New England Hermits

These classic bar cookies, spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg and studded with raisins, are adapted from a recipe in the 1880 New Cook Book. Their long shelf life makes them perfect for giving as gifts.


  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1⅓ cup raisins, roughly chopped

Heat oven to 375°. Stir milk and baking soda in a bowl; set aside. Whisk flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk mixture and with the motor running, slowly add dry ingredients until dough forms. Fold in raisins and spread dough evenly into a greased 13" x 18" baking sheet. Bake until golden and firm, 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, and then cut into 2" squares.