These cookies are all about world peace, man.
About a month ago my eyes were opened to the horrors of the chocolate industry. I'm sure there are many people who are unaware that slavery still exists, sadly it does, and the chocolate industry is one area where it is rampant. If anything could make it more disturbing, it's that these slave's are typically children. Now I don't want to go on a rant here, so I strongly encourage you to do your own investigation, but I want to stir your emotions with this: up to 40% of the chocolate we buy and eat comes from cocoa plantations that use slavery as means to cut costs, or simply because the farmers are so impoverished they are unable to pay for workers. This really hit a nerve with me and I realized that even though I try to eat as healthy and organically as I can, even being mindful of where that food comes from, I was missing a huge element; the "who" that is inevitably involved in the production of food.
So I've made a choice to only buy fair trade, organic chocolate from now on. This seemed like an easy decision at first, but if you're someone that loves chocolate and loves to bake with it, this can be a challenge. You have to look a little harder for fair trade chocolate; a brand I like is Camino. Not every store carries it, but health food stores are a good place to look. Fair trade chocolate is much more expensive than the regular stuff. In reality it's more reasonably priced because the farmers receive a better salary, allowing them to support their families and pay for workers rather than resorting to forced labour. Furthermore, there was a time when chocolate was a luxury, I mean it's certainly not domestic to Canada, and I've gained the mindset that I need to treat it that way in my life. A big change from the mindset of "it's my right to eat these peanut butter cups!".
So my encouragement to you is this: remember the who in the food you eat.
I came across Sante's Hermit Cookies and could not resist the urge to bake these beautiful darlings immediately! Of course, I wanted to put my own spin on them. I used spelt flour, replaced the allspice with freshly grated nutmeg and added dried apricots and dark chocolate pieces in place of the currents. Kept the walnuts in there, cause, well I wanted them all to be friends. And the name, Hipster Hermit Cookies, just felt right.
These turned out awesome, and I will be using this recipe whenever I'm urning for a little something more that the usual chocolate chip cookie.
Thank you 101 Cookbooks for the inspiration!
hipster hermit cookies
1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (a little less if you prefer, the fresh stuff can be pretty potent)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried apricots
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup fair trade dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or by hand), cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. Blend well, scraping down the side of the bowl a few times along the way. Add the apricots, chocolate and walnuts. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the milk. Cover and chill for one hour.
Drop the cookie dough (one level tablespoon at a time) onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving an inch or so between cookies. Dampen your fingers with a bit of water and gently flatten the dough. Bake for 12 -15 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are deeply golden. Cool on a wire rack.