We've turned the iconic holiday dessert into a batch of bite-size cookies. They're studded with glace cherries, dried papaya, and candied citron and finished with chocolate fondant and edible gold leaf.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet and line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides. Butter parchment. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, cardamom, and baking powder.

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  • Pulse almond paste in a food processor until crumbly; add sugar and pulse just to combine. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 2 tablespoons kirsch. Add flour mixture, beating on low speed, until fully combined. Beat in fruit.

  • Scrape batter into prepared sheet, smoothing top with an off-set spatula. Bake until pale golden, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons kirsch. Transfer sheet to a wire rack and let cool 45 minutes. Use parchment overhang to lift out of pan; let cool completely on rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. Using a sharp knife, trim edges and cut into 1 1/4-inch squares.

  • Working in batches and keeping the rest in the refrigerator, place one cookie on a fork. Spoon fondant over top, allowing it to coat entire cake and excess to drip back into bowl. Place on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to set. If at any time fondant gets too thick, add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and warm in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water. Let cookies stand until set, about 30 minutes. If desired, decorate with a few flecks of edible gold leaf. Cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Cook's Notes

Use high-quality candied fruit in these cookies -- we like the candied citron from Buon'Italia, and the glace cherries from King Arthur Flour. You should be able to find almond paste (don't use marzipan!) and dried papaya at most grocery stores.

Variations

We decorated our cookies with gold leaf, but candied-cherry quarters or halves are lovely as well -- add them just before the fondant is set, so they stick.

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