“Hermits” are an old-fashioned New England specialty. It is said that they got their name because they keep well, like old hermits. Hermits are bar cookies and their distinguishing characteristic is the use of a combination of spices and molasses which is not usually seen in cookies. Traditionally, raisins are used, but this recipe uses dried cranberries, or “craisins”.
I like the buttery taste of black walnuts. I use them in this recipe because there were several black walnut trees in my neighborhood in the mountains of North Carolina, but they may be hard to come by commercially, appearing and disappearing at Christmas. When I can’t find black walnuts, I simply use regular walnuts. I was lucky to live for a time where black walnuts were plentiful, although not all that easy to crack!
This recipe could not be simpler, easier or quicker! The only thing you have to remember is to soften the butter, but once that is done and the oven pre-heated, you can make and bake the hermits in 30 minutes.
Hermits are the ultimate pack & send cookie as they get better with age – sort of like some people I know!
- 1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temp
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup chopped black walnuts
Pre-Heat oven o 350 degrees
and prepare a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper spritz with oil.
- Mix flour, soda, salt, and spices.
- In a bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar.
- Add the egg and molasses beating after each addition.
- Add the dry ingredients mixing well, and then the cranberries and nuts.
- Spread the mixture into the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
- Cool completely in the pan placed on a rack, and when cool cut into squares or rectangles.