With all the hype surrounding William and Kate's wedding and the coverage of every minute detail of the ceremony, it's hard to believe it didn't dawn on me to come up with an appropriately themed cookie. So I've got to thank two people for this recipe idea: Sarah, a reader and real-life recipe user, who emailed me to see if I had plans to do a royal wedding cookie, and my English friend Gary, who clued me in that English wedding cakes are traditionally fruitcakes. Thanks, guys!
And so I started researching English fruitcake recipes to see what kind of ingredients I would need to pick up before I started experimenting. There were four elements to each of the recipes I found: booze, fruit, nuts, and spice.
For the booze, brandy was pretty popular, so I rummaged around the house and found an old unopened bottle of--yup, you guessed it--royal brandy. Serendipity!
Fruitcakes, obviously, have lots of dried fruit. Some recipes called for candied red and green cherries, but those seemed a little too fluorescent and "common" for a cookie fit for a royal wedding. Raisins were a no-brainer, but I liked the idea of also including dried figs for their flavor and texture. To balance the sweetness of the raisins and figs, I needed something a little acidic/bright, so I decided to add some craisins. I also added some citron because I found it in quite a few of my "source" recipes and because I had never used it before.
My research showed that most traditional fruitcakes included hazelnuts. I had some of those on hand but not enough to make a full batch of cookies, so I pulled out my almonds and walnuts. If one kind of nut is good, why not three, right?
For spice, I found that quite a few of the recipes were really heavy on the clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, and mace. I couldn't find mace, so that took care of that. I stuck with cinnamon, nutmeg, and just a little bit of clove. I think I got the balance right.
Fruity, chewy, spicy, and crunchy. Congratulations, William and Kate!
Makes 3 dozen cookies. (To see this recipe in process, check out Picturing Royal Wedding Cookies.)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
|2 cups hot water
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup orange juice
|1 1/4 cups finely ground oatmeal
1 cup flour
1 cup roughly chopped dry figs
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup roughly chopped dry citron
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
- Enplumpen the figs, raisins, citron, and craisins in the emplumpening liquid. Let sit for 30 minutes, until Step 6.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
In your Kitchen Aid or a large mixing bowl, cream together the creamables.
In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Whisk together until smooth.
Add the combined wet ingredients to the creamables. Mix together until well incorporated.
- Strain the enplumpened dried fruit and discard the remaining enplumpening liquid.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients, including the enplumpened dried fruit. Using a spatula, fold together until evenly distributed.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the combined creamables and wet ingredients. Mix until evenly combined.
- Scoop dough into balls--about 2 tablespoons each.
- Place the dough balls about 2 inches apart on Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
- Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes. Then place cookies on wire racks to cool.