Monday, November 15, 2010


I love Hermits once the weather starts to turn cooler. They are really easy to make and the aroma will scent your home nicer than any candle you will find. I wanted to make something for the bake sale at my son's school recently. I knew from experience there would be a lot of chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes. I wanted to make something a little bit different yet still in the comfort food zone. Oh yeah...and easy to crank out. Hermits are a New England favorite and it is said they originated here. Food Lover's Companion says they were named for their long keeping qualities and they are better when hidden away like a hermit for a few days.
                  Try that!!
 I can barely keep them for a few days. I save all the heel ends of the bars for afternoon tea. Hmm? I wonder if I have time to get some going now?

Here is the recipe:

Makes about 18 Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 2/3 teaspoons ground cloves
1 2/3 teaspoons ground ginger
5 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 drops orange extract

1. Line a jelly roll pan or half sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
3. Cream together the butter and brown sugar for at least 3 minutes, scraping often.
4. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until blended.
5. Add the molasses and mix until blended.
6. Add the dry ingredients and the raisins and mix on medium speed until the dough comes together, about one minute.
7. Portion the dough into 13 ounce logs about the length of the pan and position on sheet pans with at least 2 inches between logs. Use a little flour if the dough gets sticky.
8. Chill the logs for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
9. Bake the logs for about 20 minutes. The dough will flatten out as the logs bake.
10. Cool the logs on the sheet pan. Glaze. Allow the glaze to set for about 30 minutes to an hour; then slice into bars.
Glazed logs ready to cut into bars
Glaze: Stir confectioner sugar, milk and orange extract until smooth gently with a whisk. Thin glaze with more milk if necessary.
11. Brush the glaze thickly over the top of the bars with a pastry brush. Allow the glaze to set for about 30 minutes to an hour; then slice into bars.

Ready for the bake sale!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Muppet Me

I had a great experience recently when I went to The International Sugar Art Collection in Atlanta, GA and learned how to make an edible muppet. Lauren Kitchens with  her team, Ashleigh and Karie, taught the classes with style and humor. I started the first day off muppetizing myself on a cake. Lauren had said that it was difficult to muppetize oneself and she was right. I relied on her suggestions and came away with an acceptable piece.

The second day, I muppetized my hubbie as an edible statue. I felt more confident in my skills and had a better idea of areas to emphasize. I had so much fun putting all the pieces together. I was delighted with the results and so was my husband.

The plane ride home was nerve wracking. The Monday morning transient crowd was not pleased to see me in line with my boxes of fragile items. The airline was wonderful though and everything got home intact.
If you are able to take one of Lauren's classes, you will not be disappointed. I am very excited to start muppetizing friends and family. As a bonus, I now have a profile picture that's muppet me!