Hermit Cookies Recipe

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The Perfect CookiesA New England specialty, hermits are a chewy raisin-molasses-spice cookie with a sweet glaze. We had fond memories of these cookies, but most recipes we tried baked up more hard and dry than soft, were peppered with tough raisins, and tasted overly spiced. Hermits typically involve creaming softened butter, but we knew that melted butter generally makes cookies moister and chewier. Taking this a step further, we browned the butter to add nutty flavor. Pureeing the raisins and ginger into a rough paste and steeping them in the browned butter softened them, distributed their flavor in every bite, and provided the cookies with more chew. Opinions are divided as to how hermits should be shaped. One camp calls for dropping balls of dough to form round cookies; the other calls for the dough to be shaped into logs, baked, and then cut into individual cookies. A side-by-side test revealed that the hermits baked in logs and then cut were much chewier and moister, as the larger mass of dough better held its moisture during baking.

  • Yield: 20 cookies


  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup packed (5¼ ounces) dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons orange juice
How to Make It
  1. Process raisins and ginger in food processor until mixture sticks together and only small pieces remain, about 10 seconds. Transfer mixture to large bowl.
  2. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling saucepan occasionally, until nutty brown in color, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir butter mixture into raisin mixture until well combined; let cool completely.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in bowl. Stir brown sugar, molasses, and eggs into cooled butter-raisin mixture until incorporated. Using rubber spatula, fold in flour mixture (dough will be very sticky). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, at least 1½ hours or up to 24 hours.
  4. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer dough to counter and divide into quarters. Roll 1 piece of dough into 10-inch log on lightly floured counter. Transfer log to prepared sheet and use ruler to neatly square off sides (each sheet will contain 2 logs). Repeat with remaining dough. Bake until only slight indentation remains on edges when touched (center will appear slightly soft), 15 to 20 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then slide cookies, still on parchment, onto wire rack. Let cookies cool completely.
  5. Whisk confectioners’ sugar and orange juice in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze onto cooled cookies and let sit until glaze dries, about 15 minutes. Cut cookies into 2-inch bars before serving. (Hermits can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.)

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