Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Going Squirrelly!

So apparently January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day.  I don’t mind squirrels – even the grey one that sorta rules my backyard, stares my down when I come out with the dogs, leaves me bread in the winter and pears in the summer…  So it is nice that there is a day to appreciate them.  But January 21?!?!  The temperatures outside in Toronto on this January 21, 2014 is -23o C (or -8o F) so I’m thinking of renaming the today as Freeze Your Nuts Off  Day.  Stay warm everyone – especially our furry squirrelly friends.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I’m a Hermit (cookie) this Winter

Last week I asked what kind of cookies I should be making to fill some time before Valentine’s Day.  My cousin suggested Hermit Cookies because we are all such hermits in the winter.  Awesome idea for so many reasons.

A hermit is a person who lives in seclusion from society.  Between the ice storm in December and the arctic temperatures of January, I (and many of my fellow Torontonians) have become a bit of a hermit this winter.

A hermit cookie is a spice cookie full of dates, raisins and nuts (although I updated these and used SKOR bites ).  They are believed to have been called hermit cookies due to them keeping well and could therefore be hidden away like a hermit. But the truth is there will be no keeping these cookies because they are really really yummy.

Apparently they are so good there is even a National Hermit Cookie Day on November 15. I will have to remember that but I’m not going to wait until then to share the recipe. 

So here is how I made them…


½ cup unsalted butter (bring to room temperature if you have time)
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour 
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp heaping cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cloves
1 cup raisins
1 cup dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 cup SKOR bites (or chopped walnuts)


Heat oven to 3500  and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cloves in a bowl and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until sugar is light and mixture is fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  I usually add eggs one at a time and scrape sides of the bowl in between.

Add flour and spices to the butter mixture until well combined.

Fold in raisins, dates and SKOR bites by hand.

Drop by tablespoon on to parchment lined cookie sheets.  I put 15 cookies on each sheet.

Bake 12 minutes.

Sit down and have a hermit with a cuppa tea and good book, by the fire and dream of warmer days. These cookies will make your house smell really good and warm your heart through this crazy winter.