Why this recipe works:
Most recipes for Hermit Cookies we tested involved creaming the butter, but this produced dry, biscuitlike cookies. Melting the butter delivered a chewier, moister cookie. We took melting one step further by cooking the butter in a saucepan until light brown and fragrant, which added a nutty… read more
Most recipes for Hermit Cookies we tested involved creaming the butter, but this produced dry, biscuitlike cookies. Melting the butter delivered a chewier, moister cookie. We took melting one step further by cooking the butter in a saucepan until light brown and fragrant, which added a nutty flavor to the hermits.
Tasters settled on the simple, yet potent, combination of cinnamon, allspice, and ginger. Adding these spices to the browned butter bloomed their natural flavor, which allowed us to use less. This avoided a dusty texture from too much ground spice. We steeped the raisins in melted butter to soften them, and pureed them with crystallized ginger into a rough paste. This helped distribute raisin flavor into every bite, while the pureed ginger lent pungent sweetness and chew.
When it came to shaping them, we found that hermits baked in logs and then sliced were much chewier and moister.less
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies
Crystallized (or candied) ginger is available in the spice aisle of most supermarkets. For this recipe, we prefer using mild (or light) molasses instead of the robust or blackstrap varieties.
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped (see note)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses (see note)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Process raisins and ginger in bowl of food processor until mixture sticks together and only small pieces remain. Transfer to large bowl.
2. Heat butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nutty brown in color, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir butter mixture into raisin mixture until well combined; cool to room temperature.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Stir brown sugar, molasses, and eggs into cooled butter mixture until incorporated. Fold in flour mixture (dough will be very sticky) and refrigerate, covered, until firm, at least 1½ hours or up to 24 hours.
4. Divide dough into quarters. Transfer one piece of dough to lightly floured surface, roll into 10-inch log, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake until only shallow indentation remains on edges when touched (center will appear slightly soft), 15 to 20 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool on sheet 5 minutes, then transfer parchment to wire rack and cool completely.
5. Whisk orange juice and confectioners’ sugar in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze onto cooled logs and let sit until glaze hardens, about 15 minutes. Cut logs into 2-inch bars. Serve. (Cookies can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for 5 days.)