Hearty Hermit Cookies Recipe

Plate of Hermit Cookies
Old-fashioned Hermit Drop Cookies

Hermit Cookies are hearty old-fashioned lightly spiced drop cookies with additions of dried fruits and nuts. There are various recipes for Hermits that call for different add-ins. I add dates, raisins, dried cranberries, and nuts in my recipe.

Texture of Hermits

The texture of Hermits can best be described as soft and chewy. My recipe calls for a blend of flours – all purpose, sorghum, and coconut. This blend of flours results in lovely soft, chewy Hermits! To make the cookies gluten free, replace the one cup of all-purpose flour called for in the recipe with an equal amount of gluten-free 1-to-1/cup-for-cup baking flour and, of course, ensure all other ingredients are gluten free.

Gluten-free bakers will, undoubtedly, be quite familiar with sorghum and coconut flours and many may, like me, regularly stock them in their pantry. For other bakers, however, the use of these flours may seem a bit foreign. If you live near a bulk food store where flours can be bought in any amount needed, that’s an ideal place to buy small amounts of coconut flour and sorghum flour when specifically called for in a recipe. This eliminates the need to buy an entire bag of each, especially if they aren’t flours you normally use.

The properties of sorghum flour somewhat replicate all-purpose flour and this flour has a mild flavor profile and smooth texture which makes it a great flour to combine with other flours in baked goods.

Coconut flour, in addition to contributing a lovely texture in baked goods, also has the benefit of imparting subtle flavor. Note that coconut flour, in particular, does not substitute, cup-for-cup, or tablespoon-for-tablespoon, with all-purpose flour and it does absorb a lot of liquid during baking. For that reason, when using a recipe that calls for coconut flour, I recommend following the tested recipe as is and refrain from eliminating or substituting any ingredients in the recipe (including the flour) as the coconut flour depends on a certain amount of liquid from other ingredients in order for the dough to be hydrated and for the recipe to turn out as tested and intended. For these Hermit Cookies, the wet ingredients called for in the recipe have been tested to ensure they are in the appropriate amounts to balance the amount of coconut flour specified in the recipe.

I recommend, especially when there are different flours used in a recipe and a variety of spices, that the dry ingredients be sifted or sieved into a bowl. This process ensures better disbursement and distribution of the dry ingredients in the cookie dough.

Of course, in addition to the use of flours that promote soft, chewy texture, it’s important not to overbake the cookies which would cause them to lose their soft texture.

Plate of Homemade Hermit Cookies
Hermit Cookies

Refrigerating Cookie Dough

Like many drop cookie doughs, the dough for Hermits benefits from being refrigerated for at least 1½ – 2 hours, basically long enough to firm up the butter that was earlier brought to room temperature so it could be creamed for the cookie dough.

While it is important to have ingredients at room temperature to blend them well together, room temperature cookie dough going into a hot oven is often a cause of cookies spreading and becoming thin or flat and hard instead of puffy, soft, and slightly chewy. This is especially true of cookies that have a high fat butter content.

The softened butter in room temperature cookie dough will promptly melt as soon as the cookies go in the oven, causing the cookies to quickly spread out before they have a chance to form structure and start baking. However, if the dough has been chilled for at least 1½ – 2 hours, the butter has had a chance to firm up, and cold, firm butter takes longer to melt in the oven. This delay gives the cookies a chance to rise instead of immediately spreading out. As a result, the cookies begin to bake, create structure, and are able to hold their shape before the butter breaks down and flattens and spreads them out. Don’t skip this step for these Hermits!

Homemade Drop Cookies
Old-fashioned Hermit Cookies

So, if all you want to do is prevent the cookies from spreading out and baking flat, 1½ – 2 hours of chilling time will do it. However, there are added benefits if you can leave the dough chilling longer, say 24-48 hours. Eggs take a long time to absorb into the dry ingredients. Leaving the dough to chill for a day or two gives the eggs time to hydrate the flours and for the sugar to absorb the liquid the eggs provide.

This chilling period is sometimes referred to as the “resting period” or “ripening stage” of the dough. While the chilling time is a delay in producing the cookies, in my opinion, it results in better quality cookies that are more evenly baked and cookies that have a deeper, more complex flavor with lovely texture. This is because the cookie dough has had a chance for its flavors to develop and the moisture to be fully integrated into the dry ingredients. Basically, this ripening period contributes to well-risen, puffy, and slightly chewy drop cookies with optimum flavor.

If the dough is particularly hard when it comes out of the refrigerator to the point that it can’t be scooped or spooned without chibbling it, let it rest at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes. Do not, however, bring the dough back to room temperature and soften as that will defeat the objective of having the butter firm up in the dough before the cookies enter the hot oven and start spreading out. If you are baking on a particularly warm day, or your kitchen is very warm, I’d advise placing the cookies (on the cookie sheet) back into the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so to ensure the butter in them is very firm before baking.

These hearty Hermit Cookies are lovely any time of the year and a tin of these tasty cookies also makes a lovely gift.

Tin of homemade Hermit Cookies
Tin of Hermit Cookies

 

Hearty Hermit Cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup + 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp sour cream, room temperature
1¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
3 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
Scant ¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
1/8 tsp allspice

½ cup chopped dates
1/3 cup sultana raisins
¼ cup chopped nuts (e.g., pistachios, pecans, walnuts)
¼ cup dried cranberries

Method:

Bring butter, eggs, and sour cream to room temperature.

In medium-sized bowl, sieve or sift the dry ingredients.

Chop the dates and nuts and combine with the raisins and dried cranberries in small bowl.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. With mixer set at low speed, gradually add the brown sugar then beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl, if and as necessary. Mix in eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat just to incorporate. Do not overbeat mixture.

With speed of mixer set to low, gradually add the dry ingredients and beat mixture just until ingredients are combined. Remove bowl from mixer stand and mix in the dates, raisins, cranberries, and nuts.

Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 1½ – 2 hours to firm up butter content in dough. Dough may be refrigerated for up to 48 hours before baking.

To bake, remove cookie dough from refrigerator and, if necessary for dough to be scooped up, let sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes, or until dough is just pliable enough to be scooped up by tablespoonfuls to form cookies. Do not let cookie dough completely soften at room temperature as this will soften the butter in the dough and may cause cookies to spread and bake flat.

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.

Scoop up dough by rounded tablespoonfuls and transfer to prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies 2” apart. Bake for 14-17 minutes (depending on size of cookies), or until cookies have puffed up, have the appearance of the tops starting to look dry, edges set, and the cookies are tanned. Rotate cookie sheet(s) at the halfway point during baking. To maintain a soft and chewy texture, do not overbake cookies. Remove cookies from oven and let rest on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.

Yield: Apx. 28-30 cookies (depending on amount of dough used per cookie and size of cookie desired)

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Hearty Hermit Cookies

Old-fashioned classic drop cookies, these Hermits have a lovely soft, chewy texture, are lightly spiced, and contain dates, raisins, dried cranberries, and nuts.

Course Cookies
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword cookies,, drop cookies, Hermit Cookies, Hermits
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp sour cream, room temperature
  • tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Scant ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • ½ cup chopped dates
  • 1/3 cup sultana raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts (e.g., pistachios, pecans, walnuts)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Bring butter, eggs, and sour cream to room temperature.
  2. In medium-sized bowl, sieve or sift the dry ingredients.
  3. Chop the dates and nuts and combine with the raisins and dried cranberries in small bowl.
  4. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. With mixer set at low speed, gradually add the brown sugar then beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl, if and as necessary. Mix in eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat just to incorporate. Do not overbeat mixture.
  5. With speed of mixer set to low, gradually add the dry ingredients and beat mixture just until ingredients are combined. Remove bowl from mixer stand and mix in the dates, raisins, cranberries, and nuts.
  6. Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 1½ - 2 hours to firm up butter content in dough. Dough may be refrigerated for up to 48 hours before baking.
  7. To bake, remove cookie dough from refrigerator and, if necessary for dough to be scooped up, let sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes, or until dough is just pliable enough to be scooped up by tablespoonfuls to form cookies. Do not let cookie dough completely soften at room temperature as this will soften the butter in the dough and may cause cookies to spread and bake flat.
  8. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
  9. Scoop up dough by rounded tablespoonfuls and transfer to prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies 2” apart. Bake for 14-17 minutes (depending on size of cookies), or until cookies have puffed up, have the appearance of the tops starting to look dry, edges set, and the cookies are tanned. Rotate cookie sheet(s) at the halfway point during baking. To maintain a soft and chewy texture, do not overbake cookies. Remove cookies from oven and let rest on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.

Recipe Notes

Yield:  Apx. 28-30 cookies (depending on amount of dough used per cookie and size of cookie desired)

You may also enjoy these other drop cookie recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies
Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies
Chocolate Drop Cookies

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Plateful of Hearty Homemade Drop Cookies filled with dates, raisins, dried cranberries, and nuts