Monday, December 6, 2010

Hermits- Cookies that Definitely Should Not Keep to Themselves


  Betty Crocker says that Hermits were a favorite cookie back in 1900, and after making these I've decided that it was not without reason. They're soft, spicy, chewy, and loaded with candied ginger and raisin puree. Browned butter makes them soft and cakey, just right for a hearty, satisfying snack. These Hermits are a new twist on an old favorite, and they'd be at home either clutched in a little fist and enjoyed with a cold glass of milk or served on an elegant party tray with a steaming cup of spiced apple cider.


If you haven't started your holiday baking, you should definitely put this recipe on your list. It's from the Holiday Cookies from America's Test Kitchens Holiday 2010 issue. (Yep, it's the one from my giveaway.) You didn't think I could resist buying one for myself too, did you?

Hermit Cookies- Printable recipe here
slightly adapted from Holiday Cookies from America's Test Kitchens (Holiday 2010)
Makes about 2 dozen large cookies
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra if needed for forming rolls of dough)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
2 Tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped fine
1 stick unsalted butter (8 Tablespoons)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 large eggs
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons orange juice
3/4 cup confectioners sugar

  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  • Process raisins and ginger together in food processor or blender. My raisins were very dry and wouldn't process, so I splashed in about a Tablespoon of coffee to soften them. Orange juice or water would work well too, if you have the same problem.
  • Heat butter in saucepan over medium low heat, swirling occasionally, until nutty brown in color. (about 10 minutes- Watch it carefully. Once it starts to brown, it browns quickly.) Add spices to the butter, and cook until fragrant. (about 15 seconds)
  • Add the butter mixture to the raisin mixture. Mix together and then cool completely.
  • Add brown sugar, molasses, and eggs to the raisin/butter mixture. Stir until completely incorporated. 
  • Fold in flour mixture and refrigerate, covered, until firm. (at least 1 1/2 hours- I did mine overnight.)
  • When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough into four equal parts. Roll each part into a 10 inch log on a floured surface, then place on prepared baking sheet. My dough was very sticky, so I used flour liberally to make my four rolls. (I'm sure this was because I added extra liquid to soften my raisins.) Put two logs on each cookie sheet, leaving about 3 inches between the rolls. (They will spread.)
  • Bake until edges are set but center is still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer parchment to wire rack to cool completely.
  • Repeat for second two cookie rolls. 
  • Make glaze. Whisk together orange juice and confectioners sugar. Drizzle mixture over cooled logs. Let set until glaze hardens. Cut logs into bars. The original recipe called for making them 2 inches wide, but I made mine a bit smaller.
  • Variation: Use a maple glaze in place of the orange.  Mix together 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar, 1 1/2 Tablespoons of milk or water and a bit of maple flavoring to taste.

58 comments:

  1. Got to hunt for this book...the cookies will be great with maple glaze :D

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  2. I have never made hermits! I am happy to put these on my list, I love spicy and chewy cookies, your recipe sounds excellent. Have a great week:)

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  3. These look interesting. I'm not a fan of ginger in sweets, but since it's crystallized ginger root, I may give these a try!

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  4. I love Americas Test Kitchen. My sister grabbed the cookie one and I grabbed the baking one. I am making the Blackout Cake and she has been trying all sorts of recipes...even the grapefruit bars. Thanks for sharing. This looks like a delicious snack cookie for the kids lunch! - Megan

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  5. Those look like such a delicious Christmas cookie! Yum, can't wait to try them and make my kitchen smell so good.

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  6. These cookies look good...yummie crystallized ginger in it :)

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  7. Oh i loveee ur pretty Christmas plate , cute!!
    Love the hermit story and would definitely love to share cookie love with these very fragrant cookies!

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  8. These cookies look AWESOME!! What is crystallized ginger? Like candied ginger?

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  9. I'll bet they're fantastic, and I know the house smells great-enjoy:@)

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  10. Hehe what a cute name! I've never heard of these before but they sound delicious! :)

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  11. Oh, I've always wondered about hermits...thought they'd be something I'd like. They look and sound fantastic!

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  12. I've always heard of these but the picture never looked as good as yours do. I'm definitely going to try them.

    Sounds like you may have a cookbook addiction similar to mine.

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  13. My grandmother used to make these for us. I totally forgot about them until I read this. Thanks for reminding me...might have to make these.

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  14. i love ginger sweets. I cant believe I have never heard of them- Cant wait to try them during my xmas baking!

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  15. Oooo thank you! I am on the hunt for one or two more new cookie recipes and these fit the bill perfectly! Crystallized ginger in an iced cookie sounds heavenly! Printing now...

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  16. These cookies are new to me and I absolutely love the sound of them! They're filled with all kinds of goodies, the crystallized ginger in there sounds especially delicious!

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  17. What pretty and delicious looking cookies. Cookies with history making a comeback, that is great. Thanks for sharing, definitely should be on many baking lists.

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  18. These look great! Thanks for stopping my blog so I could find yours

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  19. These cookies are new to me as well, but I love spicy cookies around the holidays. I bet they would make a great addition to my baking list :)

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  20. Sometimes you find an old vintage cookie recipe and it just doesn't pan out but those that get blessed by ATK always are wonderful. These look so good. They seem perfect for the season and yet don't have that dreaded pumpkin I OD on this time of year. Yum.

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  21. What a great vintage recipe. I never made a Hermit before. They look and sound delicious!! Hope you are having a lovely week:)

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  22. These look perfect for the season. So many great cookie recipes on your site. I want to try them all.

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  23. Now I have to make these. They look way good. Thank you, and thanks for visiting me too.

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  24. Hi there..I m so glad that the first time I landed on your blog, I learnt something new.Never heard of these cookies but they look packed with flavor ..so many spices going in.

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  25. These are sooo pretty! They sound really good and flavorful with all those spices-right up my alley-love the a spices:)

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  26. Very good looking cookies. Love the glaze.

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  27. I lost our favorite recipe for hermit cookies after having made them for years. The recipe was from a Parade at least 25 years ago. Your recipe is very similar and I'm grateful to have it. I can smell aromas from the kitchen already.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  28. Gosh, I haven't made these in ages! What a fabulous recipe, too. Copying right this minute. The old recipes are THE best!

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  29. Ohhh...how scrumptious these sound. Some of those ingredients are right up my alley. I've also never made Hermits...perfect timing for you to share this recipe ;o)

    Betty...I had a chance to try Madeleine's cranberry orange bread with gluten-free flour and some frozen raspberries too. It turned out fantastic. Tell her that she certainly had a winning recipe ;O)

    Have a great day,
    Claudia

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  30. Looks and sounds lovely!!! Your blog is great. Thanks for sharing. I am so inspired!!!

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  31. These really do sound delicious. I can almost smell the fragrance that these emit as they bake. What a great recipe for the holiday. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  32. I'm putting these on my ever-growing list! I wonder how they would be with pureed figs instead of raisins? I have a big bag of crystallized ginger from Penzeys sitting in my pantry :)

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  33. I love America's Test Kitchen. Always full of good tips and tricks. And with brown sugar, molasses and a whole stick of butter these are guaranteed to be good! Lovely photos

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  34. These look wonderful, Betty! I've never heard of hermit cookies but am now very familiar. Thanks for sharing. Also, I’m having a cookies and cookbook giveaway today that you should enter!

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  35. I just bought a jar of molasses and I may have to make these this afternoon. They look so delicious, and I'm sure the recipe is spot-on. Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a lovely afternoon, my friend!

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  36. Anyting with molasses just has to be good and the crystallized ginger sold me. so I am printing it out; they are beautiful; thank you.
    Rita

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  37. Now why exactly have I never heard of these before? That just sounds wrong. I've become a serious ginger fiend. I think I need to give these a go.

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  38. I love hermits! Spicy and chewy cookies are my favorite!

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  39. This sounds and looks wonderful! Would love to try this!

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  40. you make these sound absolutely irresistible! what a history they have, and i, for one, love their name. i've been known to isolate myself from time to time, but i don't do things like yell at kids who happen upon my lawn. :)

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  41. These are so delightful :) Your so right, if they have been around that long they must be worth a visit :)

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  42. So different from any other cookie I've seen this week. They look and sound delicious.

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  43. I love hermit cookies. Your recipe sounds wonderful with the candied ginger and the raisin puree. I will definitely make these..thanks:)

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  44. America's Test Kitchen has THE best recipes! I've made many of their recipes and have always been impressed. I love hermits, they were one of my Dad's favourite cookies. You don't see them very often and I'm not sure why. I love that yours has icing on them. They look fantastic, thanks for bringing back some great memories! :o)

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  45. I can't wait to try these! I haven't had Hermits in ages. The candied ginger and raisins are terrific! I love spicy cookies like this for the holidays.

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  46. I have heard of these, but have never made them or eaten them. I should change that soon!

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  47. This looks and sounds truly delicious. My aunt used to bake similar to that whenever there is something to celebrate.

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  48. this looks like the perfect gift! I am going to have to use this recipe for christmas gifts!

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  49. I love finding vintage recipes, sometimes we forget timeless treasures, I'm glad you decided to make these beautiful bars, they do sound delicious!
    Cheers
    Dennis

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  50. I lover hermits! There is a local bakery that sells them and they are awesome. I'm going to hav eto try making them myself!

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  51. Wow, these sound awesome! I'm a big fan of chewy cookies and I love the warm flavors here. Yum.

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  52. You've got that right! They are fabulous cookies. I've always loved them. I like the browned butter idea and the touch of orange in the frosting is perfect!

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  53. These look really nice :-)

    Like your blog, follow you (so that I can remember where you are and return!)

    ciao and happy holidays

    Alessandra

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  54. I love cookies that have a little spice... these sound great!

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  55. These hermits are beautiful vintage recipes, and yours turned out truly amazing. Yumm! Would like to try this recipe.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  56. These look great! It seems like there was something like these sold in a grocery store bakery years ago. I'd love to try these.

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  57. Thanks for posting, these are very good. Here is the changes I made them. Sifted the flour. I used 2tsp ground ginger. Melt butter add the spices let it heat a minute or two until fragrant. Add 1 1/4 cup raisins, I use golden, add 1T maple syrup, low simmer for approx 5-8 minutes to plump the raisins, Remove 1/4 cup raisins, set aside. Cool raisin mixture. Then process. The reserved raisins should be added as the last ingredient. These are wonderful cookies and well worth baking. I found it easy to over and underbake. I get consistant results by cooking for 18 minutes and weighing the dough before I flour it. The dough is sticky, when I put it into a cup to weigh it I use a non stick spray and spray the spoon and cup. I also use a ruler to measure the logs to the recommended 10 inches. I do use flour liberally before rolling the logs.

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Thanks for stopping by scrambled hen fruit! I appreciate all of your comments and look forward to reading them.

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