45 minutes plus time to chill dough
about 2 dozen cookies
I've a weakness for molasses cookies of all kinds. The best of them are deeply, darkly, delicious; chewy, both sharp and mellow with spices, and will keep for weeks - that is, if I can hide them from my family long enough. I've never been able to keep any long enough to test how long they'll actually last! Hermits are a traditional cookie in New England, with published versions going back to the 1870s. They keep so well that many sailors on clipper ships were sent off on their voyages with a tin of these cookies. Some maintain that hermits improve as they age.
  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon (262 g) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • ½ cup (1 stick) + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (212 g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¾ cup raisins

Sift or sieve the dry ingredients together, to mix them well and to remove any lumps.

Cream the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl at least twice. Add egg, mix well, then add the molasses, again mixing very well. Add the dry ingredients and raisins, mixing slowly so the flour doesn’t fly all around the kitchen. Stop when the dough comes together and you see no streaks of flour.

Divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces. With wet hands, shape each piece into a log about 1 1/2″ in diameter, about 12″ long. (Wet hands helps keep the dough from sticking to you)

Wrap the dough logs in waxed paper and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to a week. Unbaked logs may be frozen, double-wrapped, to prevent loss of moisture.

To bake: heat oven to 375˚ and line a cookie sheet with ungreased parchment paper. Put two logs on a single cookie sheet, leaving at least 3 inches between them, as they will spread. Sprinkle the tops of the logs with granulated or turbinado sugar.

Bake 17-18 minutes, until the bars are puffy but still soft in the center. Slide parchment with the bars right onto a cooling rack, then let cool completely. Cut the dough strips crosswise into bars, and store the cookies in an airtight tin.

NOTE: recipe may be doubled. 



2 Responses

  1. What is engrossed parchment paper? Embossed, maybe? As in a raised pattern on the paper to let the heat circulate under the cookies?

    • That, my alert friend, is a typo. Thanks to your sharp eyes, I’ll correct it to the proper “ungreased parchment paper”. But if we ever find the embossed stuff, I’m using it!

  2. […] Traditional hermits can last for weeks in an airtight tin – not that anyone leaves them along for that long. Our platter also shows gingerbread hedgehogs, simple molasses cookies, and at bottom left, the simplest and quickest way to mainline chocolate/cherry ever: Immediate Gratification Cookies of Wonder. And yes, some of those links are to old pages; I promise I’ll be updating the recipe archive with them! […]

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