Old School Baking

I had a culinary discovery the other day in the super market in Connecticut: Hermit cookies.  I found them in the bakery section of the store.  I’ve never seen such a cookie.  They are baked in a loaf and sliced like fat biscotti, but they are a lot softer.  Their texture is somewhere between a cookie and a muffin, and they are traditionally spicy, they taste a lot like gingerbread because they have all of that flavoring.  Long story short: Yum.

I tried to research them online since I’ve never heard of them before and I found a lot of conflicting information.  All I can figure out is that they are older, more traditional cookies from the religious groups who settled in New England.  Here I am thinking that the New England baking expertise revolved around donuts of the Dunkin variety, and I had totally overlooked these gems.  As I said, they are spicy, and reminiscent of Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert flavors.   A good cookie, a good snack, a good find.  Give them a try!

Hermit Cookie

From The Food Network

Yields 4-5 dozen cookies depending on size you slice them (about 6 loaves that you will end up slicing, it’s a big recipe)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup)
  • 2 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 for eggwash
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup golden raisons
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 1/2 Tbs chopped crystalized ginger

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Sift together flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Set Aside
  3. Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, then molasses.  Gradually add dry mixture but to not over mix.
  4. Fold in dried fruit and nuts.

    They look appetizing, right?
  5. Line cookie sheets with parchment.  Form dough into about 6 thin logs with plenty of space to spread while baking (believe me, they will spread).  Logs should be 1-2 inches wide and about 1 inch high.  Paint logs with egg wash before placing in oven.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 (make sure they are done, mine took a little longer but I’m blaming my oven).
  7. Allow to cool then slice into thick slices (like fat biscotti). 
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Avengers Cake

Here’s my work of art that I created today. I have been doing Wells’ birthday cakes for a few years now and it’s always a new challenge. He is a fan of action figures being included on his cake so he gets an extra bonus gift. Think about doing this for your child’s next birthday party!

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Workout Songs: Part 1

My most essential piece of workout gear is my shuffle ipod, because I need good music to stay motivated.  If I get to the gym and I forgot my shuffle or my headphones, forget about it, I’m going home to get them.  I listen to a wide range of music while I’m working out, and I’m always looking for new stuff to keep my mix fresh.  In my mind there are a few different categories of workout music:

  • Old School fun songs
  • Top 40 upbeat/catchy tunes
  • Girl Power
  • Hardcore/Motivation songs
  • Cool Down/ relaxing music

I need different genres for different parts of my workout.  Fun, upbeat songs to get me moving at the beginning, girl power stuff to keep my confidence up, motivational songs to get me through the tough parts, and slower songs to help me focus on my breathing or take me through cool down.

Over the next couple months I’ll go through each of the genres above and give some of my favorites.  Let’s start at the top with old school fun songs!

Old School Fun Songs

  1. Hey Mickey by Toni Basil
  2. Jellyhead by Crush
  3. King of Wishful Thinking by Go West
  4. Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield
  5. Wanna Be Startin’ Something by Michael Jackson (the link is the Glee performance but MJ’s is obviously better)
  6. It’s Gonna Be Me by ‘NSYNC
  7. Bust a Move (Glee version) by Glee Cast
  8. It Takes Two by Rob Base
  9. Faded by SoulDecision
  10. ABC by The Jackson 5
  11. Gloria by Laura Branigan
  12. Mo Money Mo Problems by Biggie Smalls
  13. I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston
  14. Big Shot by Billy Joel
  15. Photograph by Def Leopard
  16. You’re the One that I Want from Grease
  17. Heartbreaker by Mariah and Jay Z
  18. Anyway You Want It/Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ by Glee Cast
  19. Boom Boom Boom Boom by the Venga Boys
  20. PYT by Michael Jackson

What did I miss?

PS- My friend at work is expecting a visit from the stork, so guess what I’m making…