Gluten Free Vegan Allergy Friendly Hermit Bars

Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Seed Free, Top 8 Allergy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

I don’t know how else to say this but…you absolutely MUST try these cookies.  I’m so serious!  If you are not familiar with Hermits, they are a soft and chewy raisin spice cookie.  Yes, a bar is a type of cookie!  It has all the best flavors of the season with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Imagine gingerbread but waaaay better.

The cookie dough is mixed all in one bowl at one time, and the ingredients are all pantry staples.  I brought the Hermits up next level with a simple icing that offsets the spicy molasses and ginger.  The beauty of Hermits is that they get even better as the days go on, softer and a deeper flavor.  They keep fantastic and freeze great as well.  Truly, Hermits are the ideal holiday cookie!

I’m asking you no, BEGGING you to try these.  I promise you won’t regret it!  Let’s kick off the 12 Days of Holiday Cookies 2021, gang, and remember life is short so east dessert first…safely!  💙👩🏻‍🍳🎄

Ingredients and Substitutions

Safe shortening/butter – So I tested this recipe so many times to get it right and my very favorite version was done with shortening, either Spectrum or Crisco.  I prefer this to any vegan or regular butters because I found it keeps the Hermits much softer and chewier.  You can absolutely use your safe choice, or either a combination of safe butter and shortening, but I had to add my professional opinion!  Regular dairy butter will make a crispier cookie bar. 

Gluten Free or Regular Flour – This cookie bar can be made with either regular all-purpose flour or gluten free flour.  If using a gluten free flour blend, stick to the 140 g. per cup and use a blend that has xanthan gum.  Add ¼ tsp. per cup of flour if it does not have it.  Remember all gluten free blends are different with different densities there will have to be minor adjustments depending on the one you use, but they are minimal.  I use King Arthur Flour Measure for Measure gluten free flour blend.

Molasses – Molasses is essential for the recipe!  It not only gives flavor and moisture but the acid in the molasses reacts with the baking powder and soda to help the Hermits rise.  This is extra important when working with gluten free baking.  I have always safely used Grandma’s and Wholesome brands.

Raisins/Other Dried Fruit – Traditionally a Hermit is made with raisins but feel free to swap out for dried cranberries, cherries, currants, apricots or even chocolate chips.  I won’t tell!

**As always, please check which brands are safe for your needs**

Gluten Free Vegan Allergy Friendly Hermit Bars

Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Seed Free, Top 8 Allergy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Author: Katie Martino Lopez

Mixing/Chilling Time: 10 minutes to mix, 30 minutes chilling

Bake Time: 20-25 minutes

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Total Time: approximately 1 hour

Yield: about 24-32 Hermits, depending on how wide they are cut

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • ½ c. (4 oz.) vegan or regular shortening (preferred fat) or your safe butter option
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce OR 2 eggs
  • ¼ c. (2 oz.) molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ¼ c. (12 oz/350 g.) all-purpose gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum OR regular all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ c. raisins or other dried fruit
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ c. confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbls. safe milk (may need a DROP more)

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder and soda, salt and raisins and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or in the bowl of the stand mixer, add granulated sugar, shortening or safe butter, applesauce or eggs, molasses, and vanilla. Start mixing to combine and add dry ingredients.  Mix the cookie dough until well combined.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice to incorporate.
  3. Chill the dough 30 minutes. Alternatively, the dough can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 2 months.  Thaw Hermit dough in the refrigerator before use.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. On a parchment lined sheet pan, shape the Hermit dough into 2 logs, 12 inches long by 3-4 inches wide. If you are having a hard time shaping the dough, sprinkle water on your hands to help form the logs. Flatten slightly.
  6. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes, gluten free and vegan versions will take a bit longer. Be careful not to overbake, the dough is soft but sets up as it cools ESPECIALLY the gluten free version!
  7. Cool Hermits on a wire rack. When mostly cooled, slice each bar on a diagonal about ½” wide.
  8. When cooled, prepare the icing but whisking together the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and safe milk. It needs to be thick to dry, if it’s too thin the cookie will just absorb the icing and it will run off.  A drop more may be needed.  Let air dry until set.
  9. Hermits will keep for up to a week at room temperature in an airtight container.

Recipe Note

  • Hermit bars freeze fantastic either unbaked or baked. If you freeze baked bars, thaw and then ice.  If they are iced before freezing the icing will break down.
  • Be careful when baking not to over or under bake-there is a sweet spot! The Hermits set up as they cool, and you don’t want a dry texture.
  • If you’re not a raisin fan, then go ahead and try any other dry fruit! They are all very complimentary to the spicy flavors of the Hermit.

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Disclaimer

As we all know, reading labels and preparing food when managing allergies is a job within itself with much responsibility. All the brands I use are ones that I have contacted, and Casey has eaten safely. That being said, I must remind…

Please do your own research when deciding which products and foods are safe for the allergies you manage. These are the ones that are safe for our needs but may not be for you. Everyone has different comfort levels with manufacturing and production procedures.

And, as a friendly reminder, always have 2 epinephrine auto injectors on hand!

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