Now that I am older and wiser, my taste palate is more mature (cough, cough....er...developed). I am an equal opportunity cookie eater now! Well, only homemade ones.
I had a bunch of apples I needed to get rid of and wanted a new way to use them. Although, the hermit bars my mom always ate were strictly made with raisins, I liked the fact that the apples would not only keep these naturally moist longer but bump up the nutrition too. With the concern with the use of trans fat these days....kinda bothers me how man-made food can stay so moist so long from their additives when a homemade cookie will only stay moist a few days if you are lucky. Nowadays, I am sticking to the baked things I make rather the store bought just because of my concern for 'mystery additives.'
I am a huge fan of allrecipes.com where I found this recipe. I love the fact that all their recipes are tried and true and the creators think they are good enough to share. After you prepare the recipe it's just a matter of taste. Did this recipe tickle your fancy or not? Was it perfect as is or did it need a tweak from you to suit your tastes?
Instead of me typing the recipe up I will provide you the link and then some tips that I have used in making this recipe.
Since I have made these a few times, here are some suggestions:
1. The picture/directions in the allrecipes.com version is done as a drop cookie. Been there, done that. I wanted some thing easy to drop ONCE and cook all together. BESIDES, a traditional hermit is a BAR cookie not a dropped one.
2. If you want the ease of doing a bar cookie, increase the cooking temperature to 20 minutes. I used parchment paper on a 10X15 cookie sheet (the smaller one). If you use the next larger cookie sheet your cookies will be thinner and you will need to reduce the cooking time. I have not tried making these any thinner for I enjoy them exactly how they are.
3. I have made these with regular apples and with dried apples in a pinch. They were wonderfully moist with regular apples but using dried apples means drier cookies. UNLESS you soak them in hot water. When I tried this....I thought...what the heck, soak the raisins in the hot water TOO! Of course, you will need to squeeze out the moisture before you put them into your batter. I starting soaking these at the start of the recipe and they were perfect and ready by it's time to add them into the mixture.
4. Shhhhhhhhhhh, I substituted the brown sugar blend Splenda in this recipe and K-man has no idea! Worked like a charm. They called for 1-1/2 cups of brown sugar and you use 3/4 cup Splenda brown sugar. Hee-heee.
5. I toasted the walnuts before I put them into the mixture. Toasted nuts taste sooooooo much better when put in the oven for a bit to bring out their flavors. It's easy to do. While you are preheating the oven. Place your nut of choice on the cookie sheet and place in the oven. When you are preparing the recipe and you start to smell the nutty goodness. Check on them. Rearrange them a bit if you need to and toast them about 2 minutes more. Let cool before you add them to your batter/mixture.
6. I've made these with and without the glaze. Depends on my mood really. Both are good. These pictured, I put the powdered sugar in a ziploc (about a cup) and added a Tbsp of milk and used spiced rum* to even out the consistency. I closed the bag and massaged out all the lumps. I kept adding a few drops of the rum until it was thin/thick enough to be drizzled. Just snip the corner and drizzle away. Let the drizzles dry before storing bars in a air tight container.
*Don't be concerned about the rum. Whether you use real rum or rum extract.....it's all the same, alcohol will evaporate. You can use vanilla extract and....I have homemade vanilla extract being brewed as we speak with 10 vanilla beans soaking in a liter of vodka. So it's all the same, no difference.
Please give the hermits a try. We love them. Although K-man can't seem to get used to the name "hermits" since it is foreign to him. He refers to them as those "spice cake cookies". I have reminded him many times of it's name and he still continues with the spice cake name. I think now he's just trying to be funny. Funny or not....he loves them. So will you.