Fruitcake Drops

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Yield: 5 1/2 dozen cookies

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Didn't feel like making fruitcake this year, did you? Or maybe you forgot to start it on time, and it's just not the same if you don't let it rest for weeks and weeks, brushing it with brandy every few days or so? Or maybe your best friend has just now revealed, for the very first time, her obsession with fruitcake?

Whatever, if you now find yourself in the position of wishing you'd made fruitcake, here's an easy out: fruitcake cookies, moist little nuggets of fruit bound with the merest bit of spice-scented batter and baked to chewy perfection.

Fruitcake Drops

star rating (15) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 5 1/2 dozen cookies
Published: 08/13/2010


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup bourbon, rum, brandy, or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup boiled cider, apple juice concentrate, or cherry concentrate
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 9 cups chopped dried fruit
  • *Use your favorite combination of dried and/or candied fruits. We like to use 1/2 to 3/4 pound candied cherries, snipped into pieces; and for the remainder, our Favorite Fruit Blend.

Tips from our bakers

  • Want to make smaller cookies? Use a teaspoon cookie scoop to make 1" balls. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Yield: about 11 dozen 1 1/2" cookies.
  • This recipe is an easy one to cut in half, should you want fewer cookies.


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1) Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease (or better yet, line with parchment) a couple of baking sheets.

2) In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, salt, and baking powder till smooth.

3) Add the eggs, and beat till smooth and creamy.

4) Add the liquor and boiled cider/juice/concentrate and mix, scraping the sides of the bowl. The batter will appear curdled; that's OK.

5) Add the spices; the espresso powder and the flour. Mix until smooth.

6) Stir in the fruit. The batter will be heavy and sticky; this is best done in a stand mixer, or using a heavy spoon and lots of muscle power.

7) Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, or a spoon, scoop out balls of dough about the size of a ping pong ball. Space them on the baking sheets, leaving about 1" to 1 1/2" between them; they won't spread much.

8) Bake the cookies for 20 to 22 minutes. They'll appear fairly set, but may still be very slightly shiny/wet looking when you remove them from the oven. The bottoms will be lightly browned.

9) Let the cookies cool, then loosen them from the parchment or pan using a spatula.

10) Store at room temperature up to several weeks, in an airtight canister in layers, with parchment or waxed paper between the layers to keep the cookies from sticking to one another. For longer storage, freeze.

Yield: about 5 1/2 dozen cookies.


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  • star rating 12/10/2013
  • Beth from Camillus, NY
  • This is a very simple recipe. If you like fruitcake, or want to gift anyone who might like fruitcake, this is the recipe for you. Excellent recipe that I will make again.
  • star rating 12/08/2013
  • star rating 05/08/2013
  • Lori from Silver Spring, MD
  • These are wonderful. I've made these twice now and use a mixture of approximately five cups chopped dried fruit (figs, dates, cranberries, raisins, apricots, etc.), two cups chopped candied fruit, and two cups of chopped nuts, which seems to me to be the best balance of sweetness and crunchiness. I also double the spices and use dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar. The last time I made them I soaked the dried fruit for a few days in a cup of mixed spiced rum and prune juice, then used brewed espresso coffee instead of the rum and fruit juice when preparing the batter (I had run out of espresso powder). The cookies are best after aging at least a week--they keep getting better and better as time goes by.
  • star rating 12/16/2012
  • Nicole from Houston
  • Great recipe! I used apricots, candied ginger, glacé cherries, walnuts, and a few golden walnuts. I decreased the sugar by a third. I increased the cinnamon and added a half teaspoon of cloves. I did that with 2/3 of the dough. For my father, I mixed in dates and raisins for the other 1/3 dough.
  • star rating 04/30/2012
  • alanalndn from KAF Community
  • I made these yesterday cutting the recipe in half and they are almost all gone already - next time will make the full recipe. I used all the ingredients listed except the alcohol and substituted the boiled cider and apple juice. I freshly ground the nutmeg, combined dried cherries, dried cranberries infused with cherry juice and the favorite dried fruit mix offered by King Arthur. Very simple to put together and baked using a jelly roll pan by USA Pans the drops came out perfectly. Now my home smells fabulous too!
  • star rating 11/30/2011
  • feliciap from KAF Community
  • I absolutely loved these cookies and so did everyone to whom I gave a cookie tray last Christmas. They'll be on my cookie trays again this Christmas!
  • star rating 11/25/2011
  • JenBishop from KAF Community
  • My 8yr old decided to make these for a girl scout project. So we used apple juice concentrate & apple juice. All the adults loved the cookies, the girls not so much. This is definitely an adult cookie. As my daughter made them, the cookies got larger. You will need to make sure you make them the size listed otherwise they take much longer to cook. I am looking forward to making them again.
  • star rating 12/19/2010
  • estrellas from KAF Community
  • I can't praise these cookies enough! Absolutely perfect! Moist, chewy, fruity, festive. And the recipe makes LOTS of them. Get out a BIG bowl, because you need to use what seems like an inordinate amount of fruit. Next year I will plan ahead and buy enough fruit for multiple batches so I can give them to all our friends.
  • star rating 12/17/2010
  • nimblemonkey from KAF Community
  • I made these a few days ago and at first I thought, "These are okay, but I sure went to a lot of trouble for something 'just okay". Well, I had put them into a tin, fully expecting to give them away without a second thought and I just tasted another one. I have to tell you I think they're really good. Maybe I just needed to let the flavors blend in storage. I did make a couple of minor changes to the recipe. After reading the comments I decided to cut the sugar in half (I'm glad I did, the only tartness in the cookie comes from dried cranberries and my home-made boiled cider; I make my own cider every year and while this year's was sweeter than usual, when concentrating it in a reduction it brought out some of the tartness also) And, I used dried fruit I had on hand, same fruits that are in the fruit blend, but I spent a good amount of time chopping them into little bits; added walnuts to cut the sweet, too. Since I wasn't sure how they were going to turn out I made a half batch. Now I wish I'd made a whole batch. These are good cookies, but not fruitcake. I guess you really need the bitter and liquor to make true fruitcake.
  • star rating 12/12/2010
  • mbannon2 from KAF Community
  • These cookies are delicious, and were a big hit. They make a very nice gift. However, one each of the dried fruit blend and candied cherries you sell are not enough for the recipe. To fill 9 cups I had to add raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots and chopped walnuts, all ingredients I happened to have on hand. The smaller size drops took exactly 20 minutes at 325º.
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