Nan's Recipes: Harwich Hermit Bars

Harwich Hermit Bars

I've had this recipe for so long I don't know it's source. Harwich is a town on Cape Cod, once a whaling spot, and hermits were a heavily spiced cookie that sailors took out on ships, the spices rendering them tasty on their lengthy voyages. The list of spices is long. You could probably shorten it but if you use them all, the taste is complex and delicious. As to the fruit list, the original is below but of any combination, about 1 cup, of dried fruits (including dried cranberries or dried cherries) will work. I'd recommend keeping the dried orange pieces for their tang. I double the nuts to 1 cup.

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup citron
1/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup dried raisins
1/4 cup candied orange pieces
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs and molasses and beat well.
Sift flour with salt, baking powder and spices.
Stir fruits into a bit of the flour to keep them from sticking together.
Combine all and mix well. Batter will be thick.
Spread with a knife in a buttered 13" by 9" jelly roll pan.
Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes until done and the edges are slightly browned.

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