It wasn’t all the time, but when I was little a trip to the cabin with grandma usually meant she would take a batch of “Cabin cookies”. I never got to make a batch with grandma she always seemed to have them ready to go, so I never knew exactly what was in them. I knew there were raisins, which I never liked in cookies, but there were so few in cabin cookies it didn’t bother me. I figured grandma was just trying to sprinkle some healthy stuff in cookies. She does that with recipes a lot, remove some oil and substitute applesauce and that sort of thing, so adding raisins just to make it more healthy doesn’t seem like a stretch. Not until I learned how they came to be cabin cookies anyway…
Prior to the current cabin on Moose River in Alaska that I knew and loved my grandparents had a cabin on 20 mile river. I only went to that one twice. Once when I was two and another time when I was about five. It was rustic. To even get there in the we needed a river boat, or in the winter they used snow machines and ride up the frozen river. There was no running water at that cabin. All water for cooking brought in and water for washing was collected from the river…or snow. Somewhere I might even have a picture of my aunt bathing in a #3 washtub at the cabin. I’m not going to post it here though. She’s still living and I’d like to continue to do so as well. 😉
For one of the many trips to the cabin on 20-mile my grandmother was going to make cookies only she found that she didn’t have enough of anything to make a regular batch, so she threw in the bits and parts of other recipes and there they were. They must have been a hit because after that it became a regular thing.
Grandma sent me a batch when I was in boot camp. We weren’t allowed to keep them in the barracks so I had to eat what I could in one sitting and share the rest. I almost didn’t get to have them though. Before I opened the package the company commander said I could only eat them if there were chocolate chip cookies. I knew what they were. Not that grandma only makes one kind of cookie, but how could she not sent cabin cookies? I opened the box. I’ll never forget his reaction. He looked inside the box, “What the hell are those?” He asked.
I picked one up, turned it just so, and said with a big grin, “See a chocolate chip.” He shook his head and off I went with my box of cookies. They aren’t pretty foo-foo cookies. They’re rustic cabin cookies.
A few years ago I asked about the cabin cookie recipe so my grandma mailed me a card. On 26 June 2010 she wrote in part, “I haven’t made the cabin cookies for a long time and I was surprised to find about 6 versions of it clipped together. I hear you have a cabin now, hope you have a lot of good times in it like we did.” I have yet to make my own batch of cabin cookies and it makes me sad that we recently sold our cabin and bought a camping trailer. Trailer cookies just don’t have quite the same ring to them.
LunchBox Cookies (Cabin Cookies)
2 cups brown sugar
4 cups sifted flour (2 white, 1 whole wheat, 1 oat flour)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups oats
2 cups raisins (or 1 cup raisins, 1 cup dates)
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cup safflower oil
1 package chocolate chips (mint)
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups nuts (walnut or pecan)
350 degrees for 12 min
You could use a 12 oz can of apple juice to soak the oats in.