Back a few weeks ago, I went crazy looking for a cookie recipe I made at Christmas. I looked through 10-15 cookbooks and dozens of magazines and couldn't find the recipe. Finally, I picked up a magazine that was rolled to another recipe and found what I was looking for. During that process, I began looking at a number of different desserts and recipes and came across this hermit bar recipe.
When I was growing up, I loved hermits. I loved the spicy flavors of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. It was strange, I think I was the only one of my friends who liked hermits. I sometimes think of hermits as "an adult" cookie. Sometimes you have to acquire a taste, especially when you say there is molasses in the cookie. I still haven't figured out people's fear of molasses but I do hear "I don't really like molasses" (quite often) when I have a spice cookie or bar.
When I decided to make the hermit bars, I kept thinking of my friend, Diane Dias, who makes these amazing cookies called Dipped Ginger Snaps. They are a hit when I make them during the holidays because people like the white chocolate dip. As I was making them, I thought I might have some fun and dip them in white chocolate, too.
The hermit bar recipe was from the cookbook, The Great Christmas Cookie Swap by Good Housekeeping. It has 60 large batch recipes for people who attend cookie swap parties and need more than four dozen cookies. I have made a number of recipes from the book including Sally Ann Cookies and Cocoa Wedding Cake Cookies.
The recipe was very easy to put together and there is nothing better than when you bake cookies in logs. With my convection oven, I can bake three cookie trays at once with 2 hermit logs each on the tray. Fifteen minutes later, I am basically done - including clean-up. When the first set of hermits came out of the oven, I put pictures of them on Instagram and started getting comments on how much people love hermits. Then I posted more photos on Facebook and by the time I was done, people were asking for the recipe. I was shocked at all the people who liked hermits. I took a batch (about 4 dozen) to a class I taught on Thursday night and people LOVED them. I feel bad that it has taken me a week to post this recipe. And the best part...people loved the white chocolate frosting!
If you are looking for an old-fashion cookie with a great spiced flavor - yes, there is molasses in them, too - try this recipe. You will be pleasantly surprised at how many people LOVE hermits.
Hermit Bars with White Chocolate Icing (Adapted from Good Housekeeping)
- 6 cups of flour
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
- 3 cups of brown sugar, packed
- 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) of butter, room temperature
- 1 cup of molasses
- 3 large eggs
- 3 cups of raisins
- 2 cups of white chocolate or vanilla chips
- 1 tablespoon of shortening
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Put aside.
2. Using a mixer, place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl and cream the butter and sugar together. About 2 minutes.
3. Add the molasses and blend, then add the three eggs, beat until well incorporated. About 1 minute.
4. Add the dry ingredients and blend until the mixture is almost together, add the raisins. Once the cookie dough has come together, remove from mixer.
5. Using 3-4 cookie sheets, place two hermit logs per tray. They should be 2 inches wide by 12 inches long and about 1 inch thick and 3 inches apart. These will double in size.
6. In a 350 degree oven, bake for 15-20 minutes. The tops will be almost dried and flattened (slightly cracked) with golden edges.
7. Remove from oven and place the cookie sheets on cookie racks and allow them to cool for 15 minutes.
8. Remove cookies and place on a cutting board, cut the cookies on the diagonal to create bars, about 1 inch apart.
9. Using the microwave (on high) - place the white chocolate chips and shortening in a dish and microwave for 30 seconds, stir the mixture. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds and stir again. If all the chips are melted and smooth, you can start dipping. If they still need more melting, microwave in 15 second increments. You don't want to burn the white chocolate because it will seize.
10. Place aluminum foil on the cookie sheets and begin dipping the cooled hermits, placing them to dry on the foil. Dip the ends or the sides in the cookies. I dipped the ends on a few, the sides of a few and left some plain. If the white chocolate starts to get stiff, microwave for 15 seconds to loosen the mixture.
Hope you LOVE them as much as we did!