Fruitcake brownies? Yup. Think dried fruits–such as figs, cranberries, golden raisins–mixed with chocolate and rum or brandy baked into a brownie pan. Ridiculously inventive.
Chances are these very grown-up fruitcake brownies are for you. No fluorescent candied fruits to fear here. The bars have just the right amount of sophisticated dried fruit—figs, cherries, cranberries—to entice you. And there’s ample chocolate to soothe you into brownie bliss. As one of our recipe testers noted, “A solution to the perennial ‘fruitcake issue’ has been found. Just turn it into brownies!”–Jenny Howard
- 2 cups coarsely chopped dried fruit such as figs, cherries, apricots, cranberries, golden raisins, or prunes
- 1 cup dark rum or brandy
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for the pan
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for the pan
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped into small and even-size chunks
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- At least 24 hours before you plan to bake the brownies, combine the dried fruit and rum in a large bowl. Make sure there is at least 2 inches (5 cm) room in the bowl above the fruit mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a cool, dry place.
- When you’re about ready to bake the brownies, drain the fruit in a colander for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Butter a 9-by-9-inch (23-by-23-cm) baking pan. Dust with flour and tap out any excess.
- In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan set over low heat, warm the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently, until almost completely melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until light in texture and color, about 30 seconds. Beat in the vanilla and then the cooled chocolate mixture.
- Add the flour and salt and beat just until no trace of flour remains. Stir in the dried fruit by hand.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few crumbs, not batter, clinging to it. Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack for at least 1 hour. Cut just before serving. (The brownies keep best if uncut and covered for 2 to 3 days at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.)
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
A solution to the perennial “fruitcake issue” has been found—just turn it into a brownie! These lovely fruitcake brownies are just the thing when you could use a little chocolate and boozy warmth (we all have those moments, yes?).
Apricots and Mission figs were the dried fruits of my choice and they were wonderful with the dark rum. The brownies came out moist and cakey and were not overly sweet—a very nice bittersweet chocolate flavor and no candied fruit. Some of my tasters enjoyed theirs with vanilla ice cream.
I cut my brownies into 16 pieces and thought they were just the right size.
Holy Moly, are these fruitcake brownies ever good! These are not your granny’s fruitcake, that’s for sure! I am NOT a fan of fruitcake but a number of factors came together to encourage me to try this recipe:
1. I am looking for a festive dessert recipe that is NOT fruitcake and not bûche de Noël. I like chocolate so…
2. I am in the heart of Armagnac country in southwest France so, naturally, I figured that would be a good place to use some of the strong stuff.
3. My town here has the BEST dried fruit and nut stand and I knew I would be able to get some interesting dried fruits (LOL, including “cranberries du Canada”).
These are awesome. Exactly like fruitcake in that there is not much actual “cake.” It’s much more fruit than brownie but that is perfect. The chocolate is not too sweet or overwhelming either. It actually feels like a light dessert. Ahem. I can keep telling myself that, right?
I am not sure if they will keep for a week since I just made them today. Judging by everyone’s reaction, they may not last. Who wouldn’t eat these all up right away, I ask?
Originally published November 24, 2018