I actually have no idea when I first heard of hermit cookies. I’m not even sure I have tasted them before making this batch, so I can’t vouch for their authenticity (but I can vouch for their deliciousness). From what I have read, hermit cookies are characterized by the spices and dried fruit that are included in the cookie, reminding me very much of these scones, which I can’t get enough of. When I think of hermit cookies, I always imagine a little hermit-like creature snuggled away somewhere in a snow-blanketed, enchanted forest eating these warming cookies. However, take note that there is absolutely no indication that this image has anything to do with the name of the cookie. It’s just my imagination running wild.
I have had many cookie disasters in my day. There are a number of things that normally trip me up.
1- Cookie recipes normally call for creaming the butter and sugar. I only got an electric mixer a couple of years ago, so before that, this was a major problem for me. I am not strong (or determined?) enough to do this properly by hand, so it never quite worked out.
2- I always keep my butter in the freezer and am never patient enough to get it to room temperature when I am making my cookies. This results in cold butter being whisked with the sugar. Don’t do this! Your cookies will be the completely wrong texture and you will regret it in the long run.
3- I usually cook them too long. Cookies often firm up quite a bit once they are taken out of the oven. I never realized that and just thought that baking times were completely off and cooked them until they were cooked through, which resulted in horribly overcooked cookies.
4- I drop entire trays of hot cookies on (the relatively clean) floor where they break into a million pieces (because they are still mushy and hot) and I have to salvage them by making a ‘trifle’ as the potluck dessert.