Inspired by the deliciousness of their vegan Gingerbread Biscotti, I also tried the Coffee Shop Hermits (which I renamed Lunchbox Hermits) from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Treat.
The Coffee Shop Hermits, which I am calling Lunchbox Hermits, are as good as the Gingerbread Biscotti. They’re firm and chewy rather than hard, and a little more kid-friendly — so much so that I stuck half of one in Fuzzy’s lunch box. I was out of raisins and used cranberries and candied ginger, but other than that and halving the recipe, I followed the directions as written and was pleased with the results.
I definitely recommend these. Because of all the flavor from the spices, you won’t miss the eggs and butter found in other spice bars. Plus the coffee is an interesting touch. You can use any brewed coffee and I suspect the stronger the better, but even a light roast coffee works beautifully here. If you don’t use coffee, you could probably get away with using boiling water, but I think the coffee adds a subtle background flavor.
And finally, Lunchbox Hermits stay fresh for days! We enjoyed having them around so much that we were disappointed when the last one disappeared. I’ll definitely be making these again every year.
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup coffee strong, black & cooled to room temp
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper plus a pinch more if you like heat
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries plus 2 tablespoons or to taste of chopped candied ginger
- Some sparkly sugar or regular for sprinkling on top
- Mix the oil, coffee, molasses and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cayenne. Stir well. Stir in the cranberries and candied ginger to form a soft dough.
- Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- After dough is chilled lightly moisten hands and divide dough in half. Make it into two logs about 13 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide. Sprinkle the tops with sugar.
- Bake 24 to 26 minutes till edges are lightly browned and the logs feel firm. Cool for 15 minutes (I didn’t). Cut the logs into approximately 2 inch slices (or however you like them). Cool on wire racks.
- Makes 16 large cookies