Fruitcake goes way back – probably almost as far as breads and cakes. Certainly the Romans were dumping stuff into their barley mash. By the Middle Ages sweet cakes were called fruitcakes for the first recorded time. They used honey, since sugar, the wonder sweetener, didn’t come available until the discovery of America. Middle Age European cooks also used whichever appropriate spices they could get and whatever fruits were available. The Roman Church even got into the act – weakening the fasting regulations in the case of the North German fruitcakes. This was Innocent VIII in 1490. Considering the cost of spices and sweets and fruits in Western Europe at that time fruitcakes were very special indeed.
There is no one way to make fruitcake – and certainly no one way to make fruitcake cookies. It will vary from place to place and cook to cook. This is just one of many ways.
This amount will make about 8 dozen. Vary to suit your need.
2 sticks butter, softened (1 cup)
300 g sugar (1-1/2 cups)
3 eggs, separated
430 g flour (3 cups)
210 g candied cherries, finely chopped (1/2 lb)
210 g candied pineapples, finely chopped (1/2 lb)
210 g golden raisins (1/2 lb)
500 g shelled pecans, finely chopped (1 quart)
3 g cinnamon (1 tsp)
1 g nutmeg (1/2 tsp)
3 g salt (1/2 tsp)
22 g dark rum (2 Tbs)
5 g baking soda dissolved in (1 tsp)
10 g hot water (1 Tbs)
The night before chop up the fruits if you didn’t buy them already chopped. The easy way is just shove it through a food processor. Pour the rum over the fruit and let it sit at least one night in a tightly covered container. More time doesn’t hurt anything.
Cream the butter and sugar together completely. Add in the egg yolks.
Mix in the flour and the spices. When it is pretty completely mixed add in the fruit, nuts, and anything else that is going in except the egg whites. It may be kind of like biscuits – pea sized and crumbly – but that is fine.
Whip the egg whites until they are very stiff and blend into the batter.
Grease up cookie sheets with Crisco and drop teaspoon sized onto the sheets. Bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.