Hermit Cookies

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr 20 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: about 18 cookies
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2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (see Cook's Note)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

Zest of 1 orange

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


2 cups confectioners' sugar

2 large egg whites or a combination of 4 teaspoons meringue powder mixed with 1/4 cup water

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out


Special equipment:
A piping bag
  1. For the cookies: Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice and ginger in a medium bowl and set aside. 
  2. Beat the butter, brown sugar and molasses together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, eggs and orange zest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until incorporated. Add the spiced flour mixture and beat until the dough just comes together. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scoop the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and refrigerate on a plate or baking sheet until firm, about 1 hour. 
  3. Meanwhile, adjust the oven racks to the top and lower third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. 
  4. Arrange the chilled dough balls about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the tops of the hermits are no longer glossy and the edges are firm, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. 
  5. For the glaze: While the cookies cool, mix the confectioners' sugar, egg whites and vanilla seeds in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth and shiny. 
  6. Transfer the glaze to a piping bag and pipe stripes onto the cooled hermits. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cook’s Note

When measuring the flour, spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)

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