Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Last Minute Holiday Baking - Linda's Hermits

Tonight I've been doing some last minute Christmas baking. Last minute because Kent and I just got back into town yesterday evening. And last minute because I really wasn't planning to do any Christmas baking this year. For one thing, our kitchen is torn up. We're getting new cabinets. We tore out the old ones before we left on our trip. While we were gone, the wood floor guy came in and refinished our floor. The floor looks beautiful, but we have no cabinets, which means no counter tops. We have no sink. We have no dishwasher. The fridge is in the family room. We have moved the oven back into place and hooked it up.

Why would I decide to bake in these conditions?

Because for part of our trip we were at my parents' house in Florida. My mother had some of her famous Hermits in the freezer. I kept going back for another, and another. I've been craving more since we left Florida. These things are so good. She's been making them since I was a small child. Everybody loves them. A little neighbor boy used to say to his mother sometimes, "Hey Mom, do you think Linda has any of those Kermits at her house?"(He belonged to the first Sesame Street generation.)

I made them for the first time a few months ago as refreshments for my book group ladies. I had chosen The Persian Pickle Club as the book for the month. The main character, Queenie Bean, makes Hermits for her husband, Grover. I was so surprised - I'd never heard of anyone else making Hermits before.

I got my mother's recipe and made them. They were good, but they didn't come out just like hers. I have since made some adjustments for our high altitude and now they turn out just like my mom's.

With cinnamon, cloves, ginger and molasses, these make a perfect Christmas cookie.

Linda's Hermits
3 sticks real margarine
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
2   1/4 cups white flour
2  1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ginger
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 375. Cream margarine, sugar, and eggs. Add molasses and honey. Add the rest of the ingredients.  Use fingers to form dough into  1 1/2 " wide by 1 " tall logs lengthwise on a cookie sheet, two logs per large baking sheet. Bake for ten minutes. Let cool. Cut into squares. 

Changes for high altitude: 2 cups sugar minus 4 teaspoons, 2  1/4 cups plus 4 Tablespoons white flour, 2  1/4 cups plus 4 Tablespoons whole wheat flour, 3  3/4 tsp baking soda

In the bulk section at Winco, there is a gorgeous raisin medley. 

Winco's Raisin Medley

Aren't these the most beautiful raisins you've ever seen? 

I like to use these in the Hermits.

This is what they look like on the pans before baking:

And after:

Last minute Christmas baking - If I can do it in my kitchen, you can do it in yours!

 Now, time to go wash the pans and bowls in the bathroom sink.

Merry Christmas!