Hermit cookies are pretty new to me, but apparently they're big in New England. My wife is from New England and when I was thinking of something new to make she insisted on these. Since they have molasses in them I figured it would have to be worth a try and it was. With some cranberries (or raisins) these were soft and tasty. It's a new household favorite.
I made these in a pan so they're really hermit bars, but to make them as cookies simply drop them onto a cookie sheet instead.
Step 1: Ingredients
Aside from choosing to make these as a bar or a cookie, the big choice is what to put in them. I'm not a huge fan of raisins or walnuts so I went with cranberries instead. I've heard that the raisin and walnut combination is good, too. Just make sure that the total amount of stuff you add in is one cup and you'll be fine.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup of raisins, nuts, cranberries, or some combination
preheat oven to 350 F
Step 2: Mix It Up
Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the cloves together in a small bowl.
In another bowl, use a mixer to beat the butter and sugar together. Then beat in the egg and molasses.
Add the flour mix in increments to the second bowl, beating it together until it's just combined.
Stir in the extra ingredients such as raisins, nuts, or cranberries.
Step 3: Spread
Butter and lightly flour a 9x13 pan.
Spread the dough evenly across the pan with a spatula.
If you want to make hermit cookies, instead of bars, place balls of dough onto a buttered cookie sheet instead.
Step 4: Bake!
Put the pan into an oven for 15 to 20 minutes (less for cookies). Test with a toothpick and if it comes out clean then you're ready to pull it out of the oven.
I've heard that the hermit cookies are named as such because they do better with a little time alone to let the flavors settle. Someday I'll let that happen and see if it's true, but these are generally gone within a day.