Buckwheat Hermit Cookies

DSC09490 (Medium)I love gingerbread cookies, so I’ve been wanting to make hermit cookies for a long time. These soft and spicy treats originated in New England (just like me!)

Buckwheat is a very nutritious food. It is not actually a grain, but rather a seed. The seed contains almost all of the essential amino acids; which is unusual for a plant protein. It is also a very rich source of fiber and is high in B vitamins, iron, copper and magnesium. Buckwheat flour is found in soba noodles and some savory baking in Russian and East European traditions. It is gluten free, so needs a supplemental flour in this application.

Buckwheat flour has a nutty flavor that, along with the earthy flavor of the prunes, complements the strength of molasses, ginger and cloves. I have to say these are some of the best spice cookies I’ve ever tasted!

Ingredients

1 cup AP Flour

1 cup buckwheat flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Buckwheat flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons crystallized ginger

1 cup pitted dried prunes (you could also use raisins or dried figs)

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 Tablespoons orange juice

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda and salt.
  2. Combine eggs, brown sugar and molasses in a large bowl.
  3. In a small sauce pan heat butter over medium low heat until it is browned and smells nutty. Remove from heat and stir in spices. Let cool completely.
  4. In a food processor, pulse crystallized ginger and prunes until it breaks up into small pieces. It will look like a chunky paste.
  5. Add ginger mixture and butter to egg mixture. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Then add dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix the dough.
  6. Let dough chill in refrigerator for at least one and a half hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  8. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide it into four pieces. Roll each piece into a log about ten inches long and place on a parchment lined baking sheet (I used two baking sheets–two logs on each sheet).
  9. Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes. Let cool for minutes on parchment lined cookie sheets. Then place on cooling rack. While you wait for the cookies to cool completely, mix the confectioner’s suagr and orange juice in a small bowl. Once cookies are completely cool, drizzle the logs with the glaze.
  10. Cut logs into six pieces and enjoy! Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 5 days or so.

Yield: 24 cookies

In developing this recipe, I followed America’s Test Kitchen Hermit Cookie recipe but made a couple of changes including adding the buckwheat flour and prunes.

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