Chocolate Hermits
Cookies,  Desserts,  Snacks

Chocolate Hermits

Dick’s Hermits, my mother-in-law’s classic chewy molasses-spice cookies, pack a flavor blast of epic proportions. (See original and gluten-free versions.)  In our original post, we call her hermit “the spice equivalent of a decadent chocolate cookie.” But wait…could that “decadent chocolate cookie” also be a hermit—a chocolate hermit?

Could there be a deeply flavorful, chewy chocolate cookie with the same signature cracks on top? A chocolate cookie made the same, easy way?

We got a glimmer of that possibility when we received an email from Recipephany follower Frieda from Texas. The photo of Dick’s Hermits reminded her of the chocolate hermits she’d loved decades ago. So she reached out for help in finding—or creating—a recipe.

No, we’d never heard of such a thing. But we were up for a challenge. So with input from Frieda (now an ad hoc member of Recipephany Test Kitchens), we rolled up our sleeves and concocted this fudgy adaptation of Dick’s hermits.

A Texas Twist

Frieda remembers the small, local bakery in her hometown of Houston that produced these unusual cookies.

“I had no idea the spice cookies were called hermits,” says Frieda. “But they were chewy, full of flavor and looked just like the ones in your picture. The bakery (which has long since closed) also made a chocolate version. I’ve searched for years trying to figure out a recipe or something similar.”

Lots of Fudgy Flavor

So we set to work. Switching from spices to chocolate posed some problems. While molasses helps makes a hermit chewy, too much overwhelms the delicate flavor of cocoa. And with all the cocoa needed to make it fudgy, we had to cut back on flour and add more sugar. We also punched up the chocolate flavor with a little coffee powder and lots of vanilla.

And here you have it. Our winning version has the deep, dark, fudginess and tender bite you’d expect from a hermit. And the same sugary, crackled top.

In fact, you could even call it “the chocolate equivalent of a decadent hermit cookie.”

Chocolate Hermits

  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour  
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso or coffee powder
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • Sugar to sprinkle on top (about ¼ cup)
  1.  Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare a cookie sheet by lightly greasing or lining with parchment paper.
  2. Beat together oil, eggs, molasses, vanilla and sugar about a minute. On low speed, mix in flour, baking soda, salt, coffee powder and cocoa until thoroughly combined, about a minute.  Dough will be a little sticky.
  3. Wet hands and make two sausage-shaped logs about 2 inches in diameter, placing them lengthwise on the prepared cookie sheet. Leave at least 3 inches between logs to allow for spreading. Flatten each log to about 3 to 3 ½-inches wide by pressing lightly with the bottom of a glass dipped in water, or by using slightly wet fingers. Sprinkle sugar on top.
  4. Bake about 9-13 minutes, until well cracked on top. Interior will look underdone, but will be cooked. 
  5. Cool. Cut into about 1½ – 2-inch strips.
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