highly favoured

cookies-3

Behold, the most expensive cookies in the world.

Every year when I was little, I would watch Dad make the Christmas Hermits.  Even as a child I did much of the baking, but Hermits were Dad’s thing.  His mother’s recipe, and probably her mother’s before that.  Too heavy a mix for little arms, though just perfect for little hands to roll into a ball and flatten with the bottom of a glass.

And every three or four years, Dad has a fit of Christmas madness and makes the Hermits, knowing that Hershe will not let him eat very many of them.  He makes them,  eats a few, then sends the rest across the Atlantic to me.

Hard to know who is happiest:  me or the post master general.

Molly seems to like them too.

6 thoughts on “highly favoured

  1. Until I read this, I had no idea there WAS such a thing. American cooking is fascinating, containing as it does so many early elements of European cooking. Pumpkin pie deserves chapters to itself, and the whole history of waffles is amazing. The ready adoption of baking powder for yeast is frequently the only concession to time passing in recipes.

    Why a Hermit? And what was he doing at Christmas? And what unusual elements are there?

  2. The name is a bit of mystery. Some say it’s because they look like the rough cloth hermits wore (though this is more true of a variant of the recipie, done in flat bars with crackly sugar on top), and others say it came from a Moravian word that got adulterated.

    They are classic Christmas fare: brown sugar, spices, candied fruit; with the very American additions of molasses and pecans. Most American of all is that that they are a soft cookie.

    Earliest recorded recipes were from the mid 19th Century, and I suspect ours is not too far off.

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