MUST BAKE Hermit Cookies!

Hermit Cookies

These hermit cookies are such an unassumingly delicious treat. Chock full of fruit and nuts they're a classic New England cookie. If you love wholesome cookies full of nuts, raisins and dates then these are for you! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!

Hermit cookies date back to the 19th century New England. There's a lot of theories about why they're called Hermit Cookies. Some love the idea of a cookie named for hermits while others say that these cookies were named after hermit bags. Taste-wise the spices give the hermit cookie a gingerbread sort of feel in the same way that molasses cookies have. They have lots of chunks of dried fruit and nuts (walnuts or pecans are popularly used but they always seem to have raisins and or dates). Hermit Cookies can be found either in a round or square shape and they are ideal for lunchboxes or if you want to post a gift to someone as they retain their glorious chewy denseness. Although they aren't the "prettiest" cookies I promise that they taste so delicious-pinky swear!

Most hermit cookie recipes are about the same. It's funny when you come across a recipe like that that hasn't changed much because they're perfect the way they are. All I did to mine was brown the butter for additional nuttiness (a step I wholeheartedly recommend and easy since you'll be melting the butter anyway). Another change I made was to toast the pecans before adding them to the cookies. This and the browned butter elevates the flavour of these Hermit Cookies to another level.

Hermit Cookies

6 Reasons Why You Should Try These Hermit Cookies

1 - They're SO easy to make and you don't need any big equipment, just a bowl and a spatula/whisk will do (because sometimes you just need an easy recipe).

2 - They are so fast to make! 15 minutes prep is all you need and the cookie dough doesn't need time to rest.

3- They're full of fruit and nuts. If you love granola then you'll love these! They're a great trail mix cookie and many people take them along for hikes.

4 - They last for ages! That is, if you don't gobble them all up first! ;)

5 - They are absolutely DELICIOUS!!

6 - There is actually a National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day on November 15th in a few weeks time so now is a good time as any to get started on making your hermit cookies!

Hermit Cookies

I first came across these hermit cookies the way that I come across a lot of food-by watching a tv show. I am a bit obsessed with a television show called Virgin River. It's a show set in a fictional town called Virgin River which is said to be in Northern California (but it's actually shot in British Columbia, Canada). I find it so very soothing to watch especially when they show footage of the town. One day I'll get to Squamish and visit Jack's Bar which is actually called The Watershed Grill. The show itself it's a bit soapish and has a crazy timeline but the characters feel a bit like family. Some drive you crazy while you really love others. I wonder are any of you Virgin River fans? And if you're looking for a new show, there are 4 juicy big seasons to devour ;)

On Virgin River a character Hope was busy making a batch of Hermit Cookies. The name piqued my interest and off I went googling about hermit cookies. I became so interested in them that I soon forgot about the show and had to rewind it a full 10 minutes while I went into a hermit cookie rabbit hole. While I find the character of Hope exasperating I have to thank her for getting me interested in Hermit Cookies that are now one of my favourite ever cookies!

So tell me Dear Reader, do you ever come across food from tv shows? Are you a Virgin River fan? Who is your favourite character?

Hermit Cookies

Hermit Cookies

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 12-15

  • 75g/2.6ozs. butter (note: you won't use all of this)
  • 100g/3.5ozs brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 130g/4.6ozs. plain all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 60g/2ozs. raisins
  • 60g/2ozs. dates, chopped
  • 60g/2ozs. pecans, toasted and chopped

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line two large baking trays with parchment. Make the browned butter - place the butter in a heavy based saucepan. Heat on medium heat and allow to brown and bubble. Remove from the heat when it starts to smell nutty and the bubbles become a golden colour.

Hermit Cookies

Step 2 - Place the brown sugar in a bowl and measure 55g/2ozs of the browned butter into the bowl and mix together with a spatula. Whisk in the egg and vanilla.

Hermit Cookies

Step 3 - In a jug whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves together and then add to the butter mixture and mix to combine. Stir in the raisins, dates and pecans. Shape into small balls, around 40g/1.4ozs each (large walnut size) and then bake for 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and eat one warm with a cup of tea or coffee. Heaven.

Hermit Cookies

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