In A Down Home Christmas, rising country music star Kris Trabeau goes home to Charming, Mississippi, hoping to convince his aunt to sell the family farm. Aunt Tansy’s neighbor Tory Odom and a little girl Tory knows from the community center come over to help make Jingle Bell Cookies from a secret family recipe. Baking leads to impromptu Christmas carol singing, making the shared time even sweeter. Our updated version of Jingle Bell Fruitcake Cookies are a Southern-flavored treat that might just become a tradition in your own family.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies (36 servings)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups brown sugar, packed
1 extra-large egg
1 tablespoon dark rum (or brandy, bourbon or apple cider)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup buttermilk
½ cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
¼ cup chopped pistachios
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted, chopped (or chopped figs)
¾ cup glacé-candied red cherries, halved
½ cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
¼ cup glacé-candied fruit mix (such as candied pineapple, citron, orange peel, red cherries)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in egg; add rum and vanilla extract and mix until fully blended.
3. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; whisk to blend.
4. Alternately, add dry ingredients and buttermilk to batter and mix until blended.
5. Fold the chopped nuts and fruit into batter by hand. Chill dough 10 minutes.
6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons or with a small ice cream scoop, about 2 inches apart, onto cookie sheets lined with baking paper.
7. Bake each cookie sheet for 8 to 9 minutes, until lightly golden.