Holly Hermit Cookies for Christmas

I needed to bring something to two different parties yesterday, so I decided to try Holly Hermits from the Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cook Book, 1959. I found this well-loved book at a church rummage sale in the free pile. Score! Whoever owned it before me really loved this book as many pages are spattered with food and some are ripped and carefully taped back together.

Like the page with the Holly Hermits! These were easy to make and were gone at both parties in a flash!

I’ve written about the history of Hermits before on this blog when I made a different recipe. You can read about it and see the similarities between the two recipes here.

I just found this great blog about the history of New England cooking which has a fascinating history of Hermits. I think the author makes a very convincing case that Hermits first appeared in the early 1880s. And that depending on where you lived, you used either brown or white sugar. Brown sugar Hermits seem to be a New York invention, while in New England they used white sugar.  By the mid-20th century brown sugar had pretty much won out.

Here’s the Holly Hermit recipe from Good Housekeeping.

  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1 c. brown sugar (packed tightly)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs. water
  • 1 1/2 c. sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 3/4 c. chopped mixed candied fruits and peels (I used dried cranberries. The candied fruits sold in the grocery stores are so loaded with nasty stuff like high fructose corn syrup I can’t bear to use it)
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Cream together the shortening and brown sugar

Add egg and water and beat well

Sift together the dry ingredients

Stir into the creamed mixture

Drop from a teaspoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes

Cool slightly on the pan before removing to a rack to cool

Here’s how they looked. They are a soft cookie with a lovely flavor. I hope you give them a try!

One Response to “Holly Hermit Cookies for Christmas”

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  1. Bev Duell-Moore says:

    My mom had a cookie cookbook with that recipe in it! In fact, I have what’s left of the book! It was used so much some of the pages fell out!

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