Christmas Cake Cookie Bon Bons

Whoa, I know that title is a mouthful, but these yummy Christmas confections are a magical blend of part fruit cake (don’t think the gross kind full of soggy nuts and chemical laden frankenfruits), part cookie and part candy-like bon bon.  They are chock full of real dried fruits and citrus rinds, crunchy walnuts, and oh yeah, Bourbon and dry Sherry!  They are definitely for the grown-ups, and utterly perfect with a cup of hot tea, a glass of sherry or if you’re really OG Christmas, Russian Tea.

Here is what you need and how to make them:

For the Cookies –

  • 3 cups total of chopped, mixed, dried fruits such as raisins, craisins, sultanas, dates, dried pineapple, dried cherries, candied orange & lemon rinds, etc.
  • 4 tablespoons Bourbon*
  • 4 tablespoons dry Sherry*
  • *(you can substitute Amaretto for the Sherry or apple cider for all the liquor)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, divided
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2″ paper candy cups (about 48 to 54 of them)

For the Glaze & Decoration

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste (or regular vanilla extract)
  • 4 teaspoons Bourbon
  • pinch of salt
  • thinly sliced candied orange or lemon peel

In a medium glass bowl, toss mixed fruits and peels with the Bourbon and Sherry.

I used equal parts raisins, sultanas, craisins, dried cherries, dried pineapple, candied orange rinds and candied lemon rinds.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to “marinate” until almost all of the liquor is absorbed, stirring every couple of hours. This should take about 8 hours or you can do this overnite. When the fruit is ready, you will have a lovely plump, glossy mix that looks like this (I had already folded in the walnuts before I snapped the pic):

Speaking of candied citrus peels-

you want good quality ones that are just citrus rinds and sugar – not the dyed, preservative-filled stuff that is sold for “fruitcakes”.  I get mine at a Middle Eastern market, but many high quality grocers carry them.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Arrange 48 to 54 1.5” paper candy cups on a rimmed baking sheet.

Stir walnuts into fruit mixture. Sprinkle ½ cup of the flour into fruit mixture, and stir to coat evenly.

To make the cookie/cake batter:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat to incorporate thoroughly. Add remaining ½ cup flour, baking powder, salt, and spices and mix on low till combined. Add fruit mixture and beat on low till combined – stopping to scrape bowl to be sure batter is evenly distributed around the fruit, nuts and peels (there will be more fruit mixture than batter so this is important).

Using a #100 disher or a teaspoon, portion a level scoop of dough into baking cups.

Press disher into cup so dough touches paper before squeezing to release the dough ball.

The dough won’t spread, so you can place the cups right next to each other in the pan.

Bake cookies, rotating sheets at halfway point, until just lightly brown, about 23 minutes. Cool.

Dice a few strips of candied orange or lemon peel to garnish the cookies

Whisk glaze ingredients together to make a thick glaze (too thick to drizzle, but thin enough to spread a bit).

Spoon glaze onto cookies; garnish with peel.

These cookies keep well, so they can be made ahead and kept at room temp in an airtight container.  In fact, they just get yummier as they “ripen”.  Enjoy!

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