Ahhh…hermit cookies. These spicy cookies were a staple in my Gramma Frankie’s kitchen, well into her late 80’s. I love them most when they are fresh out of the oven, slightly warm and softly cake-like. And best served with a big glass of icy cold milk. These ones look like Frankie’s but taste a bit different. Her recipe has shortening, molasses, sour cream and raisins. I generally don’t cook with raisins or walnuts, so I subbed in dried cranberries, pecans, and a freshly ground spice blend. Hubby ate six out of the oven and suggested I courier some to Frankie. I just might do that. Frankie also makes the best gingersnap cookies, shortbread cookies and cinnamon buns. When we were little she would give us bits of dough to play with. We would make mini pies with cinnamon and sugar and bake them along side hers. Here is a picture of my beautiful grandmother, who inspired me to make these cookies. The handsome gentleman is my grandfather Peel. -bvox
* 1/2 cinnamon stick
* 2 whole cloves
* 1 teaspoon whole anise seed
* 4 green cardamom pods
* 1 whole allspice
* 1 small piece of dried ginger
For spice blend, grind cinnamon stick in a spice mill, coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle. Add remaining spices and grind into a powder.
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
* 1/2 cup honey
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
* 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/2 teaspoons spice blend
* 1 cup cranberries
* 1 cup chopped pitted dates
* 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
* 1/4 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Cream butter, brown sugar and honey until smooth. Add eggs and orange zest and beat well.
3. In a separate bowl, combine 2 ½ cups flour, baking soda and spice blend. Stir into butter mixture to combine. Toss cranberries, dates, apricots and pecans with remaining ¼ cup flour and stir into cookie dough.
4. Drop by generous tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly browned on the bottom.