New England Hermit Cookie Bars

4.51 stars average

With a delightful resemblance to gingerbread cookies, these delectable treats boast a soft and chewy texture, crafted with a harmonious blend of ginger, molasses, and raisins.

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time17 minutes
Total Time37 minutes

new england hermit cookie bars 2

Discover the ultimate hermit cookie bars! With a delightful resemblance to gingerbread cookies, these delectable treats boast a soft and chewy texture, crafted with a harmonious blend of ginger, molasses, and raisins.

New England Hermit Cookie Bars.

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.


  • Flour: Provides the structure for the cookie bars.
  • Warm spices: Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves all give these cookie bars a delicious, warm, autumn-like taste.
  • Baking powder & baking soda: While these cookie bars don’t need to rise a whole lot, the baking powder and soda do give the necessary lift.
  • Salt: Balances out the sweetness, and enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Brown sugar: Has a deeper, richer flavor of sweet compared to white sugar.
  • Butter: Adds moisture to the dough.
  • Molasses: Aids in giving the signature flavor to many baked goods, including gingerbread, as it has a darker, more caramel like flavor.
  • Eggs: Eggs act as the binding agent in baking cookies.
  • Raisins: Adds texture and pockets of added sweetness to the hermit cookies.

How to Make New England Hermit Cookie Bars

Greased and floured pan

Start your hermit cookie bars by greasing your pan. I like to use both crisco and flour to make sure that nothing sticks.

Adding flour to mixing bowl

Then take a large mixing bowl and add in the flour to mix your dry ingredients.

Adding cinnamon to bowl

To the flour, add in your warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

Adding salt to flour

Then add the salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

Whisking dry ingredients

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together, and then set this bowl aside.

Adding brown sugar to mixer bowl

Then in the bowl of your stand mixer, add your brown sugar.

Adding butter to

Add your softened butter to the brown sugar, and cream them together until fluffy and creamy.

Adding molasses to

Then pour in your molasses while mixing on low.

Adding eggs to batter

Then add in your eggs, and mix until fully incorporated.

Adding dry ingredients to wet

With your mixer on low, slowly add your dry ingredients until fully mixed.

Adding raisins to batter

Finish by folding in your raisins, weither with a wooden spoon or your mixer on the lowest setting.

Spreading out hermit bars dough onto pan

Take your dough and spread it evenly on your prepared baking sheet. Toss them in the oven at 350 for roughly 17 minutes.

Cutting hermit cookie bars

Let the hermit bars cool, then cut into squares with either a pizza cutter or a knife.

Picking up a New England hermit cookie bar.

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, like chopped walnuts or cranberries!
  • 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).

New England hermit cookie bars.

More Sweet Snacks

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Liz enjoying new england hermit cookie bars.

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 2

New England Hermit Cookie Bars

4.51 stars average
With a delightful resemblance to gingerbread cookies, these delectable treats boast a soft and chewy texture, crafted with a harmonious blend of ginger, molasses, and raisins.
PREP: 20 minutes
COOK: 17 minutes
TOTAL: 37 minutes
Servings: 64

Recipe Video


  • 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)
  • 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.


These cookies age well and can handle air exposure. They are very moist and last several days (if they last that long!)
Slicing Tip: A pizza slicer is a great way to ensure even slicing.


Calories: 105kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 1gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 80mg

125 thoughts on “New England Hermit Cookie Bars”

  1. Hi I’m a Massachusetts girl I loved these growing up your recipe is AHH!MAZING I CANT WAIT TI THEY COOL ! TY TY. PS I agree no icing needed

    1. Hi Leslie!! I make these all the time and so have thousands of people. They are fool-proof, I promise!! Did you use a baking sheet? They should be baked in the same type of baking sheet you bake cookies with.

  2. I am from Massachusetts but moved when I was 20. Now at 74 I will have hermits again! We always loved them with raisins and walnuts. Love the idea of soaking the raisins in coffee.

  3. I was raised in Maine and now reside in Florida. I made these yesterday and they are by far the most irresistible cookie ! Shared them with my quilting friends and some with neighbors! Everyone loved them. Several people requested the recipe! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  4. cheryl i nevin

    I hope these taste like the ones that Market Basket sells. Iam from Portsmouth, NH and live in Florida now and they are not sold here.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!!

    – Karen

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

    1. 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.

  9. 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..

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

    1. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

    1. 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!

  15. 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.

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