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Hermit Bars Recipe

Old-fashioned hermit cookie bars are a sweet, chewy, and rich treat perfect for serving in our modern kitchens.

This perfect dessert has all the traditional flavors you’ve come to expect from the New England classic – molasses, coffee, spice, raisins, and nuts – in an easy to bake bar form.

These chewy hermit bars are a delight to serve with hot coffee for a simple but amazing dessert or afternoon snack.

A slice of hermit bars on a white plate with a glass of milk and remaining cake pan full of bars in the background. Text overlay reads: old-fashioned hermit bars.

A Hearty, Easy Dessert

Like hermit cookies these bars are thick and hearty. They are a filling dessert full of a sweet richness that gives them a comforting feel.

These chewy bars don’t need much – there’s no need to make frosting or dress them up in any kind of way. Simply bake the bar cookie and delight in the simplicity of a recipe that has been around since the early 20th centuries.

The great thing about cooking this traditional recipe in bar form is that it skips all the individual cookies and multiple cookie sheet trips in and out of the oven but still gives you all the sweet taste you’d expect.


The full recipe below contains 2 1/2 teaspoons of combined spices. I went with the traditional cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. However, you can feel free to change it up in anyway you like.

Prefer more nutmeg than ginger – go for it. Use cardamom or allspice instead. Toss in apple pie spice instead. Truly most any of the warm spices you like will work here.

A slice of hermit bars on a white plate with remaining cake pan full of bars in the background.

These are a spice cookie bar – I suppose you could skip the spice all together and that it would it still be a tasty treat, just not traditional.

I used salted butter but if you choose to use unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt with the spice mixture.

Dark Molasses Flavor

I used blackstrap molasses and dark brown sugar to truly make the molasses bar flavor stand out.

A lighter molasses would work but change the flavor profile and color slightly.

Light brown sugar too will work, don’t run to the store just to buy dark brown sugar if you don’t have it on hand for this recipe.


I used walnuts, it feels most traditional and I almost always have some on hand.

A close-up of a hermit bar on a plate exposing the nuts and raisins inside.

However, there’s no reason that you couldn’t substitute pecans or almonds, or truly any nuts you have in your pantry. Just give it a rough chop.

How to Serve

As I said, this hermits recipe is meant to be a simple dessert. While it looks a bit like a spice cake, honestly serve the bars as you would any homemade cookie recipe.

Serve pieces with tea or coffee or a glass of milk and keep it quite easy and delicious.

A slice of hermit bars on a white plate with a glass of milk and remaining cake pan full of bars in the background.

If that feels just too plain for company, dust slices with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

A scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream would also be delicious.

During the holiday season, add them to cookie trays and gift baskets.

How to Store

Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap or aluminum foil or store in another airtight container. Leftovers will stay moist and delicious for up to 4 days at room temperature.

For longer term storage the bars can be frozen. Simply cut pieces and place into freezer containers or bags and freeze.

Thaw frozen bars on the counter prior to serving. Use up any frozen bars within 6 months for best flavor.

These do freeze delightfully well so feel free to double the batch and freeze extras for later.

Yield: 9 Servings

Hermit Bars

A slice of hermit bars on a white plate with a glass of milk and remaining cake pan full of bars in the background.

Sweet and spicy, old-fashioned hermit bars are hearty and full of comforting flavor in an easy to bake up treat.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 2 Cups Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons Instant Coffee
  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Blackstrap Molasses
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4 Cup Raisins
  • 1/2 Cup Walnuts, chopped


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 9 inch square cake pan or line with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, and instant coffee. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl or bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the molasses and egg to the butter mixture and beat until fully incorporated.
  6. Add the dry ingredients tot he wet ingredients and mix until almost completely combined.
  7. Fold the raisins and chopped nuts into the soft dough and mix until combined.
  8. Press the batter into the prepared pan evenly.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted tester comes out clean.
  10. Allow the pan to cool on a wire rack prior to serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 369Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 239mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 2gSugar: 30gProtein: 5g

We try our best but cannot guarantee that nutrition information is 100% accurate.

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