I told my cousin I would make hermits to bring to their house for after her mother's funeral. Carolyn always loved my hermits.
I hadn't made hermits in a long time, but when my son's were young, in the summer I would make a batch of hermits every morning while we were camping at the pond. I would bake the hermits in my small convection oven. When I used the smaller oven I made 6 rolls of dough to fit the baking pan for that oven. Every evening the cookie jar would be empty. The boys friends and cousins loved these too.
I hated the hermit recipe my mother used when I was a kid, as they were always thick and dry. I have used the recipe below for many, many years and everyone who tries them loves them, because they are soft and moist. I need to recopy my recipe card, because you can tell it's been used a lot, as it is stained and yellowed. I guess that is a sure way of telling a popular, well loved recipe.
Elaine's Hermit Recipe
preheat oven to 375 degrees
3/4 cup solid shortening or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In a bowl, cream the shortening, sugar, molasses, egg. Mix in the dry ingredients. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Mix well.
On a plastic pastry sheet..sprinkle a small amount of flour. Dump out the dough onto the pastry sheet (the dough can be a little crumbly so form the dough into a big ball. Then,divide the hermit dough into 4 even balls.
Roll 1 ball at a time into a long strip...like a hot dog. I start to roll the dough with my hands to make a log shape, and then I work/stretch the dough with my flour covered fingers to make the dough the length of a jelly roll pan. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Once each roll is on the pan you can finish forming the dough right on the parchment paper lined jelly roll pan.
Bake in 375 degree oven for 15-16 minutes or until light brown. Don't bake longer or the hermits will be hard.
right out of the oven after baking
cut the hermits immediately after removing the pan from the oven. Cool hermits right on the baking sheet. When cool, break apart and store in a sealed container or in a zip lock storage bag. These hermits freeze well if they last that long. I usually get at least 32 pieces from a batch.
If you copy my hermit recipe and make a batch, please take the time and come back to leave me a comment to let me know how your hermits came out and if you and your family liked them.
Before supper I made another batch of hermits. Will bring 1/2 of the batch to my parents.
Now that this batch of hermits are cooled off..it is time for a coffee break and a hermit. I love the bird nest napkin.