Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spicy Hermits

I have come across Hermit Cookies off an on over the years, and I've always wanted to make them.   It's just that a highly spiced cookie is not something on my family's 'LOVE'  list.  But yesterday I thought  "to heck with them" and made them anyway.

The Handyman does not like them.  My DIL, Jess, does.   No one else in my family has tried any.  I was thinking of sending one or two, wrapped in plastic wrap, to my grandchildren in their 'pen-pal' letter this week, but I am not so sure that raisins and ginger and molasses will appeal to them either.
Having said that tho, this really is a good cookie.   Soft and chewy and highly spicy.  Like a soft gingersnap.    And yet---different.  Really different from my     Soft and spicy Gingersnaps.      And also very different from my  Soft, Chewy, Molasses Spice Cookie (with orange essence) .
It seems as if I LOVE a spice cookie, as they are coming in 2nd to what kind of cookies I make most often... Chocolate Chip being #1!
Spicy Hermits are an old, old fashioned cookie: a chewy, raisin spice cookie with a sweet glaze.  A New England specialty.  So, they are kind of a regional thing, I guess.    I've just always wanted to try them.   I like them.  And they are really easy to make---just a couple of steps and then roll them into a log  (which looks pretty gross), bake them, drizzle glaze and then cut them into bars.   I've  looked on the internet and in Canada they use dates also, which I think would be very good.   I might try that next time.

Spicy Hermits
from Cook's Illustrated
1 cup  raisins
2 tablespoons  finely chopped crystallized ginger 
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups  all-purpose flour, plus more for the board
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup mild/light molasses 
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 cup  confectioners' sugar
Process raisins and ginger in food processor until mixture sticks together and only small pieces remain, about 10 seconds. Transfer mixture to large bowl.
Cut butter into 5 pieces and heat in small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nutty brown in color, about 10 minutes. Watch it carefully because once it starts to brown it can burn easily. Stir in cinnamon and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir butter mixture into raisin mixture until well combined; let cool to room temperature. (Note: It will not form a paste but will still have some liquid around the raisin mixture. Set on a wire rack for faster cooling.)
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl to combine. Stir brown sugar, molasses, and eggs into cooled butter-raisin mixture until incorporated. Dump in flour mixture and fold in with a rubber spatula just until combined. Dough will be very sticky.
Refrigerate, covered, until firm, at least 1 1/2 hours or up to 24 hours. 
If using one oven, adjust racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Use spatula to turn dough out onto a large piece of parchment paper. Cut dough into quarters, using a bench scraper. 
Transfer one piece of dough to lightly floured board and with lightly floured hands roll into 10-inch log, about 1 1/2-inches wide.
Transfer to a prepared baking sheet.  Use ruler to neatly square off sides. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake until only shallow indentation remains on edges when touched (center will appear slightly soft), 15 - 20 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through baking. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer parchment to wire racks and let cool completely.
Whisk orange juice and confectioners' sugar in small bowl until smooth.  Drizzle glaze onto cooled logs and let sit until glaze hardens, about 15 minutes. 
Transfer parchment to a cutting board. Cut off ends and cut logs (with a serrated knife) into 1 1/2-inch bars, 7 - 8 per log.  

a couple of pictures of the "log" (it looks like sausage!) and the what they look like when they come out of the oven:

I am linking up to Weekend Cooking  (this week I am coveting the cookbook she is sharing)


bermudaonion said...

That's just the kind of cookie I like. I love a cookie with bold flavors.

Beth F said...

Oh, what Kathy said!!! My favorite is spicy soft cookies.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Bet these are awesome with a nice cup of fresh, hot coffee:)

Karen said...

I *love* hermits!! Yes, they're a New England cookie... my mom used to buy them all the time.

Michelle Meche said...

I was thinking that these seemed like an old fashioned cookie. I know both of my great-grandmothers loved treats like this. They look good to know I'm a "spicy" gal!
Thank you for stopping in and sharing this week, Debbie.

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