This delicious fruitcake will brighten your holiday festivities and will be an appreciated gift. Even people who donít like most fruitcakes like this one. Fruitcake is best when it is allowed time to mellow and season. You can avoid the last minute rush by baking now.
Soak any hard dried fruits*** in 1/2 cup brandy or apple juice until softened slightly. In a separate bowl, toss any sticky fruits in 1/4 cup of the flour, separating the pieces. Add walnuts to the fruit and flour mixture.
In a large bowl, cream together softened butter, molasses, powdered maple syrup, date sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time beating well in between.
Add remaining flour and spices.
Drain soaked fruit and save any remaining liquid. Add soaked fruit to batter. Stir. Add fruit, nut, and flour mixture. Stir well.
Add brandy or juice to soaking mixture to make a total of 1/2 cup of liquid. Add to mixture and stir until all ingredients are well blended.
Spoon into well greased bread pans. Bake in a preheated oven at 275° for 1-1/2 to 2 hours
or until done.
Note: If small loaf pans are used, decrease cooking time accordingly. Makes 2 large loaves.
When bread has cooled, remove from pan. If desired, wrap each loaf in a clean cotton cloth and soak with brandy. Wrap in tin foil. Store in a cool area for several weeks renewing the brandy soak as needed.
* We like to use kumquats for their delicate yet tangy flavor. You can substitute finely chopped orange peel.
** If you donít have powdered maple syrup, use brown sugar or date sugar.
*** Hard dried fruit is any fruit that has had all the moisture removed. They rattle when shaken in a jar.