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Each summer, my family would make the 8-hour drive up to Cape Cod to visit with step-father’s family. From our very first summer going up there in 1986, we would have lunch at Aunt Millie’s house before going to the cottage for the week. Her little yippie dog would be jumping at our feet, not used to seeing children in the house. My grandfather and grandmother would already be there, sitting in the living room sipping their coffee. And as soon as us kids walked in the door, she would pull out the cookies and set them on the table in front of the big window. I can still picture her clasping her hands and telling us to help ourselves as my brother and I would take a few cookies and a glass of milk. There were always chocolate chip cookies, sometimes she’d have shortbread, but she always had old-fashioned Hermits.
For years, I associated Hermits with our summers on Cape Cod. The slightly spiced cookie dough studded with raisins and walnuts were always perfect in the crisp August air with the slight breeze coming in off the bay. But, I don’t live where its cool enough to be baking in August. Some years, it’s not cool enough to be baking in September either. So, for our family, Hermits have become a Christmas tradition. I took a lesson from Aunt Millie, and bake my Hermits as bar cookies because its easier than making another batch of drop cookies during the busy baking season. One bowl; one pan; no fussing about.
Old-Fashioned Hermit Bar Cookies
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Next, beat in the egg until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add in the vanilla, spices, baking soda, and milk. Mix. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated.
Fold in the raisins and walnuts.
Press the cookie dough into your prepared baking dish.
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.
Allow your Hermits to cool in the pan before slicing. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or you can freeze your cookie bars to last longer.
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