These old fashioned hermit cookies recipes have been popular with home cooks for generations. Grandma first made these delicious spice cookies back in the early 1900s, when she homesteaded on the Alberta prairie.
There are various types of hermit cookies, but they all contain spices and most contain raisins and-or nuts.
It's not known when or how the distinct name of these cookies originated. Some think they were named Hermits because they are often dropped separately onto a cookie sheet, and others say they have the appearance of a hermit's brown robe.
In any event, you'll enjoy trying these homemade cookie recipes. One thing to remember about hermits is, Do Not Over Bake Them, and they always turn out moist, chewy, and delicious.
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 (350°F) 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. Mix and bake at 350°F. —Mrs. H. Hughes
Dr. Chase's 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 (375°F) 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 (400°F). 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. Bake at 375°F.
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 (350°F) 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. Bake 375°F.