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 a few years back 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, Butter (or 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 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.
Butter – You can substitute margarine for butter in this recipe. I recommend this if shipping them as 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 🙂
Place melted butter in a large mixing bowl. Add in baking mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, egg, and vanilla. Stir that up with a large spoon until well combined.
Now add in all of your nuts and dried fruit. Stir again until incorporated.
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 and pat it out a bit with your hands to fill the pan.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
Allow to cool completely and let rest overnight before cutting.
- 1 Cup Brown sugar, packed (I use dark, or whatever I have on hand)
- 2 Cups Baking Mix (I prefer Pioneer, but Bisquick will work)
- 1 Egg
- ½ cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 + ½ Cups diced candied fruit mix (or diced candied fruit of your choice)
- ½ Cup raisins
- ½ Cup sliced almonds (the almonds add a GREAT texture)
- ½ Cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- Combine first six ingredients in large mixing bowl.
- Mix until well blended. Stir in fruit and nuts.
- Pat into well greased 8×8 pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely and then cover. Allow cookies to rest overnight before cutting into bars.
- Makes 16-25 cookies, depending on how small you cut them.
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