Spiced Fruitcake Bars

fruitcake bars
Photo: Johnny Miller
4 dozen

Fruitcake bars are very forgiving. You can bake them months ahead, and substitute almost any fruit or nut you like for one you don't. Aim for a balance of tastes and textures, and test to see if your selections work together, just pop a small handful in your mouth.


  • 2 ½ cups (15 ounces) dark raisins

  • 2 ½ cups (15 ounces) golden raisins

  • 2 cups (9 ounces) dried currants

  • 2 cups (11 ounces) dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped

  • 2 ½ cups (9 ounces) dried cranberries

  • 1 cup (5 ounces) dried apricots, cut into ¼-inch dice

  • ¾ cup honey

  • 1 cup Cognac, Armagnac, or other brandy

  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan

  • 2 ¼ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 ½ cups (5 ounces) walnuts, coarsely chopped

  • 1 ¼ cups sugar

  • 7 large eggs


  1. In a large nonreactive container (glass, ceramic, or plastic), combine dried fruits, honey, and Cognac; let macerate at room temperature 2 days or up to 2 weeks, covered with plastic wrap.

  2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Generously butter and flour two 8-inch square (or round) pans; tap out excess flour. Whisk to combine flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a bowl. Stir in walnuts.

  3. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down side of bowl as needed. Transfer to a large bowl. Using a flexible spatula, fold in flour-nut mixture and drained fruit mixture; stir to evenly distribute fruits and nuts.

  4. Divide batter between prepared pans; use an offset spatula to smooth tops. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 2 to 2 1/4 hours. Transfer pans to wire rack to cool completely. Invert cakes onto racks to unmold. Invert again, top sides up. (Cakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 months.)

  5. Using a serrated knife, cut cake into thirds. Slice each third into 1-inch-thick slices. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.


Substitute any combination of the nuts and dried fruit listed for the nuts and dried fruit included in the recipe above, up to the same weight. (Candied ginger should not make up more than 1 cup of the total volume of dried fruit.)
Diced dried fruits, such as figs, prunes, dates, sundried plums, apples, or pears.
Nuts, such as slivered almonds, chopped hazelnuts, pecans, or Brazil nuts.
Diced citron, candied fruits such as orange or lemon peel, or candied ginger.
Other liqueurs for soaking fruit, such as port, Madeira, sherry, Grand Marnier, or rum.

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