Old Fashioned New England Hermits
Hermits were first introduced in a Portland, Maine cookbook back in 1877, and while my recipe has a couple different ingredients, the original recipe is little different. It contained flour, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, sugar and raisins. Many food historians will tell you they were originally white cookies and were first made outside New England in the early 1880s, but this is not true. They also profer that Hermits were moist, which is also not true. These cookies are purposely prepared a little dryer than most cookies, and somewhat denser. As for the name Hermit?! My grandfather, the first Yankee Chef(1902-1967) wrote that the name originated because it was so cheap to make, and would last for a long time if you were traveling on foot, that the old Hermits(a reclusive, often-times poor, person) of New England made them in an open fire and carried them in their pockets when travelling.
For 1 Batch(es)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 cup(s) flour
- 2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
- 2 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon(s) nutmeg or allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cloves
- 1/2 stick(1/4 cup) butter or margarine, softened
- 1/2 cup(s) sugar
- 1/2 cup(s) molasses
- 1/4 cup(s) applesauce
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup(s) dried cranberries, raisins or dried blueberries *
- 1/2 cup(s) powdered sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon water for glaze
Old Fashioned New England Hermits Directions
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, mix next 5 ingredients together well. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy, on high. Reduce speed to low and beat in molasses, applesauce and egg until well incorporated. Stir the wet with the dry well and then fold in the cranberries. The dough will be stiff and resemble cookie dough.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. Roll out as square as possible and about an inch thick. Cut into squares or rectangles with a large knife or a pizza cutter. Carefully transfer to prepared pan, leaving an inch between each bar. Brush off excess flour and bake 17-19 minutes, or until just crisp all around but still slightly soft in the center. Remove to cool slightly before transferring to a rack or platter to completely cool. Drizzle glaze over each.
- Makes about 20 cookies
- * By mixing 1/4 cup chopped, candied ginger to this recipe, you have just boosted the flavor ten fold.