A few years ago, my husband pestered me into calling his sister for his mom's recipe for Hermits. Carol was happy to comply, but apparently she couldn't read her own writing....it was a disaster! I had wanted to surprise his mom with one of her favorite Holiday cookies, since she wasn't able to bake anymore and had misplaced her copy of the recipe.
Fast forward to last Saturday morning. Both Carol and my mother-in-law are no longer with us, and Pete and I (feeling a bit nostalgic, I suppose) were bemoaning the fact that I never got a copy of the recipe. Later that morning, something compelled me to go upstairs and into the bedroom that was my mother-in-law's. We pretty much use it as a big closet now...I rarely go in there....but there I was checking to see if I could find one of my sweaters. I didn't see my sweater, but I did notice an old wicker basket Pete's mom used to keep various odds and ends...half empty nail polishes and such. I opened the lid and, lo and behold, folded into a square, there it was. The Hermit recipe. Coincidence? Maybe. I prefer to think that she is still looking out for us.
Just a list of ingredients...but I knew what it was. It was nice to see her handwriting.
I researched these cookies (trying to find a comparable recipe) and found many variations. It's an older American cookie, found in cookbooks from the mid to late 1800's. On the East coast, Hermits are most often made into a bar. These cookies are a simple, not too sweet, drop cookie with spices, raisins, and chopped walnuts. They actually taste better a few days after they are made.
An American cookie found in cookbooks dating back to 1880, the Hermit comes in many variations. This version, a simple spicy drop cookie, tastes even better a few days after it is made.
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Place the raisins in a small bowl. Boil one cup of water and pour over the raisins. Soak for one hour. Drain completely.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.; line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the brown sugar. Add the egg and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the milk and the vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just mixed. Fold in the drained raisins and the walnuts.
- Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies just begin to brown. Cool completely. Makes 36 cookies
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.
Total time: 22 mins.
Wrap 'em up and give them as a gift...or just eat them yourself.
What is your favorite Holiday cookie?