Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grandma's hermit bars

My sister-in-law threw me a lovely bridal shower last spring. Knowing my fondness for cooking, she asked all the guests to contribute a favorite recipe, and compiled them into a little book for me. It was such a thoughtful gift! I love flipping through it, not only for the recipes, but also for the memories and connection to family and friends.

Have you ever heard of hermit bars? I tasted them for the first time a year or two ago at Andrew's grandmother's house, and I was excited that she contributed the recipe for my shower. They're kind of cakey in texture, humble and homey in spirit, and filled with raisins and spices. The flavors are perfect for fall. I'm not sure how they got their name - if you know, please share!

I didn't change much in this recipe, except to use white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose (as usual), and a combination of brown and white sugar instead of all white. The hermits came out great - perfect for an afternoon snack (and mid-morning snack, and dessert, and breakfast...)

Hermit bars
Recipe from Andrew's grandmother

2 cups raisins (I used golden)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Cover raisins with cold water in a small pot or saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes and then drain and cool.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat mixture together until well blended. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in raisins and walnuts. Spread batter in prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.


  1. I think the name comes from the fact that there are similar in taste to hermits (which are usually flat) but are baked as bar cookies like brownies. They are yummy!
    Mary Anne

  2. Guess I should have picked something other than anonymous from the drop down list!!

  3. I just made them, modifying the recipe as follows:
    I used a combination of brown sugar and agave sweetener
    tossed in some ground flaxseed (a good amount, but I didn't measure it)
    and pecans instead of walnuts

    and they came out great. If anything, sweeter than necessary, so next time I'll cut back a bit more on the sweeteners. The raisins add sweetness.

    Thanks for inspiring me!


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