dessertsMegan VanDykenoms

Francis Linsner’s Oatmeal Cookies

dessertsMegan VanDykenoms
Francis Linsner’s Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe is top secret, in fact this post will self destruct in 10 minutes...seriously though, this recipe is special. Everyone has that one recipe in their family. The one that's been passed down, talked about, maybe even kept secret? For my family it has got to be my Great Grandma Linsner's oatmeal cookies. This recipe has been passed down four generations now, and baking and eating these cookies feels like a connection to my Great Grandma. I can imagine Francis Linsner making these cookies in her own kitchen, mixing the batter, baking dozens of cookies for family and friends.

This is an oatmeal raisin cookie unlike anything I've ever had. If you're looking for a dense, chewy oatmeal raisin cookie, this isn't it. These cookies are light, cake-like, with the raisins ground before mixed into the batter. Instead of pockets of chewy raisin, you get raisin flavor throughout.

Grinding the raisins is really the best part of this recipe for me. This is where I feel like I connect with my Great Grandma the most. I use a hand crank food grinder, the same fashion I'm sure Francis used, to get a perfect grind. They can be challenging to come by. I bought mine for $15 at an antique fair. It was actually in the original cardboard box with the directions. Truly a piece of history. Because the food grinder can be challenging to find, I made two batches of these cookies. One following my Great Grandma's directions exactly, and the other with one modern adjustment - I ground the raisins using a food processor. The result? The batter was slightly different for each method, but the taste using the food processor was spot on and didn't impact texture at all.

So after doubling the recipe, what do you do with all of those oatmeal cookies? Homemade oatmeal cream pies of course. The cakey texture of these cookies are perfect for my version of that lunchbox staple. With a simple cream cheese frosting in the middle, the cookie sandwiches are awesome. Ryan and I better invite some friends over or we're bound to eat too many of these ourselves.

To start the oatmeal cookies, soak your raisins in enough cold water to cover them. This will help plump up the raisins for grinding. While raisins are soaking boil 1 cup of water. After raisins have soaked for 10 minutes, drain water and grind raisins either in a hand crank food grinder, or in a food processor. If you are using a food processor, pulse the raisins for a few minutes until ground. Keep an eye on them, you don't want whole raisins but you also don't want raisin puree.

After grinding the raisins, sprinkle on the baking soda and pour boiling water over top. This is where science enters the kitchen! You get to see the chemical reaction first hand. It reminds me of that science fair volcano that I always wanted to build as a kid.

Yay science! See the bubbles? No erupting volcanos though, just bubbling raisins.

While raisins are bubbling up in the baking soda bath, mix your remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, oats, and shortening. Here's where you have to follow my Great Grandma's recipe exactly. No substitutions for the shortening. The cookies just won't have the same texture with another fat.

Add the raisins to the mix and incorporate well. Let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes before baking. Once cookie dough has rested, drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes. Cookies are done when they are brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Cool on a wire rack.

Now, to make oatmeal cream pies. These really are worth the extra effort. Mix 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract into 8 oz of softened cream cheese. Match up like-sized cookies and spread a tablespoon or so of cream cheese frosting between two cookies. Store sandwich cookies in the refrigerator.


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Francis Linsner's Oatmeal Cookie Ingredients

Makes 2 dozen cookies

  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of shortening (no substitutions)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teasoon of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cover raisins with cold water and soak for 10 minutes.
  3. While raisins are soaking, boil 1 cup of water.
  4. Drain raisins and grind in food grinder or pulse in food processor until ground but not pureed.
  5. Place ground raisins in a small dish and sprinkle with baking soda.
  6. Pour boiling water over raisins and let stand at least 10 minutes.
  7. Cream sugar, shortening, and eggs together in a large mixing bowl.
  8. Add flour, oats, salt and cinnamon.
  9. Pour in raisin mixture and mix well.
  10. Let cookie dough rest for 20-30 minutes.
  11. Drop by large spoonfuls onto parchment covered baking sheet.
  12. Bake 8-12 minutes or until edges are browned and cookies are lightly browned on top.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.


Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • 8 oz block of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl until smooth.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon of filling between two cooled cookies.
  3. Refrigerate assembled oatmeal cream pies.

Sharing our culinary adventures in Cascadia with simple, sustainable & satisfying eats. Bon Appétit!