Small Batch Hermit Bars

Small Batch Hermit Bars are easy ginger and molasses bar cookies baked as rectangles and sliced into bars. The recipe is adapted from one I clipped out of a Reiman Publications magazine. I believe it was Cooking for Two, but am not sure. I have been clipping recipes recklessly and leaving off sources.

Small Batch Hermit Bars

Small Batch Hermit Bars

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mild molasses
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white (large) or 2 tablespoons of egg subsitute
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped**
1/3 cup raisins, plumped and dried OR 1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment or Silpat.

Thoroughly stir flour, brown sugar, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt together in a medium size mixing bowl. Make a well in center of flour mixture.

Stir together molasses, butter, vanilla and egg white. Pour mixture into well; stir until well mixed. Stir in toasted pecans and plumped raisins or cranberries.

Divide mixture in half and shape each half into a 10×2 inch rectangle (approximately). Make sure the rectangles are spaced about 4 inches apart or more on cookie sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges seem browned and bars appear set and aromatic. Remove from oven and slide parchment onto a large cutting board. Slice each rectangle cross-wise into 1 ½ inch bars. Let cool completely.

Makes 16

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  1. says

    I love all of your recipes – but what do you do with all of the stuff you make? I wouldn’t be able to fit in my car if I ate everything I bake – not too mention everything you bake!

  2. says

    These look good, low in sugar and fat, for the most part, and they remind me of a store bought kind of cookie I had as a kid. Hmm, can’t think of what they were.

  3. Janet says

    I have been searching for this type of fruit bar and every recipe I have tried was too cakey and not what I was trying to achieve. This one looks exactly like what I want…thanks so much! It is my son’s favorite type of cookie/bar. I have the cc cookie dough in the fridge and will utilize the waiting time to make some of these per your suggestion;-)

  4. says

    Hi Anna! I’m a British reader and I have no idea what hermit bars are, but they looked so intriguing that I ran straight into the kitchen and made them! My boyfriend’s given them a big thumbs up and they’ve made the kitchen smell all treacley, so thank you for posting it. Any ideas where they got their name from though?!

  5. says

    Kim, I’ve been having a hard time not eating cookies lately, so pretty soon I won’t be able to fit in my car. So what I’m doing now is either making things in small batches or eating one or two and giving the rest away. Usually I give things away. I wish I was more interested in baking things other than sweets. I’d have more to blog about!

    Katrina, I guess they are sort of low in fat. They’re definitely better than some of the alternatives!

    Janet, give these a try. Mine turned out very dense and moist. Granted, I used plenty of raisins. You might really like these. Mine seem moister after a few hours.

    Lysy, thanks for trying them so quickly and reporting back. About the name. I’ve done some research and a few sources say the brown color is similar to a hermit’s sack cloth robe. I also read that it might be a spin-off of “Herrnhutter” — a German or Dutch term used for Moravians.

    Or maybe they call them hermits because you have to keep them by themselves. If you put them in the cookie jar with crisp cookies, they’ll make all the other cookies moist. That’s my theory.

  6. says

    I like all the ingredients on them, but though of Christmas right away! Maybe it’s good to have a bit of Christmas in the middle of Summer. I like their name as well and your theory for it!

  7. says

    What a fantastic recipe. I so love hermits and especially the ones loaded with nutmeg. I have to make these ones.

  8. HeartofGlass says

    Irresistibly, I can’t help thinking of Herman’s Hermits, the band that was famous for singing “I’m Henry the Eighth I am.”

    While not being able to fit into my car is one solution to rising gas prices, yesterday, I had to leave for work early just to avoid inhaling all of your Flourless Peanut Butter cookies, they were so good!

  9. says

    Boy does this bring back memories! My grandmother used to buy these for me when I visited her in Rhode Island. Thanks for the memories!

  10. says

    Made these little Hermits today. I used whole wheat pastry flour. And I overbaked them a bit. They aren’t crunchy, but don’t look as nice and soft as yours. Still good, though. Feel better eating one of these than I do eating one of these NY Times cookies that are amazing.

  11. says

    Thanks for looking into the name of the cookies – I like the ‘brown like a hermit’ explanation. I sent the rest of my batch off with my boyfriend when he visited some friends, but luckily given your comment about them not liking other cookies, they were in a separate bag from the other things I made for him. Phew – disaster averted. His friends all liked them too and they’re on the list of things to be made again!

  12. Katie says


    Strange question. How dark was your batter when you made these? I just whipped up a batch with light brown sugar and black strap molasses and they look as dark as a chocolate cookie batter. i can’t imagine they will look much lighter after coming out of the oven.

  13. Katie says

    okay– they are out of the oven. I’ve never had hermit bars before but these are good. Probably they are better as written. I changed the molasses and used peanut oil instead of butter. They are nice and sweet, though. 1 out of 2 nieces adores them 🙂

  14. says

    Katie, my batter was brown but not as dark as chocolate cookie batter. Maybe it was the blackstrap molasses. Is that something you use on a regular basis? I’ve never tried it.

  15. Katie says

    No– I usually buy grandma’s with the yellow label, but i am visiting my mom and she tends to buy blackstrap. I probably should have mixed it with honey for these cookies. Anyway, they are mostly gone today, so I suppose we can count that as a success!

  16. says

    Janetta, thanks! They did “borrow” my photo and forgot to credit. I always give permission to use photos, but like anybody I expect a photo credit. I emailed eHow. The user who submitted the recipe probably didn’t know any better. Still, they should have at least matched the photo to the recipe.

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