Our next Antique Recipe is for Drop Hermit Cookies. I had no idea what these were. In fact I had never heard of Drop Hermits before I found this recipe. Here is how I came about making these. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was pretty tired but needed to do a few recipes for the blog. The week before I had planned to do an antique cake recipe. I starred at the 2 handwritten pages of directions for that cake then glanced over at this neat little typed card with a simple list of ingredients and 1 instruction to mix and drop on baking sheet. That was the point when making Drop Hermits seemed like a way better idea then diving into a cake.
I do not know how old this recipe is. It was typed on an index card and the word “mom” was handwritten on it. After making these I did some research on them and found results showing for similar “Drop Hermits” in church cookbooks from 1899 and 1919. Marjorie Standish has a recipe for them in her 1973 “Keeping Cooking the Maine Way” Cookbook (If you don’t own any of her cookbooks I would highly recommend checking them out). The research suggests people have been making these for a very long time so I was glad I undertook this project – even if it was out of laziness!
I did run into one road block to begin, the recipe called for sour milk. A quick google taught me that sour milk refers to milk that had been acidified with lemon juice or vinegar. So for my first step I placed a teaspoon of lemon juice into 2/3 cup milk and then mixed in 1 teaspoon baking soda and stirred it all together.
I used the bowl of my stand mixer and started at the top of the list of ingredient and put them in. 1 egg in and mixed followed by 1/2 cup sugar. Then 1/3 cup molasses followed by milk/lemon/baking soda mix. At this point you will probably be wondering if the recipe has any chance of success because the bowl looks like black sugar soup. Solider on and it will be ok.
Next 2 cups of flour followed by 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon salt. and 1/4 teaspoon ginger. The recipe calls for the addition of ground cloves as well but I couldn’t do it – literally because I didn’t have any but also because I just don’t like them.
Once all that is mixed you will feel better about how the batter looks but I still questioned whether it would come out. The batter is more like a cake batter then cookie and it is easy to envision it running together on the baking sheet. Fear not it didn’t.
“Drop on greased baking sheet” the directions told me. I used a silicone mat and dropped them by the tablespoon full.
I baked them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes and they turned out perfect.
The taste and texture is something like a gingerbread cake. They are much more cake like then cookie. Very soft and chewy like a cupcake top. One of the best things about this recipe is the time frame. You can have these done in 20 minutes start to finish and they only need a few minutes to cool. 30 minute turn around including clean up- Can’t beat that.
They are also 100% maniac approved.
There is also great opportunity for making sandwiches out of them with cream filling or frosting the tops with a nice vanilla frosting.
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and ready 2 baking sheets lined with silicone.
- Combine milk, lemon juice and baking powder in a small bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer beat egg.
- Then add molasses and milk mixture.
- Next add flour.
- Then add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, ginger until combined.
- Drop by the spoonful onto baking sheets.
- Bake 10 minutes until done.
- Allow to cool a few minutes before enjoying!