Sometimes when a loved one dies, the family disperses their belongings, not because of greed but so that there’s something tangible to remember them by.
I received the afghan when my grandfather passed away last month.
It’s been in the family since I can remember and even before that.
The crocheted blanket can be seen in numerous family photos, ones of me holding my brand new baby cousins, photos of me and my mom hugging side by side on the couch, posing for the camera with wide smiles.
It sat on the back of my grandmother’s couch waiting to be needed. It comforted the sick, warmed the cold and snuggled the weary.
It hugged my grandfather at night in the nursing home when no one was there to comfort him.
It’s been laundered over and over but still holds its true colors, dark blue, blue, light blue and white.
For more than thirty years it has provided a warm embrace and has eased the distraught.
The afghan now sits on the back of my couch waiting to bring happiness and relief to yet another generation.
As I type, It’s covering over Ethan who is enjoying one of the hermit bars I made today.
You can never go wrong with butter and brown sugar.
Spices add a wonderfully strong aroma to the flour.
You can’t have Hermit Bars without raisins and molasses.
After the dough is chilled for about a half hour, it is shaped into logs and placed on parchment paper.
It will spread in the 375F oven. Once cooled, it is cut with a serrated knife into bars.
Deliciously warm gingerbread-like bars.
- 2 cups plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground cloves (I used allspice)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 3/4 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Sift flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a medium sized bowl.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, beat until combined. Add molasses, beat until combined, scraping down sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and raisins and beat on low speed for about a minute, until dough comes together. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Divide dough into two equal pieces and shape each into a 12 inch log placed 3 inches apart on the parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake until golden brown and still soft to the touch, about 20-22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool before cutting into bars.
They keep extremely well, hence the name. The rich spicy flavors improve a day or two after baking.