These soft and chewy hermit bars are an old fashioned favorite and they’re VERY popular in our house! Made with molasses, cinnamon and raisins, this recipe is a delicious combination of sweet, spicy, crispy, and chewy all at once. These irresistible hermit bars also keep FOREVER but they’re pretty hard to resist so I doubt they’ll last very long!
These molasses bars are made by baking a “log” of dough that’s cut into bars, much the same as biscotti (p.s. you'll LOVE my Christmas biscotti!). This is what gives the hermit bars their crisp edges and deliciously chewy center.
You can also make them in a square pan if you prefer so that they look more like brownies. It won’t make any difference to the taste so it’s totally up to you. Like one of my favorite expressions says… it’s what’s on the inside that counts!
Why Are They Called “Hermit Bars”?
Hermit bars originated in New England in the 1800s when they were given out to sailors heading away to faraway lands. Once the bars were placed tins, they’d last for months and still be as good as the day they were made. They likely even tasted better over time as the spices developed. I wouldn’t know personally, though, because there’s no way I could make a batch lasts more than a week without them getting gobbled up!
How to Make Grandma Marion's Molasses Bars (Hermit Bars)
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
- Cream the sugar and margarine, add in the eggs and beat.
- Mix in the molasses.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together.
- Combine the wet and dry and mix well.
- Add the raisins.
- Divide the dough in two and make three long rolls from each half on a cookie sheet.
- Built them up as high as possible and fit width-wise across the baking sheet for a thicker, chewier bar.
- Bake in the oven at 375 F for about 15 minutes until the edges are cooked and the middle is still a little underdone.
- Once fully cooled, slice into 8-10 squares.
Some Yummy Variations to Try!
The traditional hermit bars recipe uses raisins but you can add dried cranberries, dried currants, or golden raisins instead. Even use all 3 if you like!
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- Prep Time
- 30 minutes
- Cook Time
- 13 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 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 teaspoons rounded baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- dash of allspice
- Kick the tires and light the fires to 375 °F.
- Cream the sugars and the margarine together. Add in your two eggs and beat in completely.
- Add in the molasses to the margarine/sugar mix and mix in thoroughly.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- 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.
- 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 slightly 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!
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.