Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Barefoot Contessa Fruitcake Cookies

Barefoot Contessa Fruitcake Cookies
by Chiffonade
adapted from Fruitcake Cookies by Ina Garten

I proudly admit to loving fruitcake but before any preconceived notions are formed, these cookies bear none of the heaviness or day-glow fruit of their namesake. Vary the fruit to your taste. See end of recipe for my adjustments.

1/4 pound raisins
2 ounces candied cherries, coarsely chopped
2 ounces dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces chopped pecans
Kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 extra-large egg
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Snip off the hard stems of the figs with scissors or a small knife and coarsely chop the figs. In a medium bowl, combine the figs, raisins, cherries, apricots, honey, sherry, lemon juice, pecans, and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cloves, superfine sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg and mix until incorporated. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon of salt just until combined. Don't over mix! Add the fruit and nuts, including any liquid in the bowl.

Chiffonade's cookie dough prepped and ready to freeze and bake.
Divide the dough in half and place each half on the long edge of a 12 by 18-inch piece of parchment or waxed paper. Roll each half into a log, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inch thick, making an 18-inch-long roll. Refrigerate the dough for several hours, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on ungreased sheet pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

Note: I used chestnuts for the figs and dried fruit for the glacĂ© fruit in the recipe. I tossed the fruit with brandy (not sherry), omitted the honey and lemon juice and did not do the overnight steep. The fruit I used was naturally very moist. I used granulated sugar vs. superfine sugar with no ill effects. I felt that the amount of ground clove would be overpowering and used ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ginger and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. The cookies had a lovely aroma.


  1. having made these cookies by the book for years, just wanted to mention the sherry and clove is what make these cookies so special. Beautiful aroma, unique flavor and also feel they are missing something with the omission of figs as well. Ina's a master of her craft. Also interesting to note, with the original recipe from her website, she mentions that she originally developed the recipe for Saks Fifth Avenue where they were sold in their bakery around the holidays. Like "Neiman Marcus" cookies they are luxurious and worth all the effort!

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