This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe comes from Baking with Dorie. Iced, Spiced Hermits were not a cookie I had ever heard of before but these were the revelation of the last week at school, and devoured by my colleagues when I brought them in to share!
What the heck is a hermit cookie?
101 Cookbooks has a recipe for Hermits, a drop-style cookie (so, different from Dorie’s version), and an explanation of sorts for the name:
I’ve come to learn that there are all sorts of theories about how these cookies came to be named. Some say hermit cookies got their name because they taste best when they’ve been hidden away like hermits for a couple days. There’s the theory that they looked like a hermit’s brown cloth. The oldest versions of the recipe are thought to be back to Medieval European hermitages. So that’s another angle. It may be a bit of all of the above.
There are as many approaches to making hermits as there are bakers. The common ingredients seemingly spices, raisins or dates, nuts. Some like hermits iced or frosted, others skip it. They are simple to make. The chewy, nuttiness along with warm flavors like cinnamon, allspice, and cloves strike a nice balance. And, I keep thinking, this might also make the foundation for a delicious muffin batter.
Dorie’s version rolls the dough like you would for biscotti, though it isn’t sliced and double baked. Rather, it retains some chewiness so it’s kind of like a cross between a cake and a cookie and it’s SO delicious. I didn’t use raisins and don’t think they were any the worse.
These *look* dense but they are surprisingly soft. And deliciously dunkable! I described them as “gingerbread-y” to my colleagues but they are so much more than that…
The plate of these was emptied in record time (the last Monday of school in December requires sweets!) and colleagues were texting me asking for the recipe. Best thing is they come together in no time and use pantry staples so you can whip them up on a whim. The recipe makes 24 so they are prefect for gifting… or, you know, not 😉
Get the recipe for Iced, Spiced Hermits on p 197 of Baking with Dorie or here.
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