Celebrating Family

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on June 28th, 2017

The Wagner family spent nearly every Fourth of July at Thunder Lodge, a summer home on Deer Lake near Tomahawk, Wisconsin. From the late 1950s through 2011, generations of Wagners and friends spent the holiday swimming, biking, waterskiing, enjoying cookouts, and going to town for the fireworks. It was exciting when the weather cooperated but not so much if it rained. Nothing like a half-dozen kids whining that there’s nothing to do. Although, puzzles, books, and games were aplenty, these distractions could only capture our attention for a brief time.

More often than not, one of us was hungry and looking for a snack. Luckily, my dad was the ultimate cookie and candy junky. We could usually find something to quiet us. It was then that I developed my love of baking, especially cookies. The first recipe I mastered was Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies – basic, tasty, and a good challenge for a new baker. They were my contribution to the tasty eats.

With July 4 just a few days away, once again I’m planning a trip north, not to the cottage in Tomahawk, but a similar one in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin. The weather outlook is less than favorable (although how often are the predictions correct?); already I’m looking for rainy-day activities and recipes for indoor cooking. I’ll bake at least one batch of cookies for the weekend. I’m thinking the family favorite – Oatmeal Chocolate Chip: never fail, great texture, and will satisfy the sweet tooth of whomever visits.

Here’s your opportunity to bake up a batch to share with your family.

Happy Fourth of July.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


½ cup butter, softened
½ Crisco shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 large cookie sheets. Cream butter and shortening and sugars in mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beat together. Add vanilla, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Then add the flour. Mix until well combined. Stir in coconut and oatmeal.

Drop on greased cookie sheets by the teaspoon, spacing about 1/2 inch apart. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, just until the edges begin to brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


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