Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Now really, who doesn’t love a chewy hermit?

I think I need to clean the camera lens on my iPhone;
I wasn't  going for this "gauzy" effect. In real life, these
cookies are dark brown and filled with raisins.
While we were on vacation in Provincetown, my favorite getaway destination in the world, I got a hankering for a hermit. No, not one of those creepy dudes who live in seclusion out in the dunes on the edge of town. But those dark, wonderfully spiced cookies studded with raisins. There’s a shop (which shall go unnamed) on Commercial Street in Ptown that sells them, but they’re too expensive and the drama quotient in that “angelic” storefront is often too much to bear.
But while picking up some groceries at the Stop & Shop, I eyed a Styrofoam tray of eight hermit cookies near the deli and picked them up. And they were delicious! I limited myself to one hermit per day, and enjoyed every bite.
So now that we’re back home and in our regular routine, I decided to snatch back a piece of Ptown and make a batch of hermits. I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour Company website, and it was really easy and quick. One tip to stress: don’t overbake these brown babies. You want them moist and chewy, not all dried up. Better a little undercooked than overcooked.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup shortening

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
 (I used butter – shoot me)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3 cups All-Purpose or Whole Wheat flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat and I cup AP)
  • 1/2 cup molasses

  • 1 cup raisins, either dark or golden
Preheat oven to 350°F. 

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, shortening and margarine till smooth. Beat in the spices, salt and baking soda. 

Slowly stir in the flour, then add the molasses and beat well again. Stir in the raisins last. 

Pat hermits into a lightly greased pan; mixture will be quite dry. If you're using a half-sheet pan or jelly roll pan, bake for 15 to 20 minutes. If you're using a 9 x 13-inch pan, bake for 25 to 30 minutes. In either case, don't overbake; bars should barely be pulling away from the edge of the pan. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.


  1. I've never heard of this cookie type. I love all those spices and will have to try this in October.

  2. I too have never heard of this cookie. And I have only been to P-town with 6 straight people.
    My life is stunted.

  3. I don't think that I've ever heard of hermits, the cookies not the hairy men, either. Unfortunately, there's no way that I'll be able to make them in Paris because I would have to pay a fortune for shortening at the American grocery store. With all of spices, they would be perfect with mulled apple cider. Yum!

    And I have to ask - you bought 8 cookies, limited yourself to one a day and enjoyed every bite. Does this mean that Peter didn't even get to eat one cookie...or half a cookie...or even a bite!? ;) Just kidding.

  4. Joseph -- life is short: make a batch today. They couldn't be easier!

    Ur-spo -- you'll have to make a trip to the East Coast for a fall visit to Ptown. We've heard that Halloween is a high holy day out on the Cape, and we're thinking of making another pilgrimage. Perhaps you should meet us there?

    Mary Kay -- now i know the perfect hostess gift I can bring you: a large container of good ol' Crisco. Funny the things you can't get in Paris, huh? And while I might be rightly accused sometimes of being selfish with my food :( Peter is not a big hermits fan, and was perfectly content with diving into the assorted other sweets we had stashed away in our rental apartment!

  5. don’t overbake these brown babies




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