I kind of SUCK!! Haven’t posted in more than a week! Well no excuses. Today I’m finally feeling ahead of the eight ball. I spent a day off yesterday cleaning and organizing, spring cleaning is always so cathartic. As I walked into apartment after work tonight I saw this lying in the hallway. I walked past it at first but quickly felt that nag to turn around as I always find needed inspiration in those cute fortune cookie slips. Inspiration in a cookie? Yesss! This is why I bake.
Be on the alert for new opportunities. Well okay. But wait its gets better.
Cake. CAKE! Dan Gao. DAN GAO! There’s an important message here.
This last week in recap? Well I watched my beloved Ranger’s lose their chance at a 2011 Stanley Cup, and lost a bake-off at work, but I also got some quality time with family for the holidays, and celebrated my little brother’s birthday.
In my family April is the month for celebrating birthdays, especially on my mom’s side. My bother and cousin were born in the same year 16 days apart, April 6th and 22nd. You couldn’t have found two happier grandparents than mine, whose birthdays are also both in April. My aunt and uncle (my grandparent’s son and daughter) were also April babies along with a couple more relatives I’m probably forgetting. Around Easter we usually got a cake to have for dessert, to share with all the family members that was celebrating birthdays within days of each other. I have a very distinct memory when I was young of piping cool whip with a plastic sandwich bag on one such cake, and this could have easily been the start of where I am today.
My grandmother would have been 86 this past April 2, and I can’t help but think of all the time I got to spend with her. Being the oldest grandchild I have the most distinct memories of time spent with her in her kitchen. Whether it was eating oatmeal (slow cooked over the stove) for breakfast, or canning homemade strawberry jam every summer, I’m almost selfish about how lucky I was to have the vivid memories of learning to cook with her. This past Christmas I spent time duelving into the pages of Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, remembering all the recipes I made from this book in my grandmother’s cozy upstate kitchen. The Hermit was one of them and I always remember my grandmother when I think of this cooky. It’s perhaps a little out of season– you can see my pictures are from Christmas, but its a great cooky for an afternoon snack, or tea.
According to Betty Crocker the Hermit was the Best Cooky from 1880-1890. Its sweet and spicy and perfect with coffee or for dessert.
1 c shortening (I used 1/2 c butter, 1/2 c shortening)
2 c brown sugar (packed)
1/2 c coffee
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 c raisins
1 1/4 c broken nuts ( I used pecans, walnuts are good too)
Sift flour and combine dry ingredients. Set aside. Mix shortening, (butter), sugar, and eggs thoroughly.
Mix in coffee. Add flour/ spice mixture.
Fold in raisins, and nuts.
Wrap with plastic wrap, or in wax paper. Chill for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough 2″ apart on the sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. I usually press the dough out a bit with my finger before baking.
Betty Crocker doesn’t call for it, but my grandmother always added a sweet glaze to her Hermits. Mix 1-2 tbsp of milk to a cup of confectioners sugar, or enough to make a thick but runny mixture. Drizzle over your cookies and let dry. Hermits are mildly sweet so the glaze isn’t a sugar overload.