hermit [hur-mit] noun

Soft, chewy, spicy cookies that contain raisins or currants. Sometimes baked as a round drop cookie, they are also occasionally baked in large flat pieces and then cut into rectangular shapes.

They can be unadorned or sometimes iced with a simple confectioners’ sugar glaze. Some old-fashioned recipes feature shortening or lard for the fat; others, especially more modern versions, recommend butter. The first printed recipe for a hermit cookie appeared in 1880 in cookbooks originating in New England and upstate New York. The rectangular shape seems to have originated with commercially prepared hermits. There is also debate as to whether the original cookies used white sugar or brown, molasses makes appearances in some versions as well. As for spices, cinnamon is almost always included, but many recipes add cloves, nutmeg and/or mace as well.

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