Thursday, September 10, 2015

More MEEEEEEMES! - The Happy Hermit Cookies

Memes.You gotta love them. Some really funny ones have popped up on Facebook, poking fun at Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, the newest martyr to the cause of sexual preference discrimination.

In Osceola County, home of the best bass-fishing lake in the state, this might cause a riot

Just think of the possibilities

Fabulous!!! (You do know that Gillian Anderson is gay?)

And of course, my personal favorite

The mystery of the Leggy Azaleas from yesterday's post was solved by my good friend and former coworker Linda Saez, faster than you can say "mirabilis jalapa", which happens to be its official taxonomic  name. These are Four o' clock flowers, also known as the Marvel of Peru. 

They are easily grown from seed, and I can see working them into some of my flower beds.  They come in a multitude of colors, although I have to say I am partial to magenta. Thanks, Linda!

I suppose there are a number of tasks I could turn my hand to today - that upstairs hallway isn't going to get done by itself, you know - but having had a couple of decent days and not wanting to push my luck, and taking into consideration that I am going to be sitting in the car for long periods of time later today, I am going to take it easy on myself and limit activity to blogging and baking. And cleaning up after my tiny terrors. I mean terriers.  They are paper-trained, except for Chelsea who pees to the beat of her own drummer, and there are always strategically-placed pads available for their use, but sometimes they miss. Other times they get forgetful, or spiteful or even a tad snarky. Every morning is a new adventure.

I decided to bake Hermit Cookies, a favorite of mine.  It's an old-timey recipe and all cookie bakers know it and have some version they will swear is the best hermit cookie recipe anywhere.  Mine is from the 1973 edition of the Joy of Cooking, which means it really is the best hermit cookie recipe anywhere. 

This version, which I came across while teaching myself to cook by reading the Joy of Cooking cover-to-cover, caught my eye because it includes sour cream and coconut, two of my favorite ingredients. When I started baking these back in 1974, I did make one change from the original, substituting allspice for the ground cloves, one of the very few spices Robert does not care for.  Today, as a nod to the 21st century, I have upped the ante by using a better grade of cinnamon, from Vietnam (I can assure you that in 1974 we were not sourcing cinnamon from Vietnam), adding a small amount of baking powder to work with the baking soda (and you have to use baking soda with an acidic ingredient like sour cream) and using a silpat instead of greasing the baking sheet.  I've also set the batter into the fridge to chill out a bit, mainly because I use a scoop now (scoops are cool) to form the cookies, and that always works better if the batter is chilled.

Back in the day, when I first realized how much I loved to feed other people, I would bake something on the order of 50 dozen cookies which I would start in September to bring in for Christmas breakfast in the office.  The late seventies were tasty times for people who worked for Alexander & Alexander on the 34th floor at 1185 Avenue of the Americas. People who didn't really know me knew my cookies.  I still go on cookie-baking binges, albeit not frequently - my last binge was in 2005 - but the quantity and variety remain memorable.

Fold 'em, fold 'em, fold 'em, keep those raisins movin', rawhide ... 

Enjoy the cookies. And the ear worm.

Hermit Cookies from The Happy Hermit

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 extra large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cup sifted flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped nuts (any one or combination)
1/4 cup shredded coconut (I chop the shreds a bit)

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg and the sour cream.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and spice.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in thirds, beating well after each addition.   Fold in the raisins, nuts, and coconut.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. With a medium cookie scoop, portion 12 cookies on a baking sheet, either greased, sprayed, or silpatted.  These cookies spread quite a bit, so do not place them closely together, and do not try to fit more than 12 cookies at a time.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for an additional 5 minutes. with a spatula remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling.  

I think I should rename these "Lady Hermit Cookies" as they are more delicate than the hearty versions those Cape Cod sailing wives would pack up for their men heading out to sea. As delicious as ever.


  1. For all those who didn't know you at A&A (I find it hard to believe there was anyone that fit that description) they REALLY lost out, 'cause chances are not only would they have gotten MORE cookies, but a plethora of other really FANTASTIC food items. Lol the first time I made Hermit cookies I must have screwed up the baking soda/powder entry. My cookies were HUGE and even the greatest of cookie munchers could not manage more than 2 at a sitting. Cindy, I am THRILLED to hear you have had a couple good hopes and prayers are that this streak can be extended for a very long time, my friend. Hugs....thank you for the memory today.

    1. Thank you, my friend. There were good memories from those days, I'm glad we have them. I hadn't make the hermits in so many years, I wasn't sure what to expect, and they did spread out more than I thought they would, but still turned out quite nicely. Surprised myself, I did.