These cookies will bring smiles this holiday season. A variety of candied fruits, dates, and pecans fill the cookies, and despite the long list of ingredients, they are surprisingly easy to prepare and bake. Some bourbon adds holiday "spirit" to the cookies, but feel free to use orange juice instead. If you choose to omit the nuts, just add some extra dates and candied fruits.
Feel free to mix the dried fruits up. Replace the raisins with extra candied cherries or pineapple, or substitute candied peels or mixed candied fruits and peels for the pineapple.
Make these cookies for the holidays and serve them with eggnog or a spiced holiday drink. The cookies freeze well, a real convenience when you have unexpected guests or events. They make great gifts, too!
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 2 large eggs (beaten)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 cups candied cherries (red and/or green, chopped)
- 2 cups dates (chopped)
- 2 cups pecans (chopped)
- 2 cups candied pineapple (chopped)
- 1/3 cup bourbon (or orange juice)
Heat the oven to 325 F (165 C/Gas 3).
Grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, Beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs until well blended.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir or whisk the dry mixture to blend thoroughly. Add to egg mixture, beating on low speed until blended; stir in milk. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned.
Let the cookies cool completely and then store them in an airtight container. See the tips, below, for how to freeze them, baked or unbaked.
Freeze drops of cookie dough on a baking sheet in a single layer. Freeze the drops in containers separated by sheets of waxed paper. To bake the frozen drop cookies, place them on the prepared baking sheet and let them thaw at room temperature for about 35 to 40 minutes before baking. Bake as directed and cool the cookies completely before storing.
Wrap baked cookies tightly for freezing. Use airtight containers with waxed paper between layers or zip-close food storage bags with as much of the air removed as possible.
For much longer storage, freeze cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet. When the cookies are frozen solid vacuum seal them in bags and put them back in the freezer.
Defrost frozen baked cookies at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Always check cookies for browning a few minutes before the minimum time.