Better-Than-Fruitcake Cookies Recipe
Better-Than-Fruitcake Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Better-Than-Fruitcake Cookies Recipe

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Mostly fruit and nuts, these sweet and chewy clusters make excellent gifts, freeze well, can be shipped easily, and most importantly, live up to their name. —Lillian Charves, New Bern, North Carolina
TOTAL TIME: Prep:15 min. + standing Bake: 15 min./batch
MAKES:36 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep:15 min. + standing Bake: 15 min./batch
MAKES: 36 servings


  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1/4 cup bourbon or unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 3/4 cup red candied cherries, halved
  • 3/4 cup green candied cherries, halved

Nutritional Facts

1 cookie: 93 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 8mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fat.


  1. In a small bowl, combine raisins and bourbon. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until blended. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in the pecans, cherries and raisin mixture.
  3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 12-15 minutes or until firm. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 dozen.
Originally published as Better-Than-Fruitcake Cookies in Healthy Cooking December/January 2013, p70

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debpetersen User ID: 452182 241902
Reviewed Jan. 17, 2016

"Excellent - we love these!"

lcb1953 User ID: 8658948 239210
Reviewed Dec. 12, 2015

"This is the recipe my Mom always used. I grind my fruit in a meat grinder because my family doesn't like big pieces. They are delicious Use raisins, cherries, chopped dates, and pineapple."

kayitten User ID: 1493828 218139
Reviewed Jan. 18, 2015

"Delicious. They tasted just like fruitcake. I also used the fruitcake mix from the store. It included citron which added the taste I associate with fruitcake. I will definitely make these again."

eekcatz User ID: 8149865 215769
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2014

"Great!! Used candied cherry and pineapple mix and Apple juice,"

christmastreegal User ID: 2258158 215365
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2014

"Excellent! I didn't have raisins so I substituted Craisins instead. I also used the Fruit Cake mix that our grocery store had and they turned out wonderful! So much so, I went back to the grocery store to purchase more Fruit Cake Mix."

VTaster User ID: 3063137 215313
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2014

"Very good recipe! I also used dried fruits instead of candied ones. The dried pineapple, cherries and dried apricots. Maybe will add some citrus next time. I Used only apple juice

for the mix. Baking time is the key. 12 minutes is enough or they dry out too much! I placed mine in the cupcake liners both mini and regular--works great."

msbigbaker User ID: 3940801 215307
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2014

"I used to make these many years ago. I substituted 1 1/2 cups of candied fruit peels for the candied red and green cherries and added this to the 2 c raisins and let these soak overnight in 1/2 cup of Brandy instead of bourbon, turning the container over once or twice to be sure the brandy flavored the entire contents of the container. I also used chopped pecans (walnuts are also good....have used them in the past). These are my Hubby's favorite Christmas cookie and I found out today, one of our friends flipped over them when he tasted them. Delicious!"

kee003 User ID: 8168853 215292
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2014

"These are absolutely wonderful!!! Just took the first batch out of the oven & had to sample. My husband who is not a sweet lover thought these were divine!! I ran out of candied cherries and used some candied pineapple instead. Already adding the ingredients to my grocery list to make another batch!! The bourbon adds a hint of flavor that is not at all overwhelming! I did chill the batter for a few minutes before placing on the cookie sheet and it worked well."

ccdse User ID: 4095810 215265
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2014

"These cookies are wonderful!! My husband says they are better than fruit cake. Very moist. I did learn though not to over bake them, 12 minutes was all mine needed, I also made them into large cookies. I also used a mixture called fruit cake candied fruit, that is all our store."

grannyq User ID: 966588 215263
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2014

"I have a recipe almost exactly like this but called "Lizzies" that I have been making for many years. Since my family doesn't like fruitcake, these are a great substitute. These my family like. They are delicious and keep very well. I use only red cherries but it wouldn't make any difference except more colorful with green and red."

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