Time Travel Kitchen
A Cookie That Traveled
My favorite place in the world for a pastrami on rye will always be the legendary Katz’s Deli on the corner of E. Houston and Ludlow St. in New York City.
There are still signs inside that read:
“Send A Salami To Your Boy In The Army”©️
Katz’s has been in business for well over a century and during WWII three of the owner’s sons served overseas. The act of sending food to give them a taste of home became the slogan of the business and encouraged others to do the same.
I was thinking about this with Veteran’s Day being observed this week and found another comfort food that had been sent to troops during both WWI and WWII: Hermit Cookies. They traveled well (despite their name) and stayed fresh for a long time.
No one seems to know quite where the name came from, and there are several theories, but Bon Appétit had a wonderful piece a while back about the Hermit cookie’s place in history that is well worth reading and includes two other recipes.
Spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and fruit and nuts, Hermits are hearty, old-fashioned cookies especially suited to this time of year.
I used a recipe from Balanced Recipes by Pillsbury, a 1933 cookbook that is in a very sleek, Art Deco-looking aluminum case. (My Moka Pot has a cameo appearance in this week’s opening photo since it too was designed in 1933.)
This is a cake-like but also chewy cookie, different from its crunchier cousin, the Hermit Bar. They are satisfying, spicy and delicious and I will definitely make them again with a few tweaks noted below this recipe.
Use any AP flour you like
I used unsalted butter (not shortening)
I lined sheets with parchment
I used walnuts
The yield I got was 30 cookies, I made them a little larger and adjusted baking time by a few minutes. Next time I’ll make a bit smaller
Personal taste: I’m going to halve the cloves to 1/4 tsp, (although the consensus of others that tasted the cookies liked the recipe as is) I love the flavor of clove, just want it a little more subtle
It’s interesting to see the progression of how more detailed recipes were written at Pillsbury Cooking Service under the direction of Mary Ellis Ames, a renowned Home Economist — many more instructions than the turn of the century and 1910’s and 20’s cookbooks.
I wish you a wonderful weekend and to all those who served, including my late father who was a Marine, thank you for your service.
See you Tuesday!
Sources and Credits:
Mary Ellis Ames, Balanced Recipes by Pillsbury, Pillsbury Flour Mills Company, Minneapolis, MN, 1933
Dr. Cynthia R. Greenlee, The Hermit Cookie: A Reclusive Cookie from America’s Archive, Bon Appétit, December, 2016
Katz’s Photo: Katz’s Deli
Cookie/Cookbook photo: Jolene