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Grandma Marion’s Molasses Bars ( Hermit Bars)

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These  molasses bars ( also known as hermit bars) are a childhood favorite of mine, made by my Grandma Marion when we were at her house. The taste reminds me of summer, of when we stayed with her and my Grandpa when we were off school, these were a favorite snack of ours. And my dad always wants baking that has raisins in it, which I find weird. Some childhood memory thingy, but he asked one day if I had the recipe for this and I did, and it has raisins, thus the dad was happy.

Molasses Bars ( Hermit Bars)
Molasses Bars ( Hermit Bars)

You can tell this is an older recipe with terms like “rounded tsp” and the odd little measurements, but it works, and these are so dang tasty, it’s worth it.

Ingredients Needed:
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup and 2 tablespoons of margarine
2 small eggs
1 1/2 cups of raisins
1/2 cup of molasses
3 1/4 cups of flour
2 rounded tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of allspice

Kick the tires and light the fires to 375

Sigh. Love brown sugar.

Cream the sugars and the margarine together.

Add in your two eggs, as I am wont to do when they are all I have, I used one double yolker-huge egg instead of two small ones.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Add in the molasses to the margarine/sugar mix.

Combine the wet and dry and mix well.

Then add in your raisins.

Divide the dough into two pieces, and from each half form three long rolls on a cookie sheet.

Like this, build them up as high as you can and they fit across a baking sheet, width-wise. When you build them up, you get a thicker, chewier bar. Bake them in the oven at 375 for 13-15 minutes, and do not over/under bake. This from my grandma’s instructions.  So they need to be baked until the edges are cooked and the middle slighty still underdone.

Slice them across into about 8-10 squares when they are fully cooled, needless to say, this recipe makes a large amount, you can end up with 40-60 of the little bars!

Happy Baking!

Karlynn

Learn to cook like the Kitchen Magpie

Molasses Bars

Grandma Marion's Molasses Bars, also known as hermit bars. Chewy, delicious sweet bars for the molasses lovers!

5 from 8 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
13 minutes
Course
Dessert
Cuisine
American
Servings
30
Calories
198
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of margarine or butter
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of raisins
  • 1/2 cup of molasses
  • 3 1/4 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp rounded baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of allspice

Instructions

  1. Kick the tires and light the fires to 375 °F.
  2. Cream the sugars and the margarine together. Add in your two eggs and beat in completely.
  3. Add in the molasses to the margarine/sugar mix and mix in thoroughly.
  4. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  5. Combine the wet and dry and mix well.Then add in your raisins.
  6. Divide the dough into two pieces, and from each half form three long rolls on a cookie sheet.
  7. Build them up as high as you can and they fit across a baking sheet, width-wise. When you build them up, you get a thicker, chewier bar.
  8. Bake them in the oven at 375 for 13-15 minutes, and do not over/under bake. This from my grandma's instructions. So they need to be baked until the edges are cooked and the middle slightly still underdone.
  9. Slice them across into about 8-10 squares when they are fully cooled, needless to say, this recipe makes a large amount, you can end up with 40-60 of the little bars!

Nutrition Information

Serving: 30g, Calories: 198kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 123mg, Potassium: 202mg, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 285IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 1.2mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. ROBERT LYNCH says

    Absolutely LOVELY cookies. 5 stars.

    My substitutions:

    1 cup white sugar (c.f. 1-1/2 cup)
    1 cup dark brown sugar (c.f. 1/2 cup)
    1 cup butter + 2 TBSP olive oil
    1 cup raisins (cf. 1-1/2)
    1 cup apricots, finely chopped
    0 tsp allspice (didn’t have)

    Texture nice and soft, chewy. Once the (really big, really hungry) kids discovered them, the whole batch was wiped out. In an evening.

    This — in my humble opinion — is a MUST REPEAT recipe.
    Love it.
    Just what I was looking for.

    IN THE FUTURE — I intend to “up” the molasses, to use a dark black blackstrap molasses too, and to increase the flour by 20% or so. Just a wee bit stiffer. I also intend to double the apricots, or maybe even triple them. No limits.5 stars

  2. Laura says

    Thank you so much for this recipe!! I’ve been looking for this for years but never knew what they were called.5 stars

  3. Hailey says

    I made these today and substituted 1 cup flour with 1 cup whole wheat flour and I added 1 cup cinnamon chips. They are wonderful!

    5 stars

  4. Kate says

    I’m not so sure you can substitute butter for margarine in this recipe. I just tried it with butter; the dough was really sticky and the logs ran together. I’m sure they’re going to be quite tasty, even if they’re not very pretty.

  5. Maven says

    I’ve a similar recipe, called hermit bars. I swap the raisins for dried cherries (allergy issues), add chocolate chunks and I do use butter. No problems.

    If you cut into them, and see they’re still too gooey, lay out the slices and bake for a few more minutes, like biscotti.

    5 stars

  6. Jennifer Jo says

    These look great. I’m on a molasses kick and I have pounds and pounds of raisins in the freezer….

    5 stars

  7. Joanne says

    I love the taste of molasses. It has such a rustic complex flavor. These bars look amazing!

    5 stars

  8. Megan says

    What a great photo-these look absolutely delicious! I bet the flavors in these bars are just wonderful-I’ll definitely be adding quite a bit of allspice, my family loves the stuff! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, I can’t wait to try it 🙂

    5 stars

  9. Carrie says

    I just made these and they were delicious! Mine did not look like this, however. Mine were a bit darker, and all ran together like a big ole pan of brownies. I made some changes, so if anyone is looking for a variation here’s what i did. Still DELICIOUS.

    Used 2 large eggs instead of 2 small ones, used sucanat instead of brown sugar, used raw sugar instead of white granulated.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    5 stars

  10. Karlee says

    Yummy!!! I will have to try these one someday!

    Now who eats all your baking!!?? I rarely bake because I eat it all!

    • Karlynn says

      LOL! These were for Dad, and I kept them frozen in a bag in the freezer for him. I also bake for the teachers at school on some Thursdays for their meeting, I take baking into work almost weekly to feed all the university girls I work with (that whole mother thing, I can’t help it) and then Mike once in a while to work. Then the kids parties at school coming up, it’s honestly never ending!

  11. Laura Flowers says

    Yay! Cookie recipes long treasured by families are so special. Thank-you for sharing. I’ll be making these!

    Laura

  12. MT says

    Can I use butter? Would I need to make any adjustments? Thanks!

    • Karlynn says

      Butter and margarine generally have the same water/fat content, but I hesitate to say yes for sure because I have never used it. This is a recipe from the days when butter wasn’t affordable OR available, thus built on a margarine base. I notice most of my old recipes are margarine and it must be the affordability of it. But these ARE in essence, a cookie, and cookies are almost always interchangeable with butter/margarine to suit tastes. Let me know if you try and what the results are, I am curious!

  13. Shan says

    Okay, question…if you slice them after baking and they’re slightly underdone in the center…I guess I don’t see how you’re gonna have a nice crusty top like the ones in your picture? Unless those are just the end pieces. And if they’re slightly underdone in the middle, isn’t that gonna make a bit of a mess when you slice them? They look amazing, and I love me some molasses and spice yumminess. But I really like to get it mapped out in my head before trying a new recipe, and I’m just not seeing this, I guess.

    • Karlynn says

      If you compare them to a cookie that you slightly underbake, thus the inside is still a little soft, yet the outside is crisped up, does that help? Those are actually all middle pieces, since the ends aren’t as pretty. By building the dough up tall like shown in one of the steps, the outside cooks faster than the inside. They aren’t supposed to be liquidy inside by any means, just that underdone that you want for chewy cookies. And you do wait until they are fully cooled to slice! I hope that helps you picture it a little better…you don’t want to over bake because you lose the chewiness, So you look for a crisp outside, and a slightly underdone inside. I haven’t screwed them up yet, and I am not a wondercook, so don’t be scared to try them! Err on the side of overcooking so they aren’t raw, perhaps.

  14. Claire says

    I happen to have all the ingredients, AND my grandmother was also named Marion. It must be fate.

  15. Darlene says

    Great! Now I have to bake this afternoon! 🙂 Thanks A Bunch!! 😉

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