If you expect me to stick with the usual type of posts published by most food bloggers in January, I shall now disappoint you. I have a cookie post to share. And a great one. The recipe comes from Geoffrey Zakarian, which pretty much means it is going to be awesome. If there is one chef I’d like to sit down and chat with, is GZ. He seems like a nice person, and extremely knowledgeable about food. This is one of his favorite cookies, by the way, which shows we have at least a couple of things in common: a passion for spice cookies, and allowing our hair to go totally gray. HA!

Hermit Cookies

(from Geoffrey Zakarian)

Yield: about 18 cookies

for the cookies:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 for the glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg whites
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice and ginger in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter, brown sugar and molasses together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, eggs and orange zest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until incorporated. Add the spiced flour mixture and beat until the dough just comes together. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough into large balls (about 1.5 inches in diameter) and refrigerate on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until firm, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Bake the cookies until the tops of the hermits are no longer glossy and the edges are firm, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

For the glaze: While the cookies cool, mix the confectioners’ sugar, egg whites and vanilla seeds in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth and shiny. Transfer the glaze to a piping bag or zip lock bag with a corner cut, and pipe stripes onto the cooled hermits. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  Let me share what GZ has to say about these babies: “This is my favorite holiday cookie, because it blends two of my favorites: soft chocolate chip cookies and spicy gingerbread — the best of both worlds.”  I totally agree.

Did you know that Hermit cookies have been around since 1877? Amazing!  The name is a big mystery, actually.  They were also known as tea cakes, made traditionally as little squares. You can read all about them here. Hermit cookies are soft the way I like, spicy, sweet, and the glaze goes perfectly with them, although I am sure the glaze is a modern take on the original recipe. I normally like a plain cookie, but must admit the extra work for the glaze pays off in this recipe.

Hermit Cookies2

The holiday season is over, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with baking a batch of spice cookies when the mood strikes… You?


ONE YEAR AGO: Cremini Mushroom Meatloaf

TWO YEARS AGO: Ottolenghi & Tamimi’s Roast Chicken with Clementines

THREE YEARS AGO: Eight-Ball Zucchini: The Missing Files

FOUR YEARS AGO: Grilling Ribbons

FIVE YEARS AGO: Peppery Cashew Crunch

SIX YEARS AGO: Ossobuco Milanese: an Italian Classic

22 thoughts on “HERMIT COOKIES

        • I just shake my head and confess to rolling my eyes to the ceiling at the total non-sense of diet posts in January. My way of eating is unchanged throughout the year, it’s not affected by holidays, vacation trips, celebrations. Why would I overindulge just to suffer later? Makes no sense to me! I much rather eat everything I want in amounts that my body can handle… Oh, well… to each its own. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes yes yes yes yes!!!! I knew I liked you!! My sentiments exactly!
            My eating habits are the same all year round, I love what I eat and how I eat, so why would I change that just because it’s a certain day??? You could say that I eat like its a celebration every day because I celebrate my health and my body with the food I make and eat EVERY DAY!!
            I think I love you….;)


  1. When I started seeing GZ on tv as a judge, I always wondered who the hell he was. Then I discovered he’d been the executive chef at La Cirque, and now I hold him in high regard. Impressive resume!!! Great looking cookies!


  2. I’m going to make these today, I think. Dear Husband has a nasty cold, it’s snowing, I was in court all day (8am to 7:30 pm) on jury duty yesterday, and I just feel like cocooning. But alas, no ground ginger! I do have a huge knob of ginger root. What do you all think about trying to substitute fresh for ground? If I grate it very finely and let it air dry for a few hours, I wonder if that would work? Usually, if you use a fresh herb in place of dried, you need more to get the intensity of flavor. Ideas, anyone?


  3. I’m a fan of GZ, too. Good to see him doing more cooking again in addition to his judging duties. I was reading the ingredient list and thought that these should be made at least every December, for the holidays, and January for my birthday. What’s good for one birthday is good for another. 🙂


    • I wish all the competition shows would end, I could not care less for those… and will not watch any.

      Well, Happy Birthday! I hope you get a batch of these babies to celebrate your special day!


Click here to comment, love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.