February 24, 2014

Freihofer's Hermit Cookies - Reincarnate

The citronella kitchen has been resting for a while. But we return - with a bang - in a new house. With, drumroll please... an oven! We've sadly lost our sand plot, blooming basil and arugula/rocket. But, we've inherited the mother plant of our old plants (where we got our seeds from), a rosemary bush and a dog. (left to right: Vuvu -Our dog, Lula)

In this oven so far, we've done a glorious roast chicken, soon to become soup, toasted garlic bread, a sideways cake (the oven comes at a slant), and now Hermit Cookies.

A few years back while I was at the University of Washington, my mom called me up and said "Hannah I have some very sad news". I begin thinking that someone in the family has passed, one of my beloved goldfish from high school biology, my dog got hit by a car...all the dark thoughts!!! But no - Freihofer's: upstate New York's prized cookie makers, have discontinued their best product: Hermit Cookies. I recall later that same month mom sent out a box of her own version that were stupendous! So in my new oven I thought I'd try to recreate my childhood favorite.

I tried this recipe, but I've made some changes for next time. I got the molasses from South Africa as well as the nuts and the spices are from the states:

- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup molasses (fun fact: Molasses comes from the Portuguese word mela├žo, derived from mel, or 'honey')
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/3 cup warm coffee (I used Tanzania ginger coffee)
- 3 1/2 cups of flour
- pinch of salt
- healthy pinch of shaved frozen ginger
- healthy pinch of cinnamon & cloves
- 1 cup of cranberries or raisins (Raisins are more traditional)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Beat sugar and butter until soft (doesn't matter if the sugar is still chunky). then stir in the molasses and one egg. Dissolve baking soda and ginger in coffee then stir into the wet mix. In a separate bowl sift in flour and mix the salt, cinnamon & cloves. Slowly mix the dry materials into the wet, then fold in the nuts and raisins. The mixture shouldn't be too wet and 'logs' can be formed on the greased baking sheet. Otherwise if it is, I just put mine into a cake tray.
<-- already 1/2 gone - good for my border run tomorrow!

Our oven barely reaches 325 degree F - so I just turned it on and put the tray in once it reached 200 degrees F. (If your oven behaves: 350 degrees for 13 minutes.) Or for me I just turned the tray around at 7 minutes and then took it out to cool after 16 minutes. Really I don't use the timer much - just my nose!

My preferred method of consumption is with a big glass of milk!

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