Old-Fashioned Hermit Cookies

Old-fashioned hermits with raisins and nuts
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 Dozen (48 Servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
97 Calories
4g Fat
15g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 Dozen (48 Servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 97
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 89mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Protein 1g
Calcium 18mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although there is no clear answer about the origin of the name of these cookies, Hermits have been an American favorite since before the 20th century and might be a recipe adapted from famous European spiced pastries. Whatever their origin might be, the truth is that these special treats are well embedded in many people's childhood memories, and now can be part of your cooking repertoire with very little effort.

These easy brown sugar drop cookies are flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and beautifully carry dry fruit like raisins or dates. We use chopped walnuts, but using pecans, almonds, or pistachios is also an option. Use the Hermits as an afternoon treat, lunchbox snack, or mid-morning coffee break treat. Double the amounts to give some away to friends and family, and keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup coffee (brewed, cold)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Optional: dash ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dates (or raisins)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

  3. Lightly grease a cookie sheet, or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.

  4. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

  5. With the help of an electric mixer, or in the large bowl of a standing mixer, beat the vegetable shortening, butter, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

  6. Once the fats are creamed with the sugar, add the egg and cold coffee. Beat on low speed until well blended.

  7. Little by little, add the flour to the butter mixture and stir until well combined. Use low speed to fold all of the ingredients into a sticky dough. Stop the mixer once you have a nice creamy consistency.

  8. Fold in the dates or raisins and the nuts.

  9. Drop the cookie dough by rounded teaspoon or small cookie scoop onto the prepared cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. The heat will make them spread and by putting them too close you risk them sticking to one another.

  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until light brown.

  11. Remove the cookies immediately to a cooling rack. As they cool off, the texture will get chewier.

  12. Enjoy!

Expert Tips

If you are making more than one batch of cookies:

  • Use parchment paper to line the cookie sheets and speed up the process. While one batch is baking, prepare another sheet of parchment paper with drop cookie dough. When the first batch is baked, slide the Hermits off onto a rack. Carefully slide the loaded sheet of parchment paper onto the cookie sheet and continue baking.

If you want to pre-make cookies but are not ready to bake:

  • Drop cookie dough onto a baking sheet and then freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen cookie dough drops to freezer bags and label the bags with the date. When you're ready to bake, put them on prepared baking sheets and let them stand at room temperature for about 30 to 45 minutes before baking as directed. The frozen drops of dough will keep in the freezer for 3 months.