Friday, August 23, 2013

Flashback Friday: Camp Cookies

Flashback Friday: Revisiting a recipe from long ago

Camp cookies are a longstanding tradition at our house.  Most of my growing up years we went camping for several weeks each summer.  Whether it was a week at a state park or a 3 week road trip packing in as many national parks as possible, we made lots of memories.  No matter where we went these cookies were a part of each trip, which is exactly why we call them camp cookies.  I know, brilliant, right?

The best thing about these cookies is we were allowed to eat them for breakfast.  Loaded with oats, peanut butter and raisins + the fact that we were on vacation made these a perfectly acceptable breakfast.  Many an early morning my parents would carry us to the car still in our sleeping bags.  Breakfast on the road meant reaching over the backseat and into the trunk to find the ice cream pail full of camp cookies.  Of course they also doubled as dessert, hiking snacks and "are we there yet?" silencers.

Let's see, what else do you need to know about this tradition? True to our last minute form, a gigantic batch of these monster cookies found their way to the oven late into the night or in the wee hours of the morning before we left.  While the cookies baked there was plenty of time to cram things into the car, finish laundry and stuff it into suitcases and gather all the camping gear.

Oh, you also need to be a strategic spiller when you make these.  The M&M's are never measured, just dumped and spilled into the dough.  I usually tried to make sure my mom spilled in a few extra.  Depending on the length of our trip we would make up to 3 big batches. Penciled into our cookbook are measurements for a double and triple batch, which I've included in the recipe below.  I'm not sure we ever made just a single batch, they disappear too quickly.

Three week road trips definitely meant a triple batch, which barely fit into our trusty yellow mixing bowl.  When the bowl is literally so full the dough falls out, you had better eat some.  And trust me when I say this dough is seriously good.  It's probably a good thing cookie dough doesn't travel well or I'd never have had room for smores. Though the days of family camping trips are long past these camp cookies are still a family favorite.

Camp Cookies
adapted from an old church cookbook recipe submitted by Miriam Fokema Rogers to "Our Favorite Recipes, United Methodist Church of Kasson"

Ingredients: (double recipe, triple recipe)
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 c, 1-1/2 c)
1/2 cup peanut butter (1 c, 1-1/2 c)
1 cup granulated sugar (2 c, 3 c)
1 cup packed brown sugar (2 c, 3 c)
2 large eggs (4, 6)
1/4 cup milk (1/2 c, 3/4 c)
1 tsp vanilla (2 tsp, 1 Tbsp)
1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour (3-1/2 c, 5-1/4 c)
1 tsp baking soda (2 tsp, 1 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp salt (1 tsp, 1-1/2 tsp)
3 cups oats (6 c, 9 c) (I used 1-1/2 cups quick oats and 1-1/2 cups rolled oats....or whatever you have on hand at midnight the night before your camping trip)
1 cup peanuts (2 c, 3 c)
1 cup raisins  (2 c, 3 c)
1 cup candy coated chocolate pieces  (2 c, 3 c) (please don't measure here, just dump generously or spill in some extra.  We usually use both plain and peanut candy coated chocolate pieces...which doubles the spilling opportunities.)

Instructions: (if making a triple batch, use an extra large bowl)
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
* In a large bowl cream together butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla.
* In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; stir into wet ingredients.  Mix in oats then stir in peanuts, raisins and candy coated chocolate pieces.
* Using a cookie scoop (or ice cream scoop for monster cookies), scoop dough onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes (slightly longer for larger cookies) or until edges are golden brown and centers are almost (but not quite) set. Let stand 3 minutes before transferring to wire cooling racks.  When completely cool, store in airtight containers. (We always used 5-gallon ice cream pails for camping trips.)

Food for Thought: "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." -John Muir

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