Hermit cookie recipes have been popular with homemakers for generations. Grandma made these delicious spice cookies back in the early 1900s when she lived on the Alberta prairie.
There are various forms of hermits, but they all contain spices and most contain raisins and-or nuts.
It's not known when or how their distinct name originated. Some think they were named "Hermits" because they're often dropped separately onto a cookie sheet and have the appearance of a hermit's brown robe.
In any event, you'll enjoy trying these old fashioned cookie recipes. Hermits always turn out moist, chewy, and delicious as long as you don't overbake them!
Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)
1/2 cup shortening, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons milk, 1-3/4 cups flour, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon clove, 1/4 teaspoon mace, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 cup chopped raisins.
Cream together shortening and sugar. Add beaten eggs and milk and mix well. Mix and sift flour, spices and baking powder. Add to first mixture and mix well. Add chopped raisins and mix thoroughly.
Drop from teaspoon 2 inches apart on greased pan. Bake in moderate oven (325ºF) 15 to 20 minutes.
1/2 cup shortening, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1/3 cup milk, 1-1/2 cups rolled oats, 1-1/2 cups flour, 1 cup seedless raisins, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. —Mrs. H. Hughes
Dr. Chase's Third, Last and Complete Receipt Book (1891)
Brown sugar, 1-1/2 cups; 3 eggs; butter, 1 cup; raisins, chopped, 1 cup; sour milk, 2 tablespoonfuls; soda, 1 teaspoonful; cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, of each 1/2 teaspoonful; flour enough to roll out; cut out as in cookies and bake in a quick oven till done.
Miss Parloa's New Cook Book (1880)
Two cupfuls of sugar, one of butter, one of raisins (stoned and chopped), three eggs, half a teaspoonful of soda, dissolved in three tablespoonfuls of milk; a nutmeg, one teaspoonful each of clove and cinnamon, and six cupfuls of flour.
Roll about one-fourth of an inch thick, and cut with a round cake cutter. Bake in a rather quick oven. It will take about twelve minutes. —Mrs. L. C. A.
Second Edition of the Neighborhood Cook Book (1914)
Two cups brown sugar, one-half pound butter, three eggs, one teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, one-half teaspoon soda, three tablespoons of sweet milk, one cup washed raisins, one cup of chopped nuts, about two and one-half cups of flour.
The Perry Home Cook Book (1920)
3 eggs; 1 cup sugar; 1 cup butter; 1 cup seedless raisins; 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, salt; 1 teaspoon soda dissolved in 3 tablespoons sour milk; flour enough to roll.
Do not roll too thin on account of raisins. Bake only to a light brown. —Mrs. Sophia O'Roke
The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1896)
1/3 cup butter, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/3 cup raisins stoned and cut in small pieces, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon clove, 1/4 teaspoon mace, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
Cream the butter, add sugar gradually, then raisins, egg well beaten, and milk. Mix and sift dry ingredients and add to first mixture. Roll mixture a little thicker than for Vanilla Wafers.