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Hermit Bars


Rich with molasses, hermit bars are spicy, old-fashioned treats that keep for days. Martha made this recipe on episode 706 of Martha Bakes.

  • Yield: Makes 24 bars

Photography: Yossy Arefi


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 3/4 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Butter parchment; set pan aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and cloves; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl once. Add molasses; beat until combined and scrape down sides of bowl. Add the flour mixture and raisins; beat on low until dough just comes together, about 1 minute. Press dough into prepared pan. Bake until golden but still very soft to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into bars. Hermit bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Cook's Notes

The dough can be frozen, wrapped well in plastic, for up to one month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.

Reviews Add a comment

  • sheisthesunngm
    23 AUG, 2016
    Made this recipe tonight, and created an account just to leave this review (I don't leave reviews on anything). NOT the hermits I grew up loving. Followed the recipe, and instead of dense and chewy molasses bars, I got lighter, cakey bars that just tasted like gingerbread. Will not make these again, and wouldn't even call them hermits. Time to hunt down my great grandmother's recipe.
  • missyvanmenk
    11 OCT, 2013
    Yesterday I wrote about the temperature of the oven. I will leave it at the temp mentioned in the recipe. I cooked the hermits for a bit longer than the mentioned time. They were really soft after 22 minutes. I will take them out of the oven as I think that they should be really soft so that they are chewy when dry. There is definitely too much baking soda. You can taste it in the finished bars. I would make one addition and that is a bit of lemon peel. These are really good. Thanks
  • missyvanmenk
    10 OCT, 2013
    I just mixed the dough for these hermits. Easy enough. I added walnuts although I don't remember there being walnuts in them. I loved these cookies as a child. I have one problem. Is the oven temp in a fan oven or in a contemporary one? I have the heat at 180 C as I live in Spain. 190 C is the same as the amount used in the recipe.
  • madelinedipaola
    20 NOV, 2010
    I've made this recipe a few times now and it has definitely become a favorite. I replace 1/2 cup of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour and add use a full cup of raisins. I also use about a tablespoon less of the brown sugar to compensate for the raw sugar that I put on top of the bars before baking. Several people have said that this recipe is better than the hermit bars you can buy in the organic section.