(created as a guest post for Kate’s Healthy Cupboard)
Hermit cookies (also called fruitcake cookies) are a traditional cookie for any holiday cookie plate, mainly because they are so pretty with so many different colors of nuts and dried fruit, but still simple to make. They have a soft, cakey texture, a lovely spice that is so reminiscent of the season, and a nice chew factor from all the dried fruit. My version of holiday hermit cookies is technically Canadian-style because of the inclusion of chopped dates, but really, I’ve mixed it up so much compared to more traditional recipes that I guess we can just call these Paleo Mom-style. These cookies were a hit with my family (even my oldest daughter who usually only eats cookies with chocolate in them) so my original plans of freezing half the batch to save for Christmas were thwarted. I guess I’ll just have to make more (insert sarcastic “oh darn”).
I used muscovado sugar to sweeten these cookies. If you aren’t familiar, muscovado sugar is an unrefined richly dark brown sugar with a strong molasses flavor, also called Barbados sugar. I have found that the cheapest place to buy it is off of amazon, but my local Whole Foods sells it too. If you wanted, you could substitute evaporated cane juice with a touch of molasses (you’d have to play with quantities to replicate the texture that muscovado sugar gives these cookies).
You may notice that I got a little inventive with the nut and dried fruit combination with these cookies. It works really well! But, if you have a favorite dried fruit and nut combination for hermit cookies or fruitcake cookies, feel free to make substitutions!
This cookie recipe is also what launched me into the holiday cookie-baking spirit this year. The simple act of making these cookies seemed to create the inspiration for a half dozen other recipes (I will be posting holiday cookie recipes all week this week and maybe next week too!). Maybe it was how great the house smelled while these were baking. Somehow these cookies make it feel like Christmas time. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family did! Yield: 2 dozen.
- ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup almond butter
- ¼ cup muscovado sugar (also called Barbados sugar)
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups blanched almond flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp cloves
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup chopped dried cherries
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (chop if they are on the large side)
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup chopped medjool dates
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
- 1/3 cup unsalted pistachios (give a rough chop if on the large side)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Chop nuts and dried fruit into fairly small pieces (measure after chopping) but do not grind with a food processor (that would be too small).
- Combine coconut oil, almond butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add almond flour, spices and baking soda. Mix to fully incorporate and form a thick dough.
- Add chopped nuts and dried fruit to dough and stir to combine.
- Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto a cookie/baking sheet. Flatten to form cookie patties about ½” or slightly less thick (these cookies don’t spread so whatever shape you make them now is the shape they will be cooked).
- Bake for 9-10 minutes. Let cool at least a couple of minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a cooling rack (this helps them stay chewy).
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature (or freeze). Enjoy!