Thursday 22 March 2012

Hermit Cookies

No recipe that includes 2 cups of raisins and 1-1/2 cups of walnuts can be called inexpensive.  Still, even on our budget, I continue to make these cookies from time to time.  I justify it by telling myself that comparable cookies purchased in a store or bakery would be more even expensive and, by making them myself, I have more control over the quality of the ingredients.

Truth be told, sweets of any sort are an extravagance.  Their treat value exceeds their nutrient value almost every time, but we need our treats.  They keep us from resenting the good for us parts of our day-to-day routines. 

Hermit cookies are an old fashioned treat:  A soft, cake-like cookie flavoured with coffee, textured with chewy raisins and crunchy walnuts.  They’re not overly sweet and they’re satisfying enough that, when you’ve had a couple of Hermits and a glass of milk, you know you’ve had a snack.

They’ve been around for a century or more but, despite the age of the recipe, Hermit cookies are not part of our family tradition.   The recipe I use was clipped from a Country Living magazine sometime in the 80’s.  I wish I could quote you the date of the issue, but there’s no indication of it on the clipping itself. I know it came from page 104, if that’s any help. ;)

I usually mix my cookie doughs by hand but Hermits are the exception.  For some reason, I’ve always made these with a mixer, at least for the first steps of the recipe.

To make Hermit Cookies, you’ll need

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold coffee
  • 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups dark raisins (I use Thompson seedless)
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts 

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Mix in the eggs and coffee.

I forgot to take a picture of the wet mixture before starting to add the dry ingredients (oops!) but I can tell you that the butter mixture breaks up into little bits, suspended in liquid.  It will look curdled.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

Mix until well combined.

Add the rest of the flour and mix it in by hand.

Mix in the raisins and walnuts.  The dough is pretty sturdy at this point so it will take some elbow grease to incorporate them.

Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheets.

Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, on the center rack of a 350˚F oven.

Transfer the cookies to a sheet of brown paper to cool.  When they’ve cooled completely, store them in an airtight container.  Hermits freeze well.
This post is linked to Gallery of Favorites hosted by Premeditated Leftovers and The 21st Century Housewife, to Linky Party Sundays hosted by Petite Hermine, to Makin' You Crave Mondays hosted by Mrs. Happy Homemaker, and to Making Mondays Marvelous hosted by C.R.A.F.T.

Gallery of Favorites


Marina said...

Great cookies. Why do they called Hermit cookies?

Aunt B said...

I'm not sure Marina. The only explanation I can find suggests that the name evolved because the cookies are irregularly shaped, like rocks. Hermits lived in caves, caves are found in rock... Works for me! ;)

April J Harris said...

I haven't had Hermit Cookies in years, but I remember how delicious they are! Thank you so much for reminding me of these wonderful classic treats, and for sharing such a great recipe for them.

Aunt B said...

You're very welcome. :) Thank you for hosting the Gallery and giving me an opportunity to share the recipe.

Alea Milham said...

These look delicious! I love that this uses coffee. I must add this to my list of recipes to make gluten-free.

Aunt B said...

Thanks Alea. I'll be interested to see how the adaptation works out.

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