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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