23 Jan2013


It doesn’t seem like the holidays unless there is at least one good fruitcake in the house (and I am referring to the baked good). I have never baked a fruitcake, it’s Sister’s specialty, but I have grown to enjoy a thin slice of the rich treat every once in a while, with a cup of hot tea. And not necessarily at Christmas, in fact, they tend to be at their peak of flavor several months later… So while practicing my couch potato stance watching Ina Garten on the food channel a few weeks ago, I was intrigued by her extremely simple sounding fruitcake cookies…


…they seemed like precisely the right thing to cook to mop up all the extras in the fridge, post holiday cooking craze. Lots of dried figs, some dried cranberries or cherries, apricots, nuts, dates, etc. were chopped up and we made these cookies in a few minutes flat (though there is some elapsed gaps involved). The simple recipe is here. Note that the written recipe differs from her television version. We froze a couple of logs for future use, chilled a few logs for baking a few hours later. We didn’t have any sherry in the house when I made this recipe, so I used some Gran Marnier or orange liqueur instead. The cookies turned out nicely. The dough wasn’t overly sweet, the figs and fruit provided a nice chewy texture packed with flavor, and the nuts provided the crunch. One cookie was a nice small treat, but who could stop at one?


I packed up several dozen of these cookies and brought them to our Cebu offices. I thought most folks wouldn’t find them appealing… I have yet to find many people who really like fruitcakes packed with dried and candied fruit, but these cookies disappeared quickly. But then again, most food disappears quickly in our office… If you like dried fruits and nuts, and or fruitcake, but don’t have the time to make it, try these simple cookies instead.

Note: If you are wondering why I have been relatively quiet lately, it’s because we are just recovering from the most outrageous Sinulog ever. Didn’t take a single photo, but believe me, it was a really wild party all over downtown Cebu. We were prepared for waves of customers, perhaps 4-5 times our normal business, but this veritable TSUNAMI of people showed up at our restaurants, and we served 10-12x the normal turnover on Saturday and Sunday. So give me another day or two to recover, and will be back to regular programming soon. :)



  1. Cheryl says:

    wow! great to know that Zubuchon is very popular now! congrats MM! a friend of mine from Carcar went to one of your branches and told me your lechon is the best!

    Jan 23, 2013 | 3:39 pm


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  3. Clarissa says:

    This looks good! I really like fruitcake, or at least good ones that usually come out of our oven :) Though I can only manage to eat a thin slice. I have been wondering how to use my leftover candied fruits since I bought a bag too much for my Christmas baking. :) Gonna feel like Christmas in January! :)

    Jan 23, 2013 | 4:37 pm

  4. Skye says:

    I like watching Barefoot Contessa :-) and Giada too.

    Jan 23, 2013 | 5:37 pm

  5. cecile says:

    looks yummy! :)

    Jan 23, 2013 | 5:45 pm

  6. Khew says:

    I’ve converted a few people who abhor fruitcakes. I believe those who don’t like them have never tasted a really good one – moist, winey and all fruit flavours perfectly melded.

    Jan 23, 2013 | 6:15 pm

  7. lizzie says:

    “It doesn’t seem like the holidays unless there is at least one good fruitcake in the house (and I am referring to the baked good” —– oh my god this made me laugh out loud!!! :D

    Jan 23, 2013 | 6:16 pm

  8. Footloose says:

    Actually wondering how you could even do the last several posts (which were all very informative as customary). Lived through eight years of Calgary Stampedes and aside from the gin breakfasts, I was not much of a participant. Witnessed the Carnaval in Rio once and avoided it thereafter. But I guess it is important that communities hold this type of periodic mass celebrations if only to let off steam and reinforce civic spirit, not to mention, eat fat as in the original meaning of Mardi Gras.

    Jan 23, 2013 | 9:42 pm

  9. tonceq says:

    You can practice your “couch potato stance” all you want, MM! I have heard from some colleagues that this was the most intense Sinulog yet.

    Jan 23, 2013 | 10:13 pm

  10. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    I like Barefoot Contessa too. Ina Garten always seems to have a Zen approach to cooking. I’ve always been curious about Stampede when I used to visit U of C.

    Jan 24, 2013 | 3:57 am

  11. PITS, MANILA says:

    something like … “the answer to all problems is more rum …” ina garten

    Jan 24, 2013 | 9:00 am

  12. Lei says:

    food network altered it after their own kitchen test. i will try this recipe soon.

    MM, if i cannot get figs, do i substitute the missing amount of figs with the other dried fruits or just totally just omit it. i am concerned on the ratio if taking it out will produce a difference in the dough mixture. thanks!

    Jan 24, 2013 | 9:04 am

  13. Marketman says:

    Lei, the figs are key in my opinion, or perhaps because i just love figs. What I would do is have an equal measure in weight of the dried fruit, in whatever mixture you like. You could used dried mangoes for example… but rehydrate and flavor fruit for the full overnight period instead of taking a tempting shortcut not to soak for that period…

    tonceq, this sinulog was the most intense in recent memory, according to most locals. It was like a boracasy street party on crack. Mostly young tourists out for a good time. It felt almost explosive at one point on Sunday. :)

    Jan 24, 2013 | 9:41 am

  14. Footloose says:

    That other kind of fruitcake seems to be a Filipino prescription for livening up all kinds of celebrations back there if this frequently visiting American writer is to be believed. His article here:

    Jan 24, 2013 | 9:43 am

  15. Betchay says:

    Fruitcake is something we learned to love when we were small as both our parents enjoyed eating it. The best and one of the most awaited during our Xmas holiday buffets was the cutting and portioning of our Collins Street Bakery Corsicana Fruitcake send annually by an Aunt from the USA.

    As my hubby was just starting his practice, I remember baking several Fruitcakes during the holidays for his Xmas giveaways.And I was always generous with the candied fruits and nuts because that is what makes a fruitcake great!

    I think I have to try this fruitcake cookies soon. The barefoot contessa is a favorite as she has a calming, soothing effect in the kitchen. Thanks MM and I hope you get your deserved R&R after all the chaos of the Sinulog.

    Jan 24, 2013 | 9:53 am

  16. redberry says:

    Thanks for sharing…..I will try this recipe this coming weekend as I still have dried fruits and nuts from last Christmas :-)

    Jan 24, 2013 | 9:53 am

  17. Marketman says:

    Footloose, that link is precious… amazing how pleasurable it is to read someone else write things that you have thought to put into words, but just didn’t have the skill to do…

    Jan 24, 2013 | 10:30 am

  18. Dodi says:

    An intense Sinulog would be great for business but I hope it will NOT turn into a hedonistic affair like some festivals.

    Jan 24, 2013 | 11:29 am

  19. Marketman says:

    Dodi, I agree… for the longest time, the Sinulog has maintained a sense of control and revelry with joy… but this year, I felt we were on the cusp of being out of control… I hope next year doesn’t get any worse…

    Jan 24, 2013 | 11:45 am

  20. Joy says:

    MM, when are you putting up Zubochon in Manila?

    Jan 24, 2013 | 4:37 pm

  21. james1 says:

    Congratulations MM on the more than expected turn-out at Zubuchon during the Sinulog. This is one proof of the increasing popularity of Zubuchon and that you are on your way to becoming a successful restaurateur! And what we who are Metro Manila denizens and can only be in Cebu on occasion and have that only chance to taste your unique restaurant offerings hope that you set up a branch or two here in Metro Manila soon!

    Jan 24, 2013 | 7:28 pm

  22. ConnieC says:

    Footloose: Took a bite and came back for more. Like MM, another one of those “wishing me like to one more rich” in prose moments. Thanks for the link.

    Jan 24, 2013 | 8:48 pm

  23. Footloose says:

    @Dodi, I thought it is hedonism itself that triggers the spending of money for business.

    Jan 25, 2013 | 2:40 am

  24. Tracy says:

    I’m surprised at how big Sinulog has become. Maybe something like Mardi Gras in New Orleans? Like it’s not just another big fiesta, but *Sinulog*. (Or maybe it has been that big all along and I was too young to notice.)

    Strangely, I don’t think I’ve ever met a fruitcake I didn’t like (after I turned 13 year old). Maybe I got lucky and the fruitcake gifts we received have all been good or I don’t have a well developed palate.

    Jan 27, 2013 | 4:19 pm


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