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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Fruitcake Cookies – A Healthy Holiday Treat

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These healthy holiday fruitcake cookies are packed with pecans and dried cherries. They have a chewy texture and are low in sugar too!

fruitcake cookies on red plate

When it comes to the holidays, fruitcake is one of those recipes that comes to mind, but usually not in a good way. If you can believe it, it’s become noted as the worst Christmas gift of all time!

Why has fruitcake gotten such a bad rep? For one thing, the fruit in fruitcake is a mystery. What are those green colored chunks?

Then there’s the texture. It’s dense which sits like a brick after you eat it.

It’s also aged. Yes, a cake that goes through the aging process is likely something you don’t want to eat.

A fruitcake is made with dried fruit and nuts. Now, those are two things I can get behind! And so, I decided to give this classic holiday recipe a makeover. Instead of a dense, aged cake with artificial colors, I’ve taken all the good parts of the recipe, the fruit and the nuts, and turned them into a light and and healthy holiday fruitcake cookie.

Kitchen Tools and Equipment You’ll Need to Make Holiday Fruitcake Cookies

How to Make Fruitcake Cookies – Step by Step

Step 1: Place butter and brown sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

holiday cookie ingredients in bowl

Step 2: Add the egg and milk, and beat to combine thoroughly.

milk poured into batter for holiday cookie

Step 3: In a small separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

add dry ingredients to wet ingredients for holiday cookie

Step 4: Add half the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, combine fully, then add the remaining half and beat until combined. Do not over mix.

fruitcake cookie batter

Step 5: Stir in the pecans and mixed fruit.

add pecans and dried cherries to batter for fruitcake cookies

Step 6: Use a small cookie scoop to portion out the cookie dough and then refrigerate for 1 hour.

fruitcake cookie batter on baking sheet

Step 7: Preheat oven to 400 F and remove cookie dough from the fridge. Space the cookies 2″ apart on a parchment or silicone mat lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

fruitcake cookies baked and out of the oven

Step 8: Allow cookies to cool for one minute on the cookie sheet before moving to a cooling rack.

fruitcake cookies on red plate

What makes these Holiday Fruitcake Cookies healthy?

  • Low-Fat: These holiday fruitcake cookies are relatively low in fat, using only ½ cup of butter. 
  • Low-Sugar: The amount of sugar in these cookies is reduced with only ½ cup for the entire recipe. Added sugars are also avoided because this recipe uses unsweetened dried cherries rather than the usual sweetened cherries. Most fruitcake cookies use candied fruit which means that they’re loaded with sugar. With this cookie you’ll get the tartness from the cherries which compliments the chewy cookie dough and the crunchy pecans.
  • All Natural Ingredients: This recipe uses all natural whole food ingredients — you won’t find any artificial colors or flavors here!
  • Fiber: Instead of using traditional white baking flour, this recipe calls for whole wheat flour or oat flour which adds fiber to these cookies. 

Will kids enjoy these Holiday Fruitcake Cookies? 

I’ve never met a kid who passes up a cookie, and these will be no exception. They’re chewy with a bit of crunch from the pecans and tartness from the cherries. Your kids will be asking for more than one, and with less than 6g sugar per cookie, this is a treat you can feel good about serving!

fruitcake cookies on red plate

How do you store Holiday Fruitcake Cookies?

Store the cookies in an airtight container. Use parchment paper between the layers of the cookies to keep them from sticking to one another. Store them at room temperature. These cookies are best eaten within 3 days. 

Can you freeze Holiday Fruitcake Cookie dough?

If you’d like to make these cookies in advance of a holiday celebration you can freeze the cookie dough. 

  • Roll the cookie dough into a long log. 
  • Wrap in saran wrap and store in an airtight container.
  • When you’re ready to bake the cookies take the dough out of the freezer. Allow to thaw at room temperature. 
  • Roll dough into balls and then refrigerate for 1 hr.
  • Bake as directed.

What do you serve with Holiday Fruitcake Cookies?

Serve these cookies with cold milk, tea, coffee or maybe even egg nog if you’re really feeling in the holiday spirit. They’re perfect for dipping in your drink of choice.

fruitcake cookies on red plate

Top Tips for Making Holiday Fruitcake Cookies

  • Use a hand mixer to beat the wet ingredients.
  • Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate bowls. 
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients which means you’ll want to put the wet ingredients in a larger bowl.
  • Using a cookie scoop helps you get perfectly uniform cookies. 
  • Be sure to refrigerate the cookie dough balls before putting them in the oven. This process solidifies the fat in the cookies. This means that when the cookies are baking it will take longer for the chilled fat to melt than room temperature fat which will help keep the cookies from spreading too much when they bake.
  • To make these cookies vegan, use coconut oil in place of the butter, a flax egg in place of the egg, and your choice of dairy free milk in place of the milk.
  • To make these cookies gluten free, use gluten free oat flour.
fruitcake cookies on red plate

Be sure to check out these other healthy cookie recipes!

If you have tried this Holiday Fruitcake Cookie recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Print Recipe
4.75 from 4 votes

Fruitcake Cookies

These healthy holiday fruitcake cookies are packed with pecans and dried cherries. They have a chewy texture and are low in sugar too!
Prep Time1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Baking, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 cookies
Calories: 160.9kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place butter and brown sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and milk, and beat to combine thoroughly.
  • In a small separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Add half the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, combine fully, then add the remaining half and beat until combined. Do not over mix.
  • Stir in the pecans and mixed fruit.
  • Use a small cookie scoop to portion out the cookie dough and the refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400F and remove cookie dough from the fridge.
  • Space the cookies 2" apart on a parchment or silicone mat lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • Allow cookies to cool for one minute on the cookie sheet before moving to a cooling rack.

Notes

Top Tips for Making Holiday Fruitcake Cookies
  • Use a hand mixer to beat the wet ingredients.
  • Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate bowls. 
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients which means you’ll want to put the wet ingredients in a larger bowl.
  • Using a cookie scoop helps you get perfectly uniform cookies. 
  • Be sure to refrigerate the cookie dough balls before putting them in the oven. This process solidifies the fat in the cookies. This means that when the cookies are baking it will take longer for the chilled fat to melt than room temperature fat which will help keep the cookies from spreading too much when they bake.
  • To make these cookies vegan, use coconut oil in place of the butter, a flax egg in place of the egg, and your choice of dairy free milk in place of the milk.
  • To make these cookies gluten free, use gluten free oat flour.
Note: Nutritional info uses 1 egg and whole wheat pastry flour.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 160.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.4g | Protein: 2.3g | Fat: 9.7g | Saturated Fat: 4.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.3g | Cholesterol: 29.2mg | Sodium: 199.7mg | Potassium: 53.8mg | Fiber: 2.2g | Sugar: 5.9g

Posted In…

Dessert ·

Indulge your sweet tooth with some of my lightened-up treats. From gluten-free brownies to fruity crumbles, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to check out holiday favorites like my healthy pumpkin pie!

12 responses to “Fruitcake Cookies – A Healthy Holiday Treat”

  1. I love a well made fruitcake – absolutely the best thing every holiday!!!! and well made means no funny colored fruit and aged with a nice brandy or cognac with lots of healthy nuts and whole grain flour. A true treat indeed.

  2. I really love the cherries in these cookies. One of the best parts is the whole wheat flour. My hubby prefers it and he would go crazy for these!5 stars

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