When the children were growing up I used to spend weeks and weeks baking ahead for Christmas. There would be seemingly no end to the goodies I prepared. Cookies, squares, tea breads and cakes . . . mince pies. Then there would be fudge and peanut butter balls, butter tarts, logs . . . each one being a labor of love and wrapped tenderly after baking . . . and then frozen in preparation for the big day.
We always had lots of family around for the holidays and I liked to gift special friends with some of the goodies as well, and had a lot of people that would drop in over the holidays . . . so it all got used. |Nothing ever went to waste.
Now there is just the two of us . . . and not much call for a lot of Christmas baking. There are still a few things I like to make though, which we will enjoy a portion of and the rest be gifted out. It's nice to gift people with Christmas baking . . . and is always well received and appreciated.
I tend to pick and choose these days when it comes to my Christmas baking. I love the spicy things most of all . . . mince pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake . . . and these tasty little bar cookies. Hermit Cookies . . . delicately spiced, moist and chewy.
This particular version are baked as logs which are then cut into bars. Oh so tender and moist and filled with lots of chopped sultanas and candied ginger root. Easy to make and quick to do as well, as you bake them as an entire log and then cut them into bars after baking, cooling and drizzling with a tangy lemon or orange glaze.
Moist and chewy from the fruit, they are a real treat during the holidays! I enjoyed a few this afternoon with a nice hot cup of herbal candy cane tea in my new tea mug . . . and early gift to myself from Susan Branch. Somehow I think it added to the tastiness of my afternoon break.
I just love the holidays, don't you??
Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies
Chewy and incredibly moist. The best hermit cookie ever. You need to start these the day before you plan on baking them, so plan accordingly.
150g of sultana raisins (1 cup)
2 TBS crystallized Ginger-root, finely chopped
8 TBS unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
200g plain flour (2 cups)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
150g of soft dark brown sugar
75ml of golden syrup
75ml of dark treacle
(For these you can substitute an equal amount of mild molasses, 125ml or 1/2 cup)
2 large free range eggs
For the glaze:
1 1/2 TBS lemon or orange juice
100g of icing sugar, sifted (3/4 cup)
Place the butter in a saucepan and heat over medium low heat until it is nut brown in color, swirling occasionally. Don't let it burn. Add the cinnamon and all spice. Heat until it is fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Place the sultanas and ginger root into the bowl of your food processor. Blitz until they are finely chopped, and the mixture begins to stick together. They should be only small pieces. Stir in the butter mixture. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, soda, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl, breaking up any lumps in the sugar. Beat the eggs and syrup/treacle into the butter mixture. Add all at once to the flour mixture and stir together until well combined. The mixture will be quite sticky. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. I like to leave it overnight.
The next day, preheat your oven to `80*C/350*F/ gas mark 5. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. Divide the chilled dough into 4 equal sized pieces. Roll each piece into a 10 inch long log with your hands, on top of a lightly floured surface. Place two logs each on one of the lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of space in between for spreading.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until only a shallow indentation remains on the edges when lightly touched. Switch and rotate the baking sheets after 10 minutes. They should still look soft in the centre. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for five minutes, then slip the parchment off onto wire racks and allow to cool completely.
Whisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzable. Drizzle over the cookie logs. Allow to set and harden. Cut the logs into 2 inch bars. Store in an airtight container for up to five days at room temperature.