Marshall Field’s Hermit Cookies

Marshall Field’s hermit cookies with mocha frosting

Prep: 25 minutes Cook: 12 minutes per batch Makes: 4 dozen


Chicagoans still mourn the conversion of Marshall Field’s to Macy’s. From myriad reader requests we received, it looks like baked goods from store’s restaurants and bake shops are among the most-missed elements. Readers Ruth Mendoza-Pavlik of Plainfield and Patty Anne Formusa of Melrose Park each wrote in search of Marshall Field’s hermit cookie. Somewhat a signature for the department store, the 3 ½-inch, nut-studded molasses cookie was spread with mocha frosting. The recipe, from 1948, changed little during the more-than-40 years it was featured. The recipe called for inverted sugar, a fine sugar used in many bakeries. We just used granulated.

1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup molasses
4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon, salt
1/2teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 cup each: currants, raisins

Mocha icing:
5 tablespoons butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons hot coffee

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Dissolve soda in buttermilk in a small bowl; set aside. Gradually cream butter and sugar together in a separate bowl; beat well. Add eggs and vanilla to sugar mixture; beat well. Add molasses and buttermilk mixture; beat well.
Sift together flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Mix dry ingredients to wet mixture. Mix in nuts, currants and raisins. Drop dough by heaping tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes per batch. Cool on wire rack.
For frosting, cream butter, gradually adding confectioners’sugar, cocoa and salt. Add hot coffee. Beat until creamy. Spread thin coating of mocha icing on hermits.
Nutrition information

Per serving: 171 calories, 35% of calories from fat, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 22 mg cholesterol, 26 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 87 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

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