Sunday, November 13, 2011

Iced Hermits

After making Gingerbread Cake, I had leftover molasses.  The recipe below if from Martha Stewart.  Hermits are not an appealing name, but these little bars are delicious, spicy, gingery treats (apparently originating in colonial New England, named Hermits because the cookie improves after being stowed away for a few days).  Martha calls for candied ginger, which would make them even more amazing but, as I'm cooking on a budget, I just used extra raisins.  Instead of ginger you can also add 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

(For the cookies)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking sheet
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 cup chopped candied ginger, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I omitted these)
3/4 cup raisins (I used 1 cup raisins)

(For the icing)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, plus more if needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 10 by 15-inch* rimmed baking sheet.  Line bottom with parchement paper and butter parchment.

Make cookies: Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cloves in bowl.

Put butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed until smooth.  Add brown sugar; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

 Mix in whole egg and yolk, and molasses.  Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.  Mix in 1/2 cup candied ginger and raisins.

Spread dough evenly onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until firm, 18 to 22 minutes.  Cool completely in baking sheet on a wire rack.

*I had a hard time finding a 10x15" pan, so I used a larger one and left room on each edge.

Make icing: Put brown sugar, milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved.  

Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla and confectioners' sugar.  If icing is too thick to drizzle, stir in more milk, a teaspoon at a time.  If icing is too thin, stir in more confectioners' sugar, a teaspoon at a time.  Let cool slightly.

Drizzle bars with icing; sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup candied ginger.  Let stand until icing has set, about 15 minutes.  Cut into 2-inch squares. 

Bars can be stored in single layers in airtight containgers at room temperature up to 5 days.

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