These tiny fruitcakes will bring joy to everyone on your list. For gifts, bake the cakes in decorative paper liners from supermarkets or baking stores, wrap in parchment, and tie with ribbon or twine.
Source: Everyday Food, December 2009
Prep Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 1/2 hours, plus soaking
Yield makes 48
6 cups finely diced mixed dried fruit, such as dried apples, pears, apricots, and golden raisins
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (5 1/2 ounces)
1 3/4 cups brandy
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup apricot jam, warmed, for topping
In a large nonreactive bowl, combine dried fruit, walnuts, and 1 1/4 cups brandy. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 8 hours (or up to 1 day), stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs in 2 additions, scraping down bowl in between. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and spices. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in 2 additions, scraping down bowl in between. Fold fruit mixture into batter.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two minimuffin pans with paper liners. Fill each liner with 1 rounded tablespoon batter. Firmly tap pans on counter to settle batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean and edges are light golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.
Brush cakes with 1/2 cup brandy; transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely. Brush with apricot jam before serving or packing.
We used dried apples, pears, apricots, and golden raisins, but you can also use dried cherries, cranberries, and regular raisins, or a mixture. To bake them in larger liners, fill two-thirds full and increase the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes. The dough can be frozen for up to 2 weeks.
To make six 3-by-5-by-2-inch loaves, as seen on "The Martha Stewart Show," fill each pan 1/4 inch from top; smooth tops using an offset spatula. Bake 50 to 60 minutes.