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Better-Than-Fruitcake Cookies

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
    3 dozen


  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1/4 cup bourbon or unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 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


  • In a small bowl, combine raisins and bourbon. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutrition 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.
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  • Lila
    Jan 5, 2020

    I made these knowing I, at least, would like them, since I love fruitcake. Everybody loves them. My gourmet cook brother liked them immensely. And they were easy to make. I slightly changed the fruit and nuts: fewer raisins, no green cherries, more walnuts and filberts, a little orange liqueur instead of bourbon. Today I'm going to use up my mixed candied fruit and make them again with more orange liqueur, no raisins (I'm out), and pomegranate juice. I'm confident they'll be delicious.

  • Pamela
    Dec 18, 2016

    Soooo Good! Just made these and just ate 4.....missed my mothers fruit cake,she is 94 and has dementia, I used fruit cake, fruit and peel mix... making these for Christmas with egg nog ice cream...very easy to time I will triple the recipe. Happy Holidays.

  • Renee
    Dec 16, 2016

    Thank you forthis recipe. Have done it for many years, lost the recipe..couldn't remember the quantity of ingredients...sooo glad I found it here. Will be making a couple of batches as of tomorrow!...Are you getting 36 cookies? I use a generous teaspoon instead of tablespoon and only got 26 cookies! Inalso reduced the raisins to 1.5 C and drain them of juice b4 adding to mixture..These are delicious., sooo glad I found it again????????

  • Wendy
    Dec 15, 2016

    My husband loves fruitcake so I thought I'd give these a try. They are delicious. No substitutions or changes, the recipe is wonderful just the way it is. Thanks so much for sharing, these will be an addition to the cookie list every year.

  • debpetersen
    Jan 17, 2016

    Excellent - we love these!

  • lcb1953
    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
    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
    Dec 24, 2014

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

  • christmastreegal
    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
    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 juicefor 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.