Fruitcake gets a bad rap and rightly so. It's often dense and overly sweet, with candied fruit in colors that glow. But not these fruitcake bars. They are incredibly delicious and completely addictive. Loaded with brandy soaked dried fruit, they were such a hit at last year's Christmas party that I'll be making them again this year, and every year for that matter. You're going to like these.
Holiday Fruitcake Bars
Makes 32 bars
Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan. Line the bottom only with a piece of parchment paper, leaving a 2" overhang on the long sides of the pan. Butter the paper.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 c. all purpose flour
- 3/4 t. ground allspice
- 3/4 t. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t. ground cloves
- 1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1 cup brandy
- 1-1/2 cups dried tart cherries
- 1-1/2 cups prunes, medium-finely chopped
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup dark raisins
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 1 cup dried apricots, medium-finely chopped
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 t. vanilla
- powdered sugar for sifting over the top
Preheat the oven to 350F. Whisk together the flour, spices, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In a saucepan, bring the brandy to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the fruit. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Add 1 cup of the flour mixture to the fruit and toss to combine. Set the fruit mixture and remaining dry ingredients aside.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate each egg. Add the vanilla. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, fold in the reserved fruit mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, using the rubber spatula to smooth the top.
Bake until cooked through and a skewer inserted into the fruitcake comes out with a few crumbs but no batter, 50 to 55 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through baking.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cut around the 2 short sides to loosen, then use the overhanging parchment to life the fruitcake out of the pan. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Turn over to to peel off the parchment, then turn again so that it's right side up.
Cut into 32 bars using a serrated knife. Using a small sieve, sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar before serving.
Recipe adapted from Dahlia Bakery
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