Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I haven't posted a recipe in a while and with all the crap circling I thought something in the comfort food category would be appropriate. This recipe for Hermits is from Cooks Illustrated and is the best one I have found. Hermits are an old New England recipe and are a luscious cookie/cake that Madam Monk is addicted to. Newman's sells a version which are nice but homemade is always better. You get an added bonus with these in that the smell in the kitchen while they are baking is pretty close to heaven. This is a real simple recipe that everyone can enjoy. I made a batch last Sunday and trust me that they gain something after a few days of rest. The theory is that they are called Hermits because they are better after a few days of hiding. BTW I don't dust mine as Madam likes them without. It really doesn't add much and it does make them messy.

Makes about 16 cookies
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (about 10 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
2 large eggs , 1 whole and 1 separated, white lightly beaten
1/2 cup molasses (light or dark), about 6 ounces
1 1/2 cups raisins
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar (optional)

1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

2. Whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together in another medium bowl until just combined. Add the whole egg, egg yolk, and molasses and whisk thoroughly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture until combined. Stir in the raisins. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Using a rubber spatula, form the dough into two logs on the prepared pan, the logs should be about two inches in diameter when you finish. Brush the logs with the beaten egg white.

5. Bake until the tops of the logs have browned and spring back when touched, 20 to 25 minutes. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes. Using two spatulas, transfer the log to a cutting board, and slice them into 1 inch cookies. When the cookies have completely cooled, dust with confectioners' sugar if you want. Store them in an airtight container and they will keep for a week or so. They are actually better after a couple of days of 'rest'.

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