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The Hermit Cookie: A Reclusive Recipe from America’s Archives


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In a July 1888 article in the Springfield, Massachusetts Republican, Anna Barrows listed the perfect larder for a picnic: Potted meats (think: pre-Spam); refreshing “acid jellies” of juice and gelatin; and one recipe for a cookie “quite as good as fruit cake.” Though fruitcake’s reputation has suffered in the intervening years and acid jellies are not on any current menus, we still know the “hermit” cookie, a spice cookie studded with fruit and nuts.

Barrows, a leading journalist of household science, spoke with the voice of professionalized domesticity when she advised readers: “To any rich cookie dough, add one teaspoonful mixed spice—clove, cinnamon and allspice—and one solid cup-ful of chopped fruit, either citron, currants, seeded raisins, or a mixture of all.” She praised the hermit cookie as the ultimate in the convenience cookie: “This will keep for months, if out of humanity’s reach, hence, perhaps their name.”

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Read more at Bon Appetit