Heirloom recipes offer an abundance of seasonal sweets. Centuries-old English fruitcake is reborn as a densely rich cookie.
Makes about 120 cookies
- 1 (8-ounce) package chopped dates
- 1 (4-ounce) package candied orange peel
- 11/2 cups chopped macadamia nuts
- 1 cup dried currants
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- In a medium bowl, combine the dates, orange peel, macadamia nuts, currants, orange liqueur, sherry, orange juice, and honey. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 hours, or up to overnight.
- In a medium bowl and using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, orange zest, and salt, and blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.
- With the mixer at the lowest speed, add the egg, vanilla extract, and orange extract, and mix until incorporated. Slowly add the flour, and mix until just combined. Add the fruit-and-nut mixture, and stir to combine.
- Divide the dough in half. Form each half into an 18x2-inch rectangular log. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm. (At this point, the dough can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 6 months.*)
- Preheat oven to 350˚. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Slice logs into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing ½ inch apart.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
To bake frozen dough, remove logs from freezer and thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes before slicing.