Why this recipe works
I love fruitcake around Christmas, but I don’t love the fuss of making it. These fruitcake cookies have all the traditional flavors of a classic fruitcake, but in cookie form! Chopped pecans, dried pineapples, raisins and candied cherries are mixed into a simple cookie dough and baked in the oven for a Christmas cookie everyone will love.
These cookies are ready in just about 30 minutes, making them great for last minute guests or a fun activity to make with the kids. You can even place some in a cookie tin and package them up as an edible gift for your neighbors, mail carriers, or friends this holiday season! They’re a festive addition to any holiday dessert tray.
You’ll love this recipe because:
Here’s what you’ll need:
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- All-purpose flour – You’ll use the all-purpose flour for the base of the dry ingredients in the cookies, but you also save 2 tablespoons to toss with the dried fruits and nuts.
- Granulated sugar – While I used white sugar in this recipe, you can certainly also use brown sugar. This will give the cookies a more molasses flavor and the cookies will be slightly darker in color.
- Almond extract – I love the flavor that almond extract adds to these cookies. It gives a nod to the rum flavor that you’d get in traditional fruitcake.
- Dried pineapple – You can find dried pineapple at your local grocery store near the dried cranberries and raisins. Dried pineapple is normally cut up into small pieces and is very chewy. Sometimes it may be sugared and called candied pineapple. You may also see them in the baking aisle. You can use either dried pineapple or candied pineapple for this recipe.
- Candied cherries – You can find candied cherries at your local grocery store, either in the section with the dried cranberries or sometimes in the section where there are bulk nuts. I used both green cherries and red cherries for a variety of color.
Candied cherries are different from maraschino cherries. Candied dries are cherries that have been simmered in a simple syrup and then candied until all of the moisture has been removed and only a thick syrup remains with the cherries. Maraschino cherries are cherries that have been sugar-preserved in a liquid. Both are sweet, but candied cherries have little to no moisture left in them, making them perfect for cookies.
These fruitcake cookies are very easy to make with a few simple ingredients. The steps below with matching photos are meant to help you see the recipe at various stages so that you can make these easy Christmas cookies perfectly every time.
For the ingredient list with measurements, full instructions, printable recipe and additional notes, please scroll down to the recipe card.
Fruitcake is a spiced cake that is filled with dried fruits and nuts and sometimes soaked in alcohol, such as brandy or spiced rum. It’s typically served at Christmas and weddings.
You can use a gluten-free flour blend that is meant to be swapped with all-purpose flour in a 1-to-1 ratio. I like Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour (in the blue bag). Since gluten-free flour has a different density than all-purpose flour, I’d recommend using 140g of gluten-free flour in the base of the cookie and 18g to toss with the fruit and nuts.
Storage: You can store leftover fruitcake cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
Freezer Option: For longer storage, you can freeze cookies. Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for an hour, until solid. Then place them in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 4 months. Leave them on the counter at room temperature to defrost them before serving.
Make Ahead Option: You can freeze cookie dough before baking and bake them from frozen for chewy fruitcake cookies whenever you please! This is a great way to make a bunch of cookie dough on your own time and then bake off cookies when you have last minute guests or are busy around the holidays. Freeze dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet for an hour, or until frozen solid. Then place then in a freezer-safe bag or container until ready to bake, for up to 2-3 months. Bake from frozen, but allow a few minutes to the bake time to compensate for the frozen dough. You may also want to slightly press down on the cookie dough before baking since it will spread less.
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons flour, divided
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup candied cherries, chopped (red and green mix for color)
- ½ cup dried pineapple, chopped
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine 1 cup flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and almond extract. Mix to combine.
- Stir in flour mixture until just combined and no more steaks of flour remain.
- In a separate bowl, combine the raisins, candied cherries, dried pineapple with the remaining 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Stir to completely coat the fruit in the flour.
- Add the candied fruit mixture and chopped pecans to the cookie dough. Stir until just combined.
- Drop tablespoon-sized pieces of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each ball of dough.
- Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, just until the cookies begin to brown on the edges. They will not spread much.
- Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve and enjoy!
- There is so much fruit and nuts in these cookies that they don’t spread a whole lot. If you chill the dough for later, be sure to slightly press down on the cookie dough to help them spread a bit.
- If you can’t find candied cherries, you can use maraschino cherries that have been drained and patted dry with paper towels.