)

 

Melt your butter in a large mixing bowl.

Add in baking mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, egg, and vanilla.

Stir that up until well combined.

 

Now add in all of your nuts and dried fruit. 

And stir that up really well.

This will take some elbow grease (just a little bit) to get it all incorporated because your batter will be absolutely

filled with chunky goodness but that’s what is going to make it taste so stinking good!

Now spray an 8×8 pan really well with cooking spray.

Yes, this only makes one 8×8 pan, lol. We’re going to cut them in little squares though so it will end up with a lot.

Dump in all of your dough. 

Pat it out a bit with your hands to fill the pan.


Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.

Let rest overnight before cutting.

Fruitcake Bar Cookies

Fruitcake Bar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Brown sugar, packed (I use dark, or whatever I have on hand)
  • 2 Cups Baking Mix (I prefer House-Autry or Pioneer, but Bisquick will work in a pinch)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Stick margarine, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 + 1/2 Cups diced fruit cake mix (or diced candied fruit of your choice)
  • 1/2 Cup raisins
  • 1/2 Cup sliced almonds (the almonds add a GREAT texture)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Instructions

  1. Combine first six ingredients in large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix until well blended. Stir in fruit and nuts.
  3. Pat into well greased 8×8 pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool completely and then cover. Allow cookies to rest overnight before cutting into bars.
  5. Makes 16-25 cookies, depending on how small you cut them.
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Comments

  1. Laura says

    Great recipe! Another twist I use in fruitcake that can be adapted to this recipe really well is to soak the dried fruit in an equal amount of strong coffee overnight. When it comes time to make it, just dump the fruit & coffee into the mix & add some chopped up Fruit & Nut chocolate bars and voila! Mocha Fruitcake! Or Mocha fruitcake cookies, soo yummy! And don’t worry about the extra liquid with the coffee, the fruit absorbs almost all of it.
    Cheers!

  2. Donna says

    I just love fruitcake, so I know these will be great. Have to shop for the fruit. I don’t have any bourbon. What about rum or whiskey? I can’t figure out why fruitcake has such a bad rap.

  3. Paula Fontenot says

    I love fruit cake as does my son gonna surprise him with this. I work graveyard shift with a lot 12 hr shifts so anytime I make something homemade he is over the moon and this is a go even if I’m tired just to see him enjoy them! You can show love through food!

  4. Susan Willard says

    Happy Holidays Christy! My Mom and I have been making what we call Brown Lizzie’s for as far back as I can remember and that is a long time. Our recipe makes about 14 dozen and has bourbon in it. These were my Dad’s favorite cookies and none of my kids or grandkids like them, but my husband, brother, mom and almost everyone else in my family loves them! I especially like them with a cup of coffee! About the only difference is more spices, the bourbon, molasses, and we don’t use baking mix.

  5. Tricia says

    A few of us in the family like fruitcake & I make one large one every year filled with dried fruits, & nuts. Yesterday I had one in the oven baking for about two hours & discovered that I had forgotten to put the flour & spices in. I dumped the mixture out into a bowl, stirred in the flour & spices & let it cool overnight. This morning I divided the mixture & placed it into two loaf pans & baked them at 275 for an hour. After they cooled, my husband & I tasted a slice & discovered it had turned out great. I think I may skip the fruitcake next year & make your fruitcake bar cookies instead.

  6. Betty Strickland says

    I’ve read in several of your posts about your preference for House Autry baking mix. I use some of their products, too. Thought to myself ( after finding the fruitcake bars recipe…so good ) that they are close by here in NC. Well, kiss my grits…they are about 10 miles from me. They always have a booth @ the NC state fair where they give samples of theiir famous hushppies. Didn’t see any baking mix on the website so maybe you use the biscuit mix? So….When you schedule a book signing in Raleigh, I’ll bring you some. You’ve got fans here too! Merry Christmas to you and all your family!

  7. Carla says

    I have another question too, that I’ve always wondered. Anyone can answer who knows. Can you just add extra molasses to a recipe with brown or white sugar if you don’t have brown or dark brown sugar? As long as it doesn’t add too much more liquid, it should be fine, right?

  8. Susan says

    Oh… My… Goodness! My husband is the fruitcake lover and cookie baker in our family so I turned this recipe over to him…and may I say,.they were to die for!!! Luckily, he doubled the recipe and we had some to share – raves all around! This will become a new traditon for us – thanks so much for sharing! Merry Christmas!

  9. Sandra says

    Hi Christy,
    I made your fruitcake bar cookies but decided to drop them rather than make the
    bars and the cookies were delicious!! Everyone loved them!! Thanks for such
    a quick and easy recipe. I wish I would have made them for Christmas. By
    the way this is the first recipe I have ever commented on but have cooked
    many of your delicious recipes. Love Southern Plate!!

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