Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Fruit Cake Cookies

1 cup Vegetable Shortening
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
   to room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup granulated sugar*
¼ cup lightly packed light
   brown sugar*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
½ teaspoon fresh ground
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
¾ cup coarsely raisins
½ cup coarsely chopped pitted
½ cup coarsely chopped dried
   cherries or dried cranberries
½ cup seedless raspberry
   or strawberry preserves
Egg Wash
1/3 cup granulated sugar*
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon*
1 large egg, beaten

  • To make the cookie dough, combine shortening, cream cheese, and sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined at medium speed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt on low speed until well combined.
  • Transfer the soft dough to a well-floured work surface and divide into 4 pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • To make the filling, combine the sugars*, cinnamon*, and nutmeg*. Set aside with about 1/3 of a cup of the mixture saved for the egg wash. 
  • In a separate small bowl toss together walnuts, raisins, dates, and cherries. Set aside.
  • When you’re ready to roll the cookies, on a lightly floured work surface, working with one dough ball at a time, roll the dough into approximately a 9-inch circle. 
  • Spread a very thin layer of jam on the dough (about 2 tablespoons per cookie dough round).
  • Sprinkle the dough with the spiced sugar mixture and fruit mixture; press gently. Keep in mind that the filling mixtures need to be divided between four dough rounds.
  • With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, divide the dough round into quarters, and then divide each quarter and continue creating 8 or more wedges. Starting from the wide edge, roll the dough and filling towards the tip, pressing gently.
  • Transfer rolled cookies to a baking sheet and repeat with all of the dough rounds and filling. Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking.
  • To top the cookies before baking, toss together sugar* and cinnamon* in a small bowl (if you didn't save any from the filling). In a separate small bowl beat egg with a splash of water.
  • Brush cookies lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 
  • Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown. 
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.