With lots of raisins, chips, dates and nuts. Made with mashed sweet potatoes for that extra vitamin A. Kids or the young at heart can pour in ingredients or help with the mixing!

Hermits (the cookies) are an old New England tradition.

1⁄3 cup butter plus 1 tablespoon, soft

1⁄2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 egg

2⁄3 cup mashed sweet potatoes (preferably plain, baked and mashed without milk or butter)

1 tablespoon molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour plus 1 tablespoon 

1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash salt

Dash dried cloves

Dash allspice

1⁄2 cup raisins

1⁄2 cup chocolate chips

1⁄4 cup chopped dates

1⁄4 cup chopped nuts

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Combine butter with sugars. Beat in egg, mashed sweet potatoes and molasses. Stir in vanilla.

Combine flour with baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a large bowl.

Then stir raisins, chips, dates and seeds into the flour mixture. This keeps them slightly coated before cooking so they don’t sink to the bottom during cooking.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture in the large bowl, pour butter mixture in and fold in the butter mixture until all ingredients are just combined. Make sure all fruits and nuts are evenly distributed and that the dough is moist enough to cling together. If dough is too dry or crumbly, you may add 2 to 3 more tablespoons of butter or of water, but try to stir these additions in without too much stirring and refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes if you have to add the extra ingredients (this also helps the dough to not be tough).

Grease a cookie sheet and drop small spoonfuls of cookie batter onto the greased cookie sheet, about 1-inch apart. Keep dough refrigerated in between putting cookies on the cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 F for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are still soft but fully-cooked inside.

Here’s a special, unusual treat for a snack, lunch or as a side for dinner.

Strawberry salsa with Cinnamon tortilla chips

2 cups chopped strawberries

1⁄2 tablespoon very finely chopped mint

1 tablespoon orange juice

2⁄3 teaspoon organic grated orange rind

Dash balsamic vinegar (to taste)

2 teaspoons local honey

Combine thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Put salsa in fridge for at least one hour. Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar.

Note: You may add some red pepper (dash or up to 1⁄4 teaspoon) according to your taste if you want sweet and spicy salsa for dessert. Start with just a little red pepper and add more if desired.

To use this as a regular dinner salsa, Strawberry Hot and Sweet Salsa, add both red pepper (1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon of the spice, to your taste) and at least 1 medium chopped red bell pepper, from jarred, charred red peppers, or more jarred red peppers, according to your taste.

Cinnamon Tortilla chips

6 large tortillas




Use a cast iron pan. Cut tortillas into 1⁄8ths or whatever smaller size you want to eat as chips.

Combine about 1⁄2 teaspoon of cinnamon with 1⁄2 cup of sugar and taste. You can add a lot more cinnamon if desired. Adjust cinnamon and sugar ratios to what you like, remember that this will be sprinkled over chips cooked in butter. You may want to experiment by trying different amounts of cinnamon and sugar over the chips and see what you like. You could also try dipping the cinnamon and sugar chips in the Sweet Strawberry Salsa and see what tastes the best to you.

Melt 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter in the cast iron pan and brown the chips, one layer of chips at a time. Flip the chips when one side has browned, usually just a minute or two. Add more butter if needed. They will get crispy and have bubbles, which are delicious. Make them as brown and crispy as you like.

Remove browned chips from pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

If cinnamon sugar isn’t sticking on the chips well, grease a cookie sheet and arrange the chips on it. Sprinkle the chips again lightly with cinnamon sugar, and bake at 350 for about 5 minutes or until they get fully hot and the cinnamon sugar sticks well.

Serve cinnamon tortilla chips warm with strawberry salsa.

— Mel Baker is an experienced chef, caterer and cafe manager. She resides in York County and has published “The Noisy Oven” since 2006. Email her a [email protected]