In this fast paced contemporary world of glass and steel, of iPhones and laptop computers, it is sometimes nice to reflect back on simpler times. If you were able to visit my home during this holiday period and step into the parlor (which would be referred to today as a living room), perhaps you could imagine a simple Christmas celebration. Years ago, a visitor to our home would have been brought into this Georgian style room, offered something to drink and usually given a piece of cake or some cookies that had all the tastes and smells of Christmas.
Since I can only share the room with you through photos, I thought that I would give you a recipe for a cookie that my husband says “tastes like Christmas”. It is a very simple fruit and nut cookie that can be served simply as I have done here or dressed up with a glaze. Either way, these small cookies are delicious with a cup of tea or a glass of milk.
Brandied Fruit and Nut Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 1/3 c. brandy (I used Calvados apple brandy)
- 1/2 c. golden raisins
- 1/2 c. orange flavored Craisins or dried cranberries
- 1 c. dried apricots, chopped in small pieces
- 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 2 c. flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 c. chopped pecans
Mix the fruit and brandy in a bowl and let marinate for 10 minutes. Cream together the brown sugar, butter, eggs and spices. Drain the brandy from the fruit into the sugar mixture and stir. Mix in the flour and baking powder. Stir in the reserved fruit and nuts.
Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes or until the cookies are light brown. Place cookies on cooling rack. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
If you wish to glaze the cookies mix 2 c. of powdered sugar, 2 to 3 Tbsp. brandy and 1 tsp. vanilla together and dip the tops of the cookies into glaze and let dry.
During the winter, my home’s historic parlor is a lovely place to spend some time with a book as sun shines through the windows for most of the day…that is unless it is snowing. This is winter in New England. No matter the weather, sitting in the parlor with a cookie that tastes like Christmas always reminds me of simpler times.