The best hermit cookie bars you’ll find! Similar in taste to a gingerbread cookie, these hermit cookies are soft and chewy and made with ginger, molasses, and raisins.
For those that know me, know that I’m a bigger fan of savory than sweet. So baked goods aren’t usually on my agenda, but I had to share these New England Hermit Cookie Bars that were actually shared with me by my husband! A Boston Massachusetts native, when he was growing up he would find these cookies in a local bakery and purchase them by the bag for a couple of dollars.
How to Make New England Hermit Cookie Bars
Start your hermit cookie bars by greasing your pan. I like to use both crisco and flour to make sure that nothing sticks.
Then take a large mixing bowl and add in the flour to mix your dry ingredients.
To the flour, add in your warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
Then add the salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
Whisk all of the dry ingredients together, and then set this bowl aside.
Then in the bowl of your stand mixer, add your brown sugar.
Add your softened butter to the brown sugar, and cream them together until fluffy and creamy.
Then pour in your molasses while mixing on low.
Then add in your eggs, and mix until fully incorporated.
With your mixer on low, slowly add your dry ingredients until fully mixed.
Finish by folding in your raisins, weither with a wooden spoon or your mixer on the lowest setting.
Take your dough and spread it evenly on your prepared baking sheet. Toss them in the oven at 350 for roughly 17 minutes.
Let the hermit bars cool, then cut into squares with either a pizza cutter or a knife.
Serve and enjoy your New England Hermit Cookie Bars!
- Swap the raisins. You could use other dried fruits or nuts in place of the raisins.
- Add some chocolate. Plenty of people will throw in some chocolate chips with their hermit cookie bars.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you store hermit cookies?
Hermit cookies store well. Up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature and they will still taste great!
Why are hermit cookies called hermits?
Because of it’s longevity, this cookie was often sent with sailors and other travelers as something to eat on longer journeys. So it traveled, as hermits often did.
What’s the easiest way to cut cookie bars?
Use a pizza cutter or knife and cut them into squares (or any shape you prefer).
More Sweet Snacks
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls
- Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Did you try this recipe and like it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.
Whip up a batch of these soft and chewy hermit cookie bars for your next cookie swap, classroom party, hostess gift, or holiday open house!
No fork required.
New England Hermit Cookie Bars
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
- 1 cup butter (softened – preferably unsalted)
- ⅔ cup molasses
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups raisins
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour one standard jelly roll pan (standard cookie sheet) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves.
- With the mixer on medium, beat together brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in molasses then egg and mix until well combined.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Use a spoon to stir in raisins.
- Scrape edges of the bowl with a plastic spatula to get the mixture together in a ball then scrape out onto a cookie sheet.
- Flour hands then carefully press dough into even layer on the floured cookie sheet.
- Bake 17-19 minutes depending on oven. Typically I'll spend half the time on the top rack and the other half on the bottom. Remove from the oven when toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool completely before slicing into bars.
Best hermits I have made! Easy recipe and they came out perfect! I baked them for 22 minutes for my oven
Perfection! Makes my home smell of Christmas morning. This is my goto for our Christmas gingerbread. Its a keeper. Yummy, moist and delicious. So easy to assemble. Thank you again for sharing this recipe!
Hi! Plan on making these to send to my son in CO. Can someone kindly verify the pan size? I have both 15″x21″ & 11″x17″ sizes.
Thank You SO MUCH!!
17.25 x 11.5-Inch
Thank you for the recipe and I plan to bake these soon. I am from Boston and I was speaking with my mom. She is 101 years old. We were remiscing and spoke about HANLEY”S BAKEY in West Roxbury. Long gone now but they made the best Hermits. They were baked in long strips about 3 inches wide and then sliced 3 inches long. Fabulous. I dont know how long they lasted as we were a family of 5 and they were all gone by the next day. They also made a Pecan Praline cookie. A Lace ike cookie with a chocalte drizzle. DELICIOUS!
How many pieces do you REALLY cut? The recipe says 64 servings. Is that right? That seems like way too many for a standard cookie sheet. My guess is it would be closer to 15 per pan. Thank you!
It really just comes down to how big you want them, and the size of your cookie sheet! I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, so we cut small rectangles.
Two thumbs up. My oven took 22’minutes
Thank you! Great recipe
I have these in the oven right now Massachusetts born and raised the only difference is is I soak my raisins in hot coffee for 20 minutes then drain before I use them..
Your recipe made me warm and fuzzy with memories of my Grandma’s kitchen. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for a delicious, simple recipe, Liz! Your recipe is uncomplicated, baked up beautifully in a standard half-sheet baking pan, and the flavor profile is perfect, as far as I’m concerned. Thank you for sharing your recipe!
I’ll pass on the praise to my husband, so glad you enjoyed!
These cookies had the perfect flavor profile, but was a disaster in my oven.
There are two possible reasons for the fail. First, maybe I used the wrong sized cookie sheet? Please specify the dimensions. I did my best to match using the photo of the pan with a hand in it.
The second reason for the possible fail is my high elevation. I do plan to work to fix this recipe to work well where i live, as a displaced Rhode Islander, I have fond memories of my neighbor’s Hermits, which she also sold in local stores.
Even though these bubbled up, overwelming the cookie sheet, and spilling onto the oven floor, my partner and I found the non-burned parts irresistible.
So sorry that happened! What elevation are you at?
It sounds like I had the same issue as Juno. If I look closely to the illustrations, the picture of the floured jellyroll pan has the corner of a second jello roll pan, greased. The measurements given are for 1full recipe, but I suspect that it should be split between two “regular” sized pans. I used one pan
and it came very close to breeching the edge and spilling over. I cooked it for 30 minutes before the center looked like it might hold up when cooled. Other than that it went together easily and looks great. As others, I grew up with Hermits as a regular treat. We didn’t call them cookies, maybe because we spread the dough in narrow strips and cut them in bars so they all had edges. I will try that next time with a 1/2 recipe. Thank you for the recipe!
Hi Carolee! We use one large jelly roll pan every time. We’ve never used two pans for this recipe. I’m not seeing any photo with two pans either. I like using one large pan. Enjoy!
In NH my entire life and these are a staple. Yummmm came out great
I am also from Portsmouth, with all of.the new add ins of old, I add 1/4 cup of poppy seed and flax seed to my nanny,s hermit recipe. That’s both equaling 1/4 cup together…so yum yum
That sounds delicious!
Thank you for this! I am also from Massachusetts, these remind me of childhood. I had forgotten they existed but I had leftover molasses to use up from making gingerbread at Christmas and I found this recipe. I cut the recipe in half, it only made 27 cookies for me, but that’ll last me several days. I made them with gluten-free flour and they came out great. Yum!
So glad you liked them!
For the 1/2 batch recipe, please change the butter amount in parentheses (it says 2 sticks softened which equal 1 cup) – the 1/2 recipe calls for 0.5 cups of butter. I almost added too much butter by not reading carefully. Mine are in the oven and smell great – my elderly father from Massachusetts, who now lives down south, asked me to find a recipe and make them. Thanks!
The quantities for halving or doubling a batch is done automatically by a program, so I’ll see what’s up with that, thanks for letting me know!
I am going to make 1/2 batch of these this afternoon while my husband is out bowling. I am so excited, cannot wait for him to leave so I can get started. We are both from Portsmouth, NH (now living in CT), and Hermits have always been one of our favorites. I know I can give this 5 stars because of the ingredients. I have made Hermits before but it has been years !!! I do not care for any type of glaze on these. To me the glaze ruins the Hermits.