Fruitcake Cookies- Bánh Đậu Pecan và Trái Cây Khô

Vietnamese food

     I got  weary from the hardest winter snow storm we’ve had in nearly twenty years since we moved here from Vietnam.  No school, no trash pick- up for almost a week (just one day short).  Temperature dropped down to single digits on Fahrenheit scale ( freezing water is 32 oF). My water pipe got frozen  and burst a few days later during the night.  A neighbor came over shut the water off for me.  My boyfriend came rescue the day after but could not get it fixed right away because all home improvement stores in town ran out of plumbing parts. Therefore, the cold water was bypassed my master bedroom for few more day.  However, I am thankful for being call-off on the first day of snowing so I did not have to drive to work in for 4 days.

    The second fruitcake never got into oven.  Here come its bypassed product- the best tasting fruitcake cookies in time for a wonderful time of the year.   I was having a speedy recover.  Snow was gone.  Water pipe got fixed.  My son and daughter is home for the holiday.

   Life is not always beautiful.  I tell my kids, we have to think and plan for what can be predicted and be prepared to adapt or accept what life throws at us.   Hopefully these delicious cookies can help certain well-marinated bodies show off their youthful, unique, unseasoned side.  Use orange, apple, cherry juice for non-alcohol version and any dried or candied fruit you like.  Buy dried, candied fruit and fresh spice at Winco whole food section will cut the cost down pretty much.

Make 50-60 cookies

  • 4 oz  candied cherry
  • 4 oz candied or dried pineapple
  • 4 oz crystallized/candied ginger
  • 4 oz  fruitcake mix
  • 1 cup golden raisin
  • 1/3 cup black raisin
  • 1/3 cup dried cherry
  • 1/3 cup dried currant
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, soft at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground all spice or clove or 1/4 tsp cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder, double acting
  • 1/4 cup rum, brandy, fruit juice 
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier, or brandy or fruit juice
  • 2 cups shelled pecan, toasted and coarsely chopped
  1. Cut candied fruits into small pieces (1/4-1/3 inch cubes).  Sprinkle Grand marnier on candied and dried fruit, toss them well, cover.  Let is macerate in the fridge or room temperature at least overnight or a few days. Stir occasionally.
  2. Spread pecan in a single layer in a rimmed baking tray and put  in 325 oF preheated oven for 7 minutes. The nut will release nutty flavor, soft and light brown but not dark. Let it cooled down in the tray. When it is cool enough to handle, put it on a cutting board, use a knife with rocking motion run over nuts a few times about 1/4-1/3 inch pieces.  If nut seems too brown, transfer them to another cool sheet to cool down.
  3. Add spices, salt, and baking powder to flour and stir to blend them together.
  4. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with med or medium high speed until soft, 3 minutes (5-7 minutes if use hand mixer).  Add eggs, beat until cooperated, add rum.  The mixture will be curled. Turn the speed down to low, add flour mixture until just combine. Stir in fruits, soaking liquid and chopped pecan.
  5.  Fruitcake drops cookie can be baked at this time in 300 oF preheat oven.  Use a cookie spoon, or any spoon scoop out heap tablespoons (1 or 2)and space them on baking sheet (lined with parchment or silpat, or oiled) 1 inch apart, press the center cookies down about 1/2 inch to help even baking.  Baking cookies 15-20 minutes depending on the size of cookie, larger one take longer time. The edge should be light browned, the top looked set (dull) but soft, spongy and  fruit is shiny looking.  Insert a toothpick in thick center it should come out clean.  These are soft and chewy cookies. Cookies will get firmer and darker when cooling down.  Let the cookies cool and loosen it from parchment paper, silpak, or baking sheet with a spatula.  Let them cool completely on wire racks.
  6. The dough can be divided in 4 and wrap in parchment , wax paper or plastic wrap into 2-2.5 inches diameter logs.   Refrigerate until firm for 4-6 hours or overnight.  Cut into 1/2 inch slices and bake as above but need  5-10 minutes longer due to cold dough.

Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container, separated by wax or parchment paper to prevent sticking.

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