Have you seen or heard of hermit bars? Did you know today is National Hermit Day? You didn’t? What rock have you been living under? Ha—get it, hermit—under a rock. aheh These hermit bars might be one of the easiest bars/cookies I’ve ever made—and that I think you should make, too. They are perfect for this time of year because they have those delicious spices we all love in the fall and winter. They have cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. If you just want to make them for the smell they bring to your home, it’s worth it and then why would you not eat them? ;)
Not only do I want to share these hermit bars with you, I also want to share the information and news about a fantastic cookbook you’ll want ASAP, well, or maybe as a holiday gift. It is written by one of my “oldest” and favorite bloggers! Anna from Cookie Madness has a cookbook available next week—just in time for the holidays! Anna worked long and hard on this book, The Daily Cookie, 365 Tempting Treats for the Sweetest Year of Your Life and I’m so happy for her. I’m happy for me, too—she was nice enough to send me one! What a nice surprise to see MY name in her acknowledgements. Did not expect that. All I did was get the pleasure of trying out a few of her recipes in the testing stages along the way.
Anna and I go WAY back to 2008 not long after I started my blog. Not sure how I ever became aware of Cookie Madness, but it was quickly one of my favorite blogs (hello—it’s cookies as well as other delicious treats!). Anna and I got to chatting in emails and such and talking about the loves of our lives—cookies. ;) Along the way, I have made too numerous to count recipes from her blog. We have been on collaborations together with cookies like the Levain Bakery Copycats to our Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies (as well as the Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Oatmeal Cookies (my favorite) and the Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Double Chocolate Cookies). I have made more treats from Cookie Madness than any other blog. I was lucky enough to meet Anna at the Food BlogHer Conference '09 in San Francisco. We hung out most of that weekend and look forward to being able to do it again sometime—let’s make it New York City or Chicago next time! ;)
I was also lucky enough to do a guest post at Cookie Madness when Anna and her family went on an Alaskan Cruise last year, so I made Baked Alaska. Oh, that reminds me I loved it and need to make Baked Alaska again. So good!
Anyway, can we get back to The Daily Cookie, please! I love the book—there is a different recipe for every single day of the year and it’s not just things like National Chocolate Day or the basics like that, though they are all mentioned on each day. Anna has chosen some really fun things and delicious recipes to go with them—let’s take my birthday, for instance. November 15 (Hey, that’s coming up!) Who knew, but that day is also America Recycles Day—a day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the U.S. Anna says to celebrate, try putting an old cookie in a new cookie and she shares a peanut butter sandwich cookie cup that is part peanut butter cookie and part sandwich cookie. And how cool is it that I am HUGE on recycling and will now celebrate recycling for my birthday!
I could go on and on and tell you about more of the days and recipes in the book, but this is just a book you must have of your own. It is available (starting November 5) from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as Indie Bound. But guess what? One lucky Baking and Boys! reader will win a copy of The Daily Cookie, by Anna Ginsberg from me! Anna shared with me, so I want to share with you!
Let’s play Giveaway! Here’s all you have to do: tell me in a comment your birthday (no, you don’t have to give the year). After a winner is selected randomly, when I post about it, I’ll tell you what your lucky Daily Cookie recipe is from Anna’s book. And I’ll have Amazon ship the winner the book as soon as it is available, November 5. That’s next week! Simple, simple! On you mark, get set---GO!
Leave a comment with your birthday, you have until Sunday, November 4 at midnight. I will pick a winner on Monday and have your book sent as soon as you’re notified and I hear back with an address to send it to. Going to have to limit this giveaway to U.S. residents only.
Before you leave a comment, let me tell you a little more about these hermit bars—which are today’s cookie as I mentioned at the beginning of this post because today is National Hermit Day.
“National Hermit Day—If you enjoy being alone, today is your day. No one really knows the origin because it was probably thought up by tight-lipped hermits, but the internet has declared it National Hermit Day and that’s a good enough excuse to make some hermit cookies.
Hermit cookies are made as bars or cookies and use ingredients with preservative qualities, such as molasses and spices. Perhaps that’s why they’re called hermits: A hermit could take them to the woods and keep them for a long time before having to return to civilation to buy more cookies. This particular hermit is the bar form. It has no eggs or butter.”
Hermit Bars, from The Daily Cookie, by Anna Ginsberg, adapted ever-so-slightly by Katrina, Baking and Boys!
1 1/2 cups (6.8 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/4 cup mild molasses
1/3 cup whole or 2 % milk
1/2 cup raisins, regular or golden (I used regular)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 tablespoons shredded or sweetened coconut flakes or oats, for garnishing (I used oats)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch square metal pan with nonstick foil, or regular foil spray with cooking spray.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and sugar. Whisk together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the oil, molasses and milk. Stir them together with a wooden spoon just until combined. Stir in the raisins and walnuts. Spread the mixture over the foil lined baking pan. Sprinkle with oats. Bake for 25 minutes. Let the bars cool completely in the pan, then lift from the pan using the foil edges to pull it out of the pan. Remove the foil and cut on a cutting board into eight bars. (Or 16 if you want smaller bars.)
I love these hermit bars! They are seriously one of the most simple things to make and if you like sweet spicy treats, these are perfect—and according to Anna, you can just go be a hermit, hide out and have these for a long time (if you don’t eat them all in one sitting!). I love that there is not butter and eggs, not just because that makes them a little bit healthier, but also because you don’t have to remember to get those things out of the refrigerator so they are at room temperature. Simple one-bowl preparation with ingredients you most often have on hand. Before you know it, you have a treat….I was going to share…but be a hermit with these hermit bars. Go off to a corner and eat them all alone. You should…in honor of the day…well at least if you make them today. I have liked hermit bars for a long time. I think WAY back when, I used to buy them at a grocery store. Never do that again. They are also almost vegan—you could make them vegan by using coconut or almond milk or something instead of regular milk. I’m going to try that as soon as these are gone and I think I’ll also try whole wheat pastry flour. Healthy treat!
Thanks so much, Anna—for the book, and for all the inspiration and sharing your recipes on your blog all these years. Now, everyone, go tell me your birthday in a comment!