As a child, there were two things my grandmother would make every year only at Christmas time that would keep me in suspense all year long: Chex Mix and Fruitcake Cookies.
While I have no idea the origin of this recipe, my grandmother would prepare these crispy fruitcake cookies and give them as gifts or present them on a holiday dessert tray.
She was generous enough to share the recipe, adding it to the collection of recipes she named “Cooking with Grandma” and giving a copy of the cookbook to each member of the family.
When I was searching for similar fruitcake cookie recipes, the closest I could find to my grandma’s version was the fruitcake cookies recipe originally posted by Southern Living.
What are fruitcake cookies?
Sometimes called “Christmas Lizzies,” fruitcake cookies are a combination of candied fruit, pecans, and a little bit of bourbon.
While these are chewy fruitcake cookies, they bake with a crispy bits and edges. The crispy spots are my favorite.
Chefs like the Barefoot Contessa and the Pioneer Woman might have their own fruitcake cookie recipes, but none can beat Grandma’s fruitcake cookies in my opinion.
Ingredients for fruitcake cookies
Makes about 8 dozen
1 pound candied cherries, quartered (red and green)
1 pound candied pineapple, cut into small pieces
8 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
1 ½ cup flour, divided
2 sticks butter, softened
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
¼ cup bourbon
I am sure some of you are already wondering about substitutions.
If you want to dabble with the recipe, go right ahead. I even have a couple of ideas. However, I cannot guarantee the results will be as wonderful as my Grandma’s fruitcake cookies when you start swapping out ingredients.
Don’t like fruitcake cookies with pecans? Walnuts would be a good substitute.
Afraid to stop by the liquor store? Wondering what to substitute for bourbon?
I don’t know anything about buying liquor beyond the bourbon in fruitcake cookies and vodka in spaghetti sauce. But maybe you could try swapping out a fruit juice like pineapple, orange, or apple juice.
Can’t find candied fruit at your local store? These ingredients are typically seasonal and can only be found on grocery store shelves around the holidays. I do not recommend substituting dried fruit because it is just different. Instead, why not purchase candied cherries and candied pineapple at Amazon?
How to make homemade fruitcake cookies
Prep for making the fruitcake cookies by preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Next, pull out the largest bowl you have. Dump the candied fruits into the bowl with the pecans and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of flour.
In a regular mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
To the butter, add the eggs, flour, and bourbon. Mix until well blended.
Pour the batter over the fruit/pecans mixture and mix together until all fruits and pecans are well coated with batter.
Portion the batter using a small cookie scoop or drop the dough onto the cookie sheet using two teaspoons.
Note: It is best to make very small, bite-size cookies. Grandma always used two small spoons to make her cookies. I use the smallest cookie scoop I can find. Keeping the cookies small will give each cookie a crunchy exterior with a chewy center.
Bake the fruitcake cookies for 15 minutes. You can move them to a wire rack to cool.
How to store fruitcake cookies
Cool the cookies completely prior to packaging for gifts.
These cookies stick together slightly when the candied fruit touches but it never bothered me to receive a storage bag full.
If you wanted to avoid any stickiness when storing or giving as a gift, layer the cookies between pieces of parchment paper.
Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature, and they will last for over a week… if your family isn’t instantly addicted to these fabulous morsels.
Grandma’s Fruitcake Cookies
- 1 pound candied cherries, quartered (red and green)
- 1 pound candied pineapple, cut into small pieces
- 8 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup bourbon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place the fruits and pecans into a very large bowl. Add ½ cup flour and toss the fruits and pecans to coat.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. To the butter mixture, add the eggs, flour, and bourbon. Mix until well blended.
- Pour the batter over the fruit/pecans mixture and mix together until all fruits and pecans are well coated with batter.
- Portion the batter using a small cookie scoop or drop the dough onto the cookie sheet using two teaspoons.
- Bake for 15 minutes.