The name “hermit” is used for two different types of cookie.
Both are rich spiced cookies with raisins, and often, nuts in them. But one is a drop cookie, very similar to Boston Cookies, while the other is a rolled out or flat version made as “bars.”
The base for both is butter, flour and either white or brown sugar. Some versions use molasses as well as sugar.
The flavouring is cinnamon and nutmeg; some versions call for some lemon or orange zest to be added.
Some versions use coffee as the liquid.
When made as a drop cookie, more liquid is used.
When made as bars, they come out soft and chewy, about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick, with raisins and nuts. To make them, they are extruded from a cookie press in strips about 3 inches (7 1/2 cm) wide, and cut into 2 inches (5 cm) lengths.
In America, it’s becoming the norm to make them in strips. Sometimes in Chicago people used to spread the finished bars with maple icing.
In Canada, the drop-version is still made.
Sometimes a recipe would make a stiffer dough, that you rolled out and cut with a cookie cutter.
Hermit Cookies are usually just referred to as “Hermits.”