Gingerbread Hermits

Preparation info

  • Makes about

    4½ dozen

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

The Cookie Lover's Cookie Book

The Cookie Lover's Cookie Book

By Richard Sax

Published 1986

  • About

An old-time soft bar cookie, based on a Rhode Island recipe from my friend Mary Codola. They remind me of the bakery in the small town where I grew up, which baked only a few kinds of cookies, but each one was special. The hermits were my favorite—moist, chewy, and with plenty of raisins and spices. And Mary’s are even better.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • cups light brown sugar (slightly over 1 pound)
  • 4 eggs
  • cup molasses
  • 4 cups flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably grated fresh
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup coarse-chopped walnuts or pecans

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour three baking sheets (or sheets of foil); set aside.
    2. Beat the butter in an electric mixer at medium speed; then add the brown sugar and cream the mixture until light, about 3 minutes. Add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, then the molasses, beating until smooth.
    3. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt onto a sheet of wax paper. Lower the mixer speed and beat in the dry mixture just until blended. Add the crystallized ginger, raisins, and nuts; do not overmix.
    4. With your fingers, form the dough into six “logs” two on each baking sheet. Make the log shapes as long as the baking sheets, and about 1 inch high and inches wide, spacing them well apart, as they will spread as they bake. Beat the remaining egg; brush the logs lightly with beaten egg.
    5. Bake the hermits on the center rack of the oven until golden, but still quite soft. Check carefully; timing Can vary from 10 to 14 minutes, but these cookies should not be overbaked. Place the baking sheets on a wire rack to cool; then slice the logs into bars 2 inches wide and store airtight. Hermits keep well for several days.