Hermit Cookies

Here’s another in my series of cookies that are not the prettiest cookies on the block, but pack a sweet and perfect taste that will make it really hard to keep your hand out of that cookie jar.  Hermits are soft, sweet spice cookies that are packed with raisins and walnuts and deliciousness.  Why are they called hermits?  I have no idea (and if YOU do, please tell me?)…what I do know is that I love them.  Love. Them.

They are also the simplest thing in the world to make.  Shortening (yes, you need to use shortening), sugar and eggs, flour, baking soda and spice, and a generous amount of walnuts and raisins all get mixed together, and then you drop the batter in generous teaspoonfuls on a cookie sheet.  12 minutes later you have warm and wonderful cookies that are like a little baby spice cakes in cookie form.

It’s enough to make you hide away with the whole jar of them and a pot of tea all by yourself, eating them one by one with no social contact whatsoever.

Hey, wait a minute…


Hermit Cookies
Serves: About 30 cookies
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk flour, baking soda, all the spices and the salt.
  3. Put shortening, both sugars and eggs in a mixer and beat at high speed until well combined.
  4. Add flour on low speed, and then stir in raisins and nuts.
  5. Drop generous teaspoonfuls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake until lightly golden, about 12-14 minutes. Cool on rack.


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  1. ruthie says

    Not at all my kind of cookie – allergic to walnuts, don’t like raisins or cloves, but figuring out the name grabbed me. LOL! The best explanation I saw was that they are best if left alone for a while, like a hermit. So, I guess these are meant to be aged a bit to what? Mellow or soften? My mom made some Danish cookies that would break your teeth when fresh but were perfect after about a month’s rest in a cookie jar. Heh. Maybe those should have been called hermits. 😉

  2. Sue says

    Yes, I always heard that hermits have good keeping qualities – they can be hidden away, like a hermit or recluse. This recipe looks delicious!

  3. Ellen says

    Oh, thank you, Kate! I used to love hermit cookies as a kid, but haven’t thought about them in years. Good one to make on a very snowy day! Question – What do you use for shortening? Crisco, butter or something else?

  4. Leah says

    Funny you should post this recipe today – I was just talking to my daughter about hermits last night. She was telling me how she has been eating oatmeal for breakfast to be healthy, but generally doesn’t like things baked with oats (my hermit recipe contains rolled oats and was originally found on a Quaker Oats box many years ago). This recipe uses butter or margarine instead of shortening (I have even begun using coconut oil recently). I also like to use white raisins instead of dark. I like them best right after they’ve been baked, when they’re sltill slightly crispy and chewy. The spice flavor develops quite nicely as they sit, but as you noted, they usually don’t last long enough for that to happen! http://www.ehow.com/how_5146_make-oatmeal-hermits.html

    • Kate says

      Ooh, I will definitely have to try the oatmeal version – I am a BIG oatmeal fan! And right there with you on the golden raisins. :)

  5. says

    I am anxious to try this recipe because I have fond memories of them from my past. However, I wish to add that a more healthful solid shortening is made by “Spectrum” that is non-hydrogenated. And, of course to be found at markets that offer natural/organic products.

    • Kate says

      Butter can be substituted for shortening in equal amounts. However, cookies made with all butter will spread more and have a darker color. You might want to try chilling the dough and keeping the oven temperature slightly higher than usual. Y

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