Hermit Cookies are the perfect stay-at-home baking project! These old-fashioned favorites are filled with dates, walnuts, and whole grains. And they’re lower in sugar, so you can even have one for breakfast!
A few weeks ago in the grocery checkout line, I noticed a woman in front of me buying a bakery item called “Hermit Cookies.” I was immediately charmed by the name, but I had no idea what they were!
What Are Hermit Cookies?
When I got home I looked up these cookies, and learned they’re an OLD recipe, made in America in the 1800s and famous for staying fresh for a long time.
I had to try making a batch of my own, Super Healthy Kids style!
And they were SO yummy: soft, nutty, studded with chewy dates, and spiced with cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. They taste like fresh gingerbread, like coziness and hunkering down.
My kids loved them too… and we all got a big kick out of the fun name. I’m calling these cookies the official cookies of social distancing!
Hermit Cookies Made Healthy
I made some changes to the classic recipe for Hermit Cookies so that I could boost the nutrition of these treats for my family. These cookies are made with:
- 100% whole wheat flour
- Half the sugar of typical cookies
- Heart-healthy walnuts and naturally-sweet date pieces
Since these cookies are not insanely sweet, I’ve been serving them with an afternoon snack and I even think they would work well as a breakfast cookie.
A Note About Coffee
Classic Hermit Cookies have coffee in the batter, and I wanted to keep this unique element of the recipe in our version. There’s only 1/4 cup of coffee in the entire batch, so I’m not personally worried about caffeine. My kids and I can’t actually detect any coffee flavor in the cookies at all!
If you want to avoid caffeine, decaf works just as well. And if you’d rather avoid the coffee question altogether, you can sub in almond milk!
Storing Hermit Cookies
Even though the original stories about Hermit Cookies say they last a long time, I still opted to put a few of mine in the freezer (though it was hard to part with them!)
They froze (and then defrosted) beautifully! I let them come back to room temperature on the counter for about 30 minutes before enjoying.
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup brewed coffee (can use decaf or substitute almond milk)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a light-colored baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Stir dates and nuts into flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter with brown sugar, egg, and cooled coffee.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until well-combined. Refrigerate dough for 10-20 minutes.
- Once dough is slightly chilled (it only needs to be chilled enough to handle) roll it into balls about the size of a tablespoon, or slightly larger. Place twelve balls on the baking sheet two inches apart, and use your fingers to flatten them slightly.
- Bake 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through and just starting to brown on top.
- Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and continue rolling balls until all the dough is used up.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie
Love these. Added 1/4 cup of hemp hearts, used a flax egg and almond milk.
Going to try gf flour or almond/oat flour for the next batch. Love your recipes
Thanks for sharing, Penny!
Hi, if I want to use AP flour, is it going to be the same quantity? thank you!
Angela, yes! Same quantity if you use AP flour.
Can I use regular wholewheat flour instead of white wholewheat? (Do you think kids will still like them?)
Hi Samya, yes! They still turn out well with regular whole wheat.
This was a really nice cookie! It was a hit and miss with my kids….I think they weren’t a fan of the spices. Oh well…. More for me!! I used half almond flour for this and next time I’ll try using all almond flour. I also reduced the sugar. I did find though that they were a little too soft. Would baking them for a few more mins fix that? Thanks for a great recipe!
I’m glad you enjoyed them Jay! Yes, you can try baking them a little longer for a cookie that’s more crisp.
Finally made them. When they’re in the oven smells super delicious, omg!
But didn’t have dates so I used cranberries instead. Still delicious and as you said, didn’t even noticed the coffee. Thanks for everything you share ❤️❤️❤️
Both of my kids (including my 1 yo) loved them, thank you for the recipe!
These turned out perfectly and were SO good for a first day of school treat! Thanks for the recipe!
Hermit cookies are made with molasses and raisins. They definitely do not have coffee in them. These look great, but they aren’t “old fashioned” hermits.