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Old-Fashioned Spicy Hermit Cookies

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Hearty, versatile, and delicious old-fashioned spicy hermit cookies are soft, delicious, and perfect for sharing.

Hermit cookies on a plate with text overlay.

Full of dried fruits, nuts, and coffee this vintage recipe is to please and become a family favorite. Keep reading for modern takes and ideas to make it more personalized.

Old-Fashioned Slightly Updated

I found this recipe in an old Betty Crocker Cookbook. Apparently, it was a favorite cookie of the late 1800s. Vintage is great but I did make a few updates:

  • I reduced the sugar slightly. it simply felt like way to much for my taste.
  • I toasted the almonds.
  • I grated the nutmeg rather than using dried nutmeg from a bottle.
  • I used butter not shortening.
2 hermit cookies sitting on a white plate sitting on top of vintage cookbook.

Easy Drop Cookies

These are a drop cookie making them easy and skipping all the fuss of rolling or cutting.

However, they do require chill time for best results. It’s only an hour minimum but that time can be easily be split up.

Make the dough one night, bake the cookies the next. Perfect rushed days or after work baking sessions.

Dried Fruit & Nut Choices

I used raisins and almonds in testing this recipe. However, possibilities are truly endless and individual.

Hermit cookies on a white plate with a napkin and cup of coffee.

Dates, dried apples, chopped dried figs, dried cranberries, etc. could all be easily substituted for the raisins. Use what’s on hand or a combination of dried fruits for interesting flavors.

Toasting the nuts first will bring depth of flavor but isn’t necessary if you want to skip it. Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, etc. will all work in place of almonds. Again, use what is on hand or a mixture.

I didn’t test it but I imagine sunflower seeds or even sesame seeds would work in place of the nuts as well.

Spice Variations

Cinnamon and lots of nutmeg seem to be the classic spice combination in these cookies. However, there’s no reason to stay locked into that.

Switch it up to flavors you family favors. Ginger, cardamom, clove, would all be wonderful.

Close up of hermit cookie on a plate with text overlya.

If you do use nutmeg, stick to grating your own fresh from the whole spice. The flavor is simply much better than the ground stuff from the spice aisle.

Optional Decorating

Traditional hermit cookies are plain. And there’s nothing wrong with that, they are a lovely cookie just as baked. However, if you want to try something a little different:

  • Frost with a coffee or chocolate frosting
  • Drizzle with some vanilla glaze
  • Make the cookies small and sandwich them together with icing
  • A little cream cheese frosting would also be delightful on top
Hermit cookies with and without chocolate frosting on a plate.

Big Batch

This recipe yields approximately 4 1/2 dozen large cookies. Make them smaller to get even more from a single batch.

The recipe is easily doubled for cookie exchanges and splitting among several care packages or gift baskets.

Yield: 4 1/2 Dozen

Hermit Cookies

Hermit cookies on a white plate with a blue tin coffee cup.

Old-fashioned hermit cookies are full of spice, dried fruit, and nuts for a hearty cookie that is perfect with coffee or milk.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes


  • 1 Cup Salted Butter, Softened
  • 1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Cold Coffee
  • 3 1/2 Cups Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 Cups Raisins
  • 1 1/4 Cups Chopped Nuts


  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside
  2. Cream together the sugar and butter until soft & fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well. Slowly add the coffee and mix well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir until completely incorporated.
  4. Fold in the raisins and nuts.
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Chill for at least 1 hour, longer okay.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.
  7. Drop the dough by Tablespoons onto prepared sheets. Flatten the dough slightly with the palm of hand.
  8. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden brown and set on top.
  9. Cool on wire racks.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 64mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g

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

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Cheryl - Pook's Pantry

Tuesday 10th of December 2019

These cookies are a great way to use up dried fruit and nuts from the holidays!


Sunday 8th of December 2019

I love vintage recipes! These cookies sound absolutely wonderful and they are ones that I had never heard of before. I can't wait to try them!

Lauren Schmidt

Thursday 5th of December 2019

The updates sound perfect! I love that this is a huge batch, perfect for sharing with friends and family!! I bet you could even freeze the dough to make the cookies as needed!


Thursday 5th of December 2019

Hermit cookies definitely remind me of the holidays, but it has been years since I made any. Thanks for the delicious reminder!


Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

Love the modern updates you made like toasting the almonds and fresh nutmeg! Can't wait to try these.

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