Spectacular Ginger “Hermits”
Dec06

Spectacular Ginger “Hermits”

Click here to see all three clips of Orna making Hermits on YouTube >>  These soft and chewy, gingery cookie bars are the ultimate holiday cookie.   They originated in New England in the 1900’s, and supposedly gained their name because the flavor improves on day 2 or 3, after being stowed away like a “hermit”—perfect for making ahead and giving as gifts. This is a modern version, with brown butter, crystallized ginger, and raisins. I just can’t stop eating them! Click here for latest blogpost on visit to Weight Watchers meeting! The history My mother-in-law once raved about the “best cookie she ever tasted in her life,” and she managed to get the recipe from a friend in Calgary, Canada—Sam’s hometown. I was reluctant, because neither Sam nor I usually like dried fruit in cookies. But his folks convinced us how fabulous these fruity “ginger cookies” were, and I decided to brave the very basic recipe she gave me. The whole process was agonizing! I had scoured the internet for a recipe with similar ingredients and instructions, and discovered that they were actually called “Hermits.” But I couldn’t find exact details on how long or wide to make the logs of dough, how big to cut them, how many cookies it would turn out, etc. If you’ve been following any of my other posts, you’ll know that I LOVE details, so this one was a challenge. The baking times were very tricky, but I FINALLY got it right, and they were outstanding. (I now realize that since the recipe was from Calgary—which is at a higher altitude—I should’ve reduced the oven temp by 25 degrees.) I was still in search of a better version I’m not a fan of cloves—a predominant note in the Calgary recipe, which also has dried apricots and raisins or cherries. I was sure that a different combination of spices would make this cookie really shine. The problem with making something everybody likes is that they will compare everything similar to that and tell you not to bother!   I tried Iced Hermits from Martha Stewart’s Cookies (fabulous book!)—also with crystallized ginger. I thought they were quite good (though a bit rich), but Sam vetoed them in favor of the originals.         You can imagine my delight when I found a detailed recipe for Hermits in my Cook’s Illustrated Baking for the Holidays 2012 magazine. Now I love this magazine even more! (You can find them for a great price at Costco.) They test hundreds of recipes to find the perfect version, explaining the science of each step and method, complete with...

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The Ultimate Ginger Cookie
Oct06

The Ultimate Ginger Cookie

I’ve made many-a-ginger-cookie, and finally discovered this version from Ina Garten, which really is the “ultimate” ginger cookie! A little crispy on the outside, but then perfectly chewy in the middle. And wonderful, distinct gingery flavor! I doubled the recipe, because I think you’ll find that one batch simply isn’t enough. By the time you’ve tried one—or two, or three—just to make sure they are perfect… and then had your “tasters” try one… you get the picture… And… they are even better the next day. Another reason to love this recipe—I am a huge fan of anything that can be made ahead. You might be surprised that I listed these as kid-friendly, but these are Aja, my toddler’s favorite cookies that I bake. Biscuits…? When I visited my brother, Gary, at his house or furniture factory in Johannesburg (Jo’burg), there was always a big tin of delicious, crunchy, homemade “ginger biscuits” that looked like giant ginger flying saucers! What? You must be thinking… Well, in South Africa, a “biscuit” is actually what’s known as a cookie here in the U.S., and a “cookie” is what’s known as a cupcake here. I know, pretty confusing. It took me a long time to learn the new lingo! I tried to recreate the experience, but I think sometimes when you convert recipes from “the old country” they just aren’t the same.   I LOVE grating my own nutmeg—it makes me feel very fancy! My microplane grater is one of my favorite tools. I happen to love the taste and smell of nutmeg, and it is definitely much fresher and more flavorful if you grind it yourself. And there’s something so cute about those little nutmegs—look like acorns.           Cool Tools: Microplane Grater, Parchment Paper, Salter Scale       The Ultimate Ginger Cookie 2013-08-05 10:42:32 Yields 44 Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 30 min Cook Time 15 min Total Time 45 min Prep Time 30 min Cook Time 15 min Total Time 45 min 133 calories 25 g 8 g 3 g 2 g 0 g 36 g 94 g 13 g 0 g 3 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 36g Yields 44 Amount Per Serving Calories 133 Calories from Fat 27 % Daily Value * Total Fat 3g 5% Saturated Fat 0g 2% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Monounsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 8mg 3% Sodium 94mg 4% Total Carbohydrates 25g 8% Dietary Fiber 1g 4% Sugars 13g Protein 2g Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0% Calcium3%Iron8% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on...

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