Or rather, first fruitcake. I've rather come under the spell of the King Arther Flour (KAF) catalog lately - bought eggnog extract and eggnog cake mixes at Christmas, sent one sister & family gluten-free pancake mix and other gf goodies, bought a "king cake kit" that I'll be using tomorrow (cake will go to work on Tuesday), some gf flour I used for my first attempt at gf baking from a recipe, not a mix... And a fruitcake mix, which I finally made today.
The fruitcakes were supposed to be Christmas gifts to neighbors. Valentine fruitcake, anyone? This particular mix calls for nearly 2 pounds of dried fruit! I brushed one with simple syrup (and a touch of that eggnog extract) for a neighbor who can't have alcohol, and used Grand Marnier on the rest. This takes a bit of time; marinate the dried fruit overnight in syrup or liquor, then after the baking (in a slow oven, so longer cooking time), you have to let it cool completely, then wrap it up and let it sit at least 24 hrs before serving. In other words, I'll be making my fruitcake deliveries tomorrow. This has been quite the process. If the results are good enough, though, I may do this again.
Getting the fruit was more involved than I expected. I didn't like the look of the dried fruit available in grocery stores, so I went to Whole Foods and bought 6 or 7 different kinds of dried fruit, nearly all of which had to be chopped into bite-size pieces, and bought a pound of glazed cherries online to get the 10 oz. the recipe calls for. (Tip: spraying your knife with Pam before you start makes things go a little more quickly.) I'll find out tomorrow whether the dried fruit combo - apricots, dates, mango, blueberries, cherries and 1 more - was a success. However, I'm optimistic - when I called the KAF baker's hotline to ask which of the fruits I'd bought would be best to use, the gentleman who answered thought they all sounded good, and was particularly intrigued that I'd found dried blueberries.