Fruitcake Shortbread Cookies

Fruit Cake Shortbread Cookies

I feel like fruitcake gets such a bad rap, especially during the holidays. It’s usually thought of as a dense heavy cake with strange fruit. Or at least that’s how I used to think of it as. So maybe I’m projecting, slightly. I’m always scared to make it because I feel like I’ll do it wrong and then I’ll just cement those negative thoughts and I’ll never make it again. I like the idea of fruitcake though because it just screams the holidays to me. I wanted to create that holiday vibe but turn it on its head slightly. So I’ve teamed up with my friends over at GO BOLD WITH BUTTER to bring you these Fruitcake Shortbread Cookies. They have all of the flavor (candied and dried fruit and nuts) but without the the heaviness of the cake. They’re shortbread cookies all dressed up for the holidays and I can’t recommend them enough.

In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, lemon zest, egg yolks and brandy and beat until well incorporated.

**Note: Brandy is a traditional fruitcake addition, but if you’re against cooking/baking with alcohol, you can just swap it out for 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract instead!**

Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. 

Stir in the chopped dried fruit and nuts. I’m using a combination of candied red cherries, green cherries, raisins, orange peel, figs, apricots, currants, cranberries, walnuts, and pecans.

**Note: It’s important to point out that that you can use all or some of the dried fruit and nut mix-ins I listed. It’s a very versatile recipe and can be switched up to your taste—meaning you can leave out what you don’t like or don’t have on hand!**

You want to mix until all the fruit and nuts are evenly dispersed but not so much that it’ll overwork the dough as that’ll create a tough dry shortbread.

Divide the dough in half, form into logs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

**Tip: The logs can also be placed in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes or until firm enough to slice.**

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Once the shortbread logs are firm, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the logs into ¼-inch slices. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches apart. 

Bake until lightly golden brown around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, once fully cooked. You’ll find that they’ll be a bit soft at first (this is because of the amount of fruit in them) but they’ll firm up once they’ve cooled.

They’re great as a last minute holiday cookie recipe or gift because they come together rather quickly and can then just be easily sliced and baked when needed.

If you’re not a fan of fruitcake, but have wanted to try something similar, then these cookies are here for you. They give you the look and taste of a fruitcake but without that heavy dense loaf that is synonymous with the name. I hope you’ll give them a try because they’re so delicious. Let me know what you think below, and thank you so much for reading and following along!

Fruit Cake Shortbread Cookies

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5 from 1 vote

Fruitcake Shortbread Cookies

These cookies are a cross between a classic shortbread and a holiday fruitcake. The butter gives them a nice flaky texture, while the dried fruit and nuts gives them a slightly chewy/crunchy interior. The key to perfect shortbread is to make sure to cream together the softened butter and sugar very well!
Servings 18
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Electric Mixer
  • Knife
  • Baking Sheets

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (or 1 teaspoon vanilla)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped red candied cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped green candied cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried figs
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, lemon zest, egg yolks and brandy and beat until well incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Stir in the dried fruit and nuts.
  • Divide the dough in half, form into logs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Can also be placed in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes or until firm enough to slice.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Once the shortbread logs are firm, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the logs into ¼-inch slices. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches apart. Bake until lightly golden brown around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Notes

Note: Feel free to use all or some of the dried fruit and nut mix-ins. It’s a very versatile recipe and can be switched up to your taste—meaning you can leave out what you don’t like or don’t have on hand!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Baking, Christmas, Cookies, Desserts, Holiday

Join the Conversation

  1. 5 stars
    what a creative way to make fruitcake ingredients, I’m impressed! Usually to me the fruits don’t go with the cake, the cake is usually too dense, but as shortbread cookies much better, even after Chritmas, because, why not and thank you!

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