I’ve talked many times about how my family would eat Sunday dinners at my grandma’s each and every week. She shared a duplex with her youngest sister, and one of my great aunt’s claims to fame were the poor man’s cookies that she’d make on a fairly regular basis. The cakey bar cookies were heavily spiced, had raisins and walnuts in them, and that had a boiled icing poured over top. They were one of my very favorite treats when we’d visit my grandma’s and these hermit cookies remind me so much of them! There are no nuts, but the flavor is so similar that I’m taken back to those Sunday afternoons with each and every bite.
These hermit cookies actually have raisins and crystallized ginger processed into a paste and incorporated into the batter. I love it, as you get the flavor of raisins with each and every bite without having them dispersed throughout the entire cookie.
I have a feeling that these would be a perfect holiday cookie, as they’re full of spice and molasses, but if I learned anything from the way my grandma fed her family and friends, it’s that there’s no reason to save the good stuff for a special occasion. The most mundane of days spent with loved ones is reason enough to make and eat something fabulous.
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- 1 cup (145 g) raisins
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
- ½ cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoons (0.25 teaspoons) ground allspice
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) salt
- ¾ cup (165 g) dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (168.5 g) molasses
- 2 eggs
- 1½ tablespoons (1.5 tablespoons) orange juice
- ¾ cup (90 g) powdered sugar
- Process the raisins and ginger in a food processor until the mixture sticks together, about 10 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until nutty brown in color, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and allspice, cook for an additional 15 seconds, then remove from the heat. Stir the butter mixture into the raisin mixture until well combined; allow to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
- Whisk the brown sugar, molasses and eggs into the raisin mixture until thoroughly combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture (the dough will be very sticky). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1½ hours, or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to bake, adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into quarters. Working with one piece of dough at a time, transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10-inch log. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and square off the sides. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, placing two logs on each baking sheet.
- Bake until only a shallow indentation remains on the edges when touched, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the parchment to wire racks to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle the glaze onto the cooled log and let sit until the glaze hardens, about 15 minutes. Cut logs into 2-inch bars. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
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Hi- could you clarify something for me? In reading the recipe, it sounds like you end up with 10-inch, round logs. And then later cut off 2 inch bars. Yet, your pictures look like the cookies are flat, not 2 inch hunks off a log. I am trying to figure this out. They look delicious! I really want to try them.
Excellent, reminded me of my childhood! I might add a just bit less molasses next time and a bit more sugar, not sure which kind. I made a second batch without eggs, substituting flax and chia seed mixed in water for a few minutes for binding. I liked that cookie even better!
I can’t wait to try these! Do you think they could be made as a drop cookie? And could I freeze the dough so I could make a few on demand?!
Hi Talia, I’ve never tried that, if you do, please let me know how they turn out.
I made these last weekend and they were delicious! Reminds me of visiting a favorite great aunt when I was a kid. We had never tried them with icing so I iced half the batch and we all liked them even more with the icing. I’m making them again for our camping trip next week and the only change I’m making is adding some whole raisins in the batter. I’m going to go back to see if there’s any comments about freezing the dough because I’m going to want these more often than I have time to make them :-) Thank you for the recipe.
What does “square off the sides look like (step 6)?
Using a knife, just trim off the round edges so they are square.
I would LOVE to try making these! They look just like the kind we used to buy at the grocery store but can no longer get.
I do have a question: how thick (high) and how wide is each log supposed to be when it is rolled out?
Hi Sue, I didn’t measure the height or width of the logs… just get them to 10 inches long and you should be fine!
Squeeeeeeeeee! I have been looking for the right Hermit bar recipes forever! This also bring back childhood memories, and I’ve wanted to replicate them. They’re such a classic cookie, and many people have never heard of them. I agree– Christmas is not the only time to enjoy them. Your photos are stunning, and I am so excited to bake these. Muwahh!
My daughter just tried an end piece of one of these – her eyes got big and her smile got very wide and she gobbled it down. :) I made them to freeze for an upcoming reunion and now I know they will go over splendidly. Just delicious! (I was a little short on raisins so I also added three dried apricots and a small handful of dried cranberries to the puree.)
I couldn’t remember what these cookies were called, but my Grandmother used to make them and we would fight over them. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
I haven’t had hermit cookies in ages. They sound so good right now!
What a wonderful food memory! Thank you for sharing.
OMG – I remember my Mom making Hermits, but I think hers were drop cookies. Thanks so much for the recipe!
I love unique cookies! I think every family has their own. Hermit cookies is an awesome name, they sound similar to a ginger snap but these have some extra ingredients that I’ve never tried. Exciting. :)
I loved your story about your Grandmother and Great Aunt. My Grandmother and Great Aunt also lived together for about 20 or so years after my grandfather died. And Sunday dinner was our big time – and Grandmother always had HER special cookies in the crisper drawer of her refrigerator waiting on a grandchild to come along! Such great memories – and great recipes that only I got from them because no one else ever asked for them.
These cookies sound great – I’m going to try them this weekend! Thanks again, Michelle for sharing your memories!
There used to be a bakery in town that made the BEST hermits and these look VERY similar!
I can’t wait to try this recipe. I worked in a bakery while attending college and the baker made the best hermits ever. I have never been able to find a recipe that compares but this one looks like it has the potential for sure.
I will be making these!
I’ve never had a hermit cookie, but I adore gingerbread and other spicy cookies. I’m going to have to try these very soon. Maybe on Sunday!
I love hermit cookies! They’re a blast from the past – my grandma used to make them! I also loooooooove molasses and any time of year other than just before Xmas I get very giddy when I see recipes using it! Pinned :)
I remember hermits from my youth in Maine. No such thing in Australia. The first thing I looked for were the raisins. I’d pick those out and save them for last. Weird, I know. I really like this recipe.
I made hermit bars for the first time last year for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Your recipe sounds equally delicious. And I agree, there’s no reason to only save the good stuff for special occasions.