This is a recipe from one of my most looked-at books, called The Ultimate Cookie Book. I've had the recipe bookmarked to cook for years but have never made it because CT didn't really like dried fruit in cakes or cookies. Now that I'm not cooking regularly for CT, I can branch out into different areas, although FB comes with her own set of things she doesn't like or won't eat!
These bars certainly look like the illustration in the book; they are basically a lot of dried fruit and nuts held together by a small amount of very moist, heavily spiced, cake batter. The moisture comes from the addition of a huge amount of black treacle! However, when they took more than twice as long to cook as the recipe suggested, I checked other recipes online and found that Hermit Bars (or Hermit cookies) are usually made from a stiff cookie dough which is either baked in one block, like biscotti dough, and sliced after baking, or made as individual cookies.
The main difference I could see between my recipe and the ones online was the amount of flour - nearly all the other ingredients were present in similar proportions. I think they would have been nicer as more solid, chewy cookies, rather than very moist, somewhat soggy, cake bars. The spice and treacle flavour was very strong and overwhelmed the mix of dried fruit I used - apricots, cranberries and raisins - which made me realise why raisins alone were used in the recipe, mainly for texture. The overall flavour and texture was like eating slices of a very moist cold Christmas Pudding - not really exciting, even if you like Christmas Pudding! Interesting, but not to be repeated, I think!