Food & Nutrition

Hermit Cookies

hermit cookies with text overlay

These delicious home-baked Hermit Cookies are soft and chewy, studded with raisins, and have a touch of spice and molasses to transport you to the holiday season. You can stir together a batch in just 15 minutes. The bonus is they actually get better after a day, so they’re a great make-ahead treat!

a plate full of hermit bars with a cup of black coffee

I originally shared this recipe on January 23, 2011. I have updated the images and some of the text today. This post contains affiliate links.

Table of contents

Why We Love This Recipe For Hermit Cookies

Old-fashioned Hermit cookies are one of my favorite New England treats, especially around the holidays! I love that they are so fast to whip together. Just combine the dry and wet ingredients, bake and cut. Really baking doesn’t get any easier than this!

According to the Food Lover’s Companion, Hermit Cookies are “better when hidden away like a hermit for several days.”  In my house, they usually don’t last that long.

The Champlain Valley Cookbook, published in 1880, included one of the first known published Hermit recipes.  It calls for ½ cup of lard and a lot of brown sugar, in addition to the spices and raisins. 

My Healthy Hermits recipe is updated with avocado oil instead of lard and I used whole-wheat flour for a nutritional bonus. I like to sprinkle crunchy turbinado sugar on top for sparkle and texture.

Plus these bar cookies are vegan-friendly because they are made without eggs and can be made with plant-based milk.

Recipe Highlights

  • Hermit cookies are so easy to make – just throw the combined ingredients in a pan and bake!
  • This recipe is healthier than the original due to the addition of whole-wheat pastry flour.
  • You can make these cookie bars for your vegan friends and impress them with your culinary prowess.
  • They can be baked ahead because they are still moist and delicious on the second day.
  • Hermit cookies are bursting with spicy autumnal goodness.

If you love these classic New England Hermit cookies, our Maple Apricot Hermit Cookies are a creative spin on this classic recipe!

the pan of hermits with a black plate with three hermit bar cookies on it

Key Ingredients for This Recipe

  • Flour: We used a blend of whole-wheat for added nutrition and white flour to give these bar cookies chewy rise.
  • Molasses: For classic gingerbread flavor
  • Spices: We used a blend of cinnamon and nutmeg, but feel free to add in a teaspoon of ground ginger to really amp up the holiday flavor.
  • Milk: You can keep this recipe entirely plant-based and vegan by using a nut milk or plant milk of your choice or dairy milk works too.
  • Raisins: Classic hermit cookies have raisins in them. Zante currants, dried cranberries or golden raisins would also work.

Step By Step Instructions To Make Healthy Hermit Cookies

Step 1: Preheat and Prep

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Step 2: Combine Ingredients

Whisk the whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl until they’re all combined. Then, whisk together the sugar, oil, molasses, and milk (or soymilk) in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients gradually, stirring as you go, until all of the ingredients are combined.

Stir in the raisins and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar and transfer the pan to the oven.

Step 3: Bake and Cut

Bake your hermits until the dough is puffed and cracked, which should take about 25 minutes. Let the dish cool before cutting it into 24 squares.

a stack of hermit cookies

FAQs and Expert Tips

Icing The Hermits

Some traditional hermit cookies are drizzled with icing. To ice these hermit cookies: mix together 1 cup confectioner’s sugar and 5 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons milk (plant based is fine) with a whisk or with an electric mixer until smooth. Drizzle over the hermits once they are cooled. Allow the icing to set up for about 45 minutes before slicing the hermit cookies into bars and serving.

What is a bar cookie?

These hermit cookies are bar cookies, which means they are baked in a brownie pan and then sliced into squares once they are cooled. Other hermit cookies are sometimes freezer cookies or slice-and-bake style doughs, but these are so easy to make this way, and the texture is perfect!

What is the point of turbinado sugar in this recipe?

Turbinado sugar is raw sugar so it won’t melt into your cookie. It remains on top and gives the hermit cookie crunchy sweetness!

How do I store hermit cookies?

Once they are baked and cooled, cut the hermits into squares and store them in a resealable container. I like to layer parchment between them. 

What’s the difference between hermit cookies and gingerbread cookies?

Hermit cookies have a similar flavor to gingerbread cookies, but hermits have dried fruits and sometimes nuts in them. Hermit cookies have a soft and chewy brownie-like texture.

How long do hermit cookies last?

You can store them at room temperature for 3 days, or freeze your hermit bars for up to 1 month.

Additional Recipes to Try

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

Print

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Description

These Hermit Cookies are soft and chewy, studded with raisins and have a touch of spice and molasses. You can stir together a batch in just 15 minutes. Bonus is they actually get better after a day, so they’re a great make ahead treat!


  • 1 ½ cup whole-wheat flour, white whole wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup avocado oil or organic canola oil
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup almond milk or soymilk
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl until combined.  Whisk sugar, oil, molasses and milk or soymilk in another medium bowl.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.  Stir in raisins.  Scrape into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and transfer to the oven.
  3. Bake until puffed and cracked, about 25 minutes.  Let cool before cutting into 24 squares.  Layer hermits between pieces of parchment in a re-sealable container.  Store at room temperature for 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.

Notes

Once they are baked and cooled, cut the hermits into squares and store them in a resealable container. I like to layer parchment between them. You can store them at room temperature for 3 days, or freeze your hermit bars for up to 1 month.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bar cookie
  • Calories: 150
  • Sugar: 15 g
  • Sodium: 107 mg
  • Fat: 4.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 2 g

Keywords: hermit cookies ,Hermit Cookie Recipe, Healthy Hermits, vegan hermit cookies,hermit bar cookies

About the Author

Katie Webster

Katie Webster studied art and photography at Skidmore College and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. She has been a professional recipe developer since 2001 when she first started working in the test kitchen at EatingWell magazine. Her recipes have been featured in numerous magazines including Shape, Fitness, Parents and several Edible Communities publications among others. Her cookbook, Maple {Quirk Books} was published in 2015. She launched Healthy Seasonal Recipes in 2009. She lives in Vermont with her husband, two teenage daughters and two yellow labs. In her free time, you can find her at the gym, cooking, stacking firewood, making maple syrup, and tending to her overgrown perennial garden.

Source: healthyseasonalrecipes.com