Monday, January 31, 2005

Mondays with Maida - Whole-Wheat and Honey Hermits

Page 36 in the old book / page 70 in the new book

And now for something new and different…ladies and gentlemen I present the un-chocolate cookie! I actually made these two weeks ago, so I’m a little fuzzy on the details now, but these are quite good if you like dried fruit and nuts. I was worried that they wouldn’t go over well at work since I had hinted before I brought them in that the next cookies would be spice rather than chocolate. Having become accustomed to their weekly dose of chocolate, my co-workers were less than enthused at the prospect. I even received an email that said, “Forget spice”. The day I brought these in though, it seemed every time I passed the author of that email, he had a cookie in his hand. One time I passed him and even got a thumbs up!

The cookies are easy to mix up, though there are quite a few ingredients. The dough reminded me of my mother’s fruitcake batter with just enough to hold the fruit and nuts together. The cookies are loaded with currants, raisins, dates, and walnuts. In fact, they make me think that maybe back when this recipe was first published the cookies might have been considered “healthy”. In addition to the fruit and nuts, they have whole wheat flour (and no white flour), honey, raw sugar, spices, eggs, milk, and….oh yeah, a stick of butter. I had a little trouble keeping them evenly sized as I spooned them out, but these are fairly rustic looking anyway, so I didn’t worry about it much.

Warm out of the oven, these are a real treat – just barely crunchy on the outside, but warm and soft on the inside. A day later they had firmed up a bit, and the exterior crunch was gone, but they tasted great with all those spices, fruits and nuts.

A little off topic, but still on the subject of Maida…I found this 1997 Saveur article about her a little while back and printed it out. I just ran across it again and thought some of you might enjoy reading it. The author paid Maida Heatter a visit at her home and talked with her as she baked a cake. At the time the article was written she was eighty-something and was doing 30 minutes on the treadmill every morning before spending most of the day in the kitchen!

Next week – Connecticut Nutmeg Hermits

Nutrition Facts


Reid said...

Hi Cathy,

These sound delicious. I like spicy, fruity, nutty cookies. Since the crunch was gone, would you say that these cookies were a little chewy (like oatmeal cookies)?

BTW...perhaps you could have spread some of that chocolate glaze on these to tempt the troups at work...or added some chocolate chips. =}

Zarah Maria said...

I like the bowl! And I like the cookies too!

Cathy said...

Hi Reid - Thanks - they were delicious! As to the texture - they're not at all chewy, except from the fruit. They're more of a firm cakey cookie. Regarding the chocolate chips/icing - :-) yup, that'll do it every time! Actually, the second un-chocolate cookie was also well received at work today, so I think they're going to adapt just fine!

Hi Zarah - Thanks! I love this bowl too - it was given to me by Bob and Chuck and matches a couple of little sake cups I have that are just adorable. I love the stripes - they make me think of those snail shells with the colorful stripes.

Rowena said...

Cathy, thanks for stopping by! I followed the Saveur link to read about Maida and was engrossed by the entire article. I don't have any of her cookbooks, and it seems that I've missed out on recipes from a truly great baker! Incidentally, I also love Saveur and go to the website for recipes and inspiration.

The cookie recipe sounds delicious...I like the fact that there is wholewheat flour. I've been trying to find something 'different' in the way of sweet treats because I like to bake for my husband and his colleagues. They are not familiar with american desserts, so it's been a pleasure to introduce them to a few goodies.

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena! Thank YOU for stopping by here! I'm glad you enjoyed the Saveur article. Maida Heatter's recipes are so well written, I love all her books! I actually discovered the Saveur site very recently and would like to spend more time looking around there. Strangely enough, I originally found this article on-line through Google at Sport Fishing Magazine!! The mention of the Saveur test kitchen clued me in that it was probably originally published there. Thanks again for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Yum, I must say that these look so good to me! Don't get me wrong...I do love my chocolate...but fruit, nuts and honey!!!

Cathy said...

Hi Alice - I like chocolate too, but there is much more variety in the upcoming recipes and I'm so looking forward to them! These were very good and I liked the ones for next week even better. I'm already eyeing the ones I'll be making this weekend (for the following week) - I think they should be really good!

Unknown said...

Hilariously interesting fact that I just noticed...not knowing Maida was the name...I started thinking you picked the title 'Mondays with Maida' since 'maida' is the All purpose flour in Indian language! which most of the cookies use as a main ingredient. :)