Learn how to make Eggless Fruitcake Cookies for this Christmas
I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. Well, almost! You get the picture. From the milkman to paper delivery guy to grocer to sales man/women at retail stores were known and addressed by their first names. The close community and helpful neighbours meant the crime rates were almost nil except for one or two occasions of some petty robberies. We grew up as kids or how every kid should grow up, fearless and happy! Yes, I am lucky to have a wonderful childhood, untouched by any kind of fear, hatred, or religion/state/caste boundary… My childhood was like any childhood should be…filled with laughter, innocence and mischief!
Living in such small town was more of a fun when everyone lived together as one giant joint family celebrating different festivals as one community. We celebrated Diwali, Christmas, Eid, Onam, Sankranti as a family, without the caste or religion coming in between us. My friends of other faith would come to our home on the days of Ganesh Chaturthi lured by my Amma’s sweet modak and crispy Chakkuli (Chakli or Murukku). Come Eid, we would rush to our Muslim friend’s home to savour the most delicious Biriyanis and the creamy Semiya Kheer. Onam meant camping at our neighbour’s home who moved from God’s own country, Kerala to our small town, drooling and savouring the very elaborate Sadya. And Christmas… ah… The Christmas meant a beautifully wrapped box full of goodies ranging from cookies to puddings to moist Fruit cakes from my close friends home!
Eggless Fruitcake Cookies ~ Perfect gifts for this Christmas
Although festival cannot be described without mentioning food, there is also another thing that comes to my mind when I think of celebrations in India. It is the feeling of belongingness without any boundary of caste or religion coming in between us. Food and love were generously shared among the people of community and the friendship grew stronger with every passing year… Time has changed and the people have become busier with their own things. But the love and respect for one another and religion still exists in the small town I grew up for which I am thankful for, today and everyday! With news of crime, rage, hatred and communal violence making headlines every day, it is just a balm to my troubled heart and soul to know that there still exists many communities who love and respect each other in spite of troubled times. World needs this… Everyone needs this…
The recent news about shootout at primary school has kept me awake for most of the nights, troubled, confused and sad thinking about all those innocent victims! It was a senseless act of violence as I found it difficult to understand the rhyme or reason behind the killing of small children who are still unaware of good and evil! I cried! I cried a lot… I got up at night woken by the nightmares! I held my baby a little tight, closer to my heart and shed more tears for the parents who had lost their babies. It was a moment when one feels helpless… This has happened to me before, many times, when innocent lives were taken with brutality. I know some things are not in our hands or within our control. But there must be something that will put a stop to all this! I have this ‘hope’… Hope for a better future, for our kids and their kids, where people will value others life, respect others religion and live without boundaries! Will that day come? I hope so… I do hope so! Not because I am an escapist, but I am an optimist who hopes and prays for a better future for the next generations…
Eggless Fruitcake Cookies ~ Crunchy and crumbly
With the Christmas just around the corner, I decided to bake some cookies for Lil Dumpling and his friends to spread some festive cheer. And then there was also the fact that I wanted to re-live the days of my childhood where all we did was gorge on delicious slices of cakes after cakes and cookies after cookies. My happy childhood days… The first food that came to my mind was Fruit Cake. Yes, I am very fond of Christmas Fruit Cake studded with crunchy nuts and juicy dry fruits. The best ever Fruit Cake was made by my friend’s mom who incidentally happened to be my primary class teacher too :) The crumbly cake with just the right amount of sugar and spice was enough to make me dream about it for the whole year, until the next Christmas day! So in my eagerness to search for the best Christmas cake, I came across not just many recipes of Fruit Cakes but also the recipe for Fruitcake Cookies!
Eggless Fruitcake Cookies ~ Spread some Christmas cheer!
Now the Fruitcake Cookies in question looked very similar to the Karachi Bakery’s Fruit Biscuits (which has another long story behind it and I’ll save it for another post). After sifting through many recipes I came across Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa fame recipe and also Priya’s Eggless Fruitcake Cookie which she had adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe. For the past couple of weeks, Lil dumpling has been showing few signs of allergic reactions to eggs and I decided to bake a batch of Eggless Fruitcake Cookies by substituting eggs with ground flax seeds. I have followed Priya’s recipe with little changes and the end result was one the best tasting cookies I had made in a long, very long time! For someone like me who has this baking phobia, they turned out absolutely wonderful. The texture of these Fruitcake Cookies comes in between Biscotti and Shortbread cookies, crumbly melt in treats with a hint of spices. The dry nuts and fruits add a wonderful texture of crunch and juiciness to these cookies. The best bit of these cookies is that the dough can be stored in freezer if you are scared of polishing them off in one sitting! I found them quite irresistible and ended up eating 3 as soon as they came out of the oven! If you believe in treating your loved ones with handmade gifts, then these cookies is one the best gifts you can give on this Christmas and New Year’s time. And then, you don’t really need any reasons to bake a batch of cookies to indulge in!
So make some and spread some happiness… The world needs it!
Ingredients for the Eggless Fruitcake Cookies
Flax seed and ground flax seed ~ Egg replacement
Eggless Fruitcake Cookie Dough
Cookie dough ~ ready for freezing
Eggless Fruitcake Cookies ~ Ready for baking
Eggless Fruitcake Cookies ~ Before baking
Eggless Fruitcake Cookies ~ After baking
Eggless Fruitcake Cookies
Prep Time: 15 mins
Resting Time: 8 hours (for soaking the dry fruits and nuts) + 1-2 Hours
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: N/A
Makes: 45-50 small cookies
Recipe Source: Akshayapaatram and Food Network
Shelf Life: Can be stored up to a week at room temperature in an air tight container and up to a fortnight when refrigerated
Serving Suggestion: With a glass of chilled milk or on their own
1 1/3 cups + 2 tbsp Maida/All Purpose Flour (Read notes)
1 stick or ¼ pound or 8 tbsp Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
½ cup granulated Sugar (Original recipe calls for 1/3 cups)
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 tbsp ground Flax Seed + 2 tbsp Water
A generous pinch of Salt
Fruits and Nuts (Prepare them the night before)
1 packed cup Dry Fruits and Nuts (I have used candied orange, candied cherries, raisins, figs, cashew nuts and pistachios)
1 tbsp Red Wine/Dry Sherry/Mulled Wine/Mulled Punch/Orange Juice (Read notes)
½ tbsp Lime Juice
½ tbsp Honey
4-5 Black Pepper Corns, crushed to powder (Optional)
¼ tsp Nutmeg Powder
¼ tsp Clove Powder
Eggless Fruitcake Cookies ~ Melt in mouth treats
Preparation the night before the day of baking:
- Snip off the hard stems of figs with a help of a small knife and chop them to small pieces. Similarly chop the candied cherries, raisins, cashew nuts and pistachios to small pieces. You can use any dry fruits or nuts of your choice.
- Place all the chopped dry fruits and nuts in a bowl and add red wine/dry sherry/mulled wine/mulled punch or orange juice. I have used orange juice as I didn’t want to add any alcohol to this batch of cookies made for my little one. Next time I plan to use either red wine or dry sherry.
- Next add freshly squeezed lime juice and honey and mix them well. Cover the bowl with cling film and allow it to rest overnight at room temperature.
Proceed to make the cookie dough:
- Mix ground flax seed with 2 tbsp of water and microwave for 30 seconds. Take it out of the microwave and beat it with a help of a spoon or fork and microwave it again for 15 seconds on high. Set aside and let it cool completely.
- Sift 1 1/3 cups of flour to remove any lumps and set aside.
- Take butter, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and the spice powders listed above in a wide glass bowl and cream/beat it with a help of a whisk or hand mixer (on low speed) until all the ingredients are combined well and you get a smooth creamy consistent mixture. It took me 2-3 minutes in a hand mixture.
- Now add the flaxseed mixture and the flour in batches, 1/3rd portion at time. Mix it at a low speed if using hand mixture. I found the cookie dough very sticky and hence I had to add 2 extra tbsp of flour to the mix. Mix it with a help of a spatula. Make sure that you don’t over mix the dough as it will develop gluten and the cookies will turn quite hard once baked.
- Add the dry fruits and nuts along with the liquid in which they were soaked and gently fold it into the cookie dough.
- Next divide the dough in half and roll it in to long log/sausages of 2 inch circles on a dry surface or parchment paper. If you find the dough to be really stick and difficult to roll it, just lightly wet your fingers with water and shape them. Please note that these cookies do not spread and hence the cross section of the cookie log will give you the final shape or size of the cookies. Gently move the cookie to the cling film/parchment paper and roll the cling film around and seal the edges. Repeat the same with other half of the cookie dough and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm. If not using immediately, you can store them in a freezer.
Proceed to bake:
- Pre-heat the oven at 175 deg Centigrade or 350 deg Fahrenheit. I baked them at 165 deg C with the oven fan on.
- Line the baking tray or baking sheet with a parchment paper or aluminium foil. There is no need to grease the paper/foil as the fat in the cookie dough will not make them stick.
- Take out the cookie rolls from fridge and cut them into ½ inch thick rounds with a help of a sharp knife.
- Arrange them on a try in a row, ½ inch apart and place them in a middle rack of the oven.
- Bake these Eggless Fruitcake Cookies for 15-20 minutes, keep a close eye on them after 15 minutes and check them once after 1 minute interval after that. Take them out of the oven when the edges start to turn light golden. It took me 17 minutes in my oven. Remember that they will continue to cook for few more minutes outside the oven. Lift the foil and place it on the counter-top so that the residual heat from the baking tray/sheet doesn’t over cook them or burn them.
Eggless Fruitcake Cookies
- Ground flax seed is the egg replacer here and it can be replaced with 1 medium egg. Whisk the eggs after you cream the butter with other ingredients on low speed until incorporated. And then proceed to mix in the flour.
- Original recipe calls for 1/3 cups of sugar but I ended up adding little more than that as one I found it less sweet and two, I was making it for a bunch of kids who love their sugar :)
- I found the cookie dough very sticky when 1 1/3 cups of flour was used and hence I had to add 2 extra tbsp of flour to the mix.
- Make sure that you don’t over mix the dough as it will develop gluten and the cookies will turn quite hard once baked.
- I have used orange juice as I didn’t want to add any alcohol to this batch of cookies made for my little one. Next time I plan to use either red wine or dry sherry.
- The cookie dough can be frozen if not using immediately. Warp it tightly with a cling film and put it in a zip lock bag before freezing. When needed defrost it in a fridge over night and proceed to bake.
- Keep a close eye on the cookies after 15 minutes of baking and check them once after every 1 minute interval after that. Take them out of the oven when the edges start to turn light golden. Remember that they will continue to cook for few more minutes outside the oven. So make sure that you lift the foil and place it on the counter-top so that the residual heat from the baking tray/sheet doesn’t over cook them or burn them.
- The baking temperature will vary when oven fan is on. I baked the cookies at 165 deg C as opposed to 175 deg C with the oven fan on.
- They can be stored up to a week at room temperature in an air tight container and up to a fortnight when refrigerated.