Easy Hermit Cookies

By:  Julie

Serves:  Makes 3 dozen cookies

Time:  10min mixing, 12 min baking.

My grandmother made hermit cookies that were one of my favourite treats.  When I think of them, I remember the sound of the screen door on the porch, the texture of the carpet under my bare feet, and the way the smell of raisins and spice hit you when you opened the door into the house.  She would be standing there in a crazy-patterened house-dress, one fist on her hip, stirring something and humming under her breath.  If you were really lucky she would be singing.  I’m shocked to say that these are actually better than hers, (which were almost sort of muffiny-fat dense cookies).  There is no dough- chilling involved, just mix and bake!  Perfect for homemade in a hurry.

I should tell you that I love raisins. I probably put them in more things than I should. Even if you’re not a raisin cheerleader like I am, I encourage you to try these.  The dough is sweet so the walnuts are important to provide balance, salt too.  Watch these carefully –  with the addition of the spices it’s hard to tell when the edges start to brown.  You want them to to be browned around the edges and slightly coloured on top.  If you over-bake them they will still be delicious… just dunk them in some milk!

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You Will Need:

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinammon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups of raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts – toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Cream the butter with the sugar and beat on high for 2-3 min.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between.  Add the vanilla and beat for 2 min.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt, baking soda and spices.  Add to the cookie mixture a third at a time, beating well in between.  Add the raisins and the nuts and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

Using a cookie scoop is a bit challenging since the dough is so fluffy.  You want 1 inch balls of dough dropped onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  This makes the perfect size cookie. Don’t flatten them out, they will settle as they bake.

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Bake at 375F for 9-12 minutes.  See that gaping hole below where once there was a cookie? I may have stuffed one in my mouth while they were still 375F, possibly burning the roof of my mouth and impairing my ability to taste for the rest of the day.

Worth It.

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Linzer Cookies with Browned Butter Filling

By:  Julie

Time:  25 min plus chilling and assembly time.  Plan an afternoon of cookie making.

Serves:  3 dozen

This recipe comes from a Christmas edition of Taste Of Home Magazine. It’s basically shortbread with browned butter filling and some delicious preserves of your choice.  Luckily, Corinne has left me with a jar of Strawberry-Lavender Caramel, which was the perfect compliment to the rich butter flavor.  Maybe if we hint enough she will post it on here.  Forget the hinting, “Corinne, we need you to post your Strawberry Lavender Caramel!”

I have made these at Christmas for two years running and they are my most requested treat along with cheesecake and lemon bars… coming soon to a blog near you.

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You Will Need:

For The Cookie

A Linzer cookie cutter or your favourite cookie cutter with a small round biscuit cutter to remove the center.

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour

For The Filling

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup of your favourite preserve

Make The Cookie Dough

I make these in my mixed but they can easily be done by hand.

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and the vanilla until smooth.  Add the flour, a little at a time, until incorporated.  Divide the dough in half and place each half in plastic wrap.  Smooth into a disc shape and place in the fridge for 2 hours.  This step is important.  You need the gluten to rest to make tender cookies and also you need cold dough to prevent the cookings from loosing their shape during baking.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment.  That way you can prep one while the others are baking.

Lightly flour the counter and roll out the dough until it is an 1/8th of an inch thick.  You want to try to make both halves of the dough the same thickness, otherwise your tops may not be the same size as your bottoms during baking.  Thinner dough will cook faster and shrink more.

Cut equal numbers of tops and bottoms from both halves of dough so that you have matched sets.  I used a linzer cookie cutter which cuts the tops out for me, but any floured cutter will work.  I found this at The Bulk Barn for about $6.  A worth while investment.  They are now starting to rust a bit but still work fine.

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I cut 12 cookies and place 1-2 inches apart on the first cookie sheet and throw them in the oven.  If the cookies have warmed up while you were cutting, be sure to place them in the freezer for 10 min before baking or they may loose their shape.  Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick you rolled them.  When they are baking they will puff up slightly.  When you see the puff dough start to relax in the oven they are done. The top will be pale while the edges are slightly golden.  They are much better when not over-baked.

While the first tray is baking, prep the second tray.  Keeping any excess dough in the freezer while you are working.  Place them in the oven when ready.

When the first batch is baked, allow to sit for a few minutes and then move to a cooking rack.  Throw the tray in the freezer to cool it down while you roll the next batch.

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Repeat until all cookies are baked and cooling.

Prepare The Icing

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat until browned.  This takes about 10 min.  Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.  Black butter is NOT as delicious as browned butter.  Remove from heat and gradually add the icing sugar until combined.  You are looking for a spreadable consistency so if needed, add some water until you can spread it easily with a knife.  It will stiffen as it cools so you need to work quickly.

Spread on the bottoms of all the cookies and top with a dollop of the preserves. Place the tops on and press down gently.  You want the preserves to fill the hole in the top of the cookie but not leak out the sides or overflow out of the top.  Let them sit out on the cooling rack for about an hour until the icing stiffens and then place in an air-tight container.  These freeze really well (I have been known to eat them right out of the freezer… they are delicious).  They will also keep well on the counter for a week or so.

 

 

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

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By Corinne

I love a breakfast cookie! These are hearty and delicious, full of all kinds of goodness. They are a soft cookie, but the pepitas give them a bit of a crunch.  I prefer them without chocolate chips, but my husband has more of a sweet tooth and prefers them with. If you are trying to reduce refined sugar, the brown sugar can be substituted for an equal amount of honey – though I find they are less sweet with honey, so you may want to add a bit more.  They are gluten and dairy free (if you omit chocolate chips).

Time: prep 10 min, bake 18-22 min per batch

Makes: about 45 cookies

Oven: preheat 350F

You will need:

  • 2 cups quick oats*
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together all dry ingredients. Melt 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil in microwave, about 1 minute. Add coconut oil, canned pumpkin and eggs to dry mixture and thoroughly mix together. This can be done pretty easily by hand, or if you have a mixer, that works too.

Place scoopfuls of mix onto a cookie sheet. They will not spread as they cook, so you can snuggle them up close together. I like to press them down and flatten them a bit after I scoop them on, as they do not flatten or spread as they cook so whatever shape they go in is the shape they come out.

Bake for 18-22 minutes. Cookies will be slightly browned around the edges and tops. Cool completely and store in an air tight container, or freeze and take out just a few at a time as desired.

*oats are one of those ‘maybe’ items for many celiac people. While oats themselves are gluten free, crops may be contaminated with wheat. Some brands of oats will say ‘gluten free’ and others don’t.