Sunday, January 3, 2010

Long lost friend - Ranger Cookies

Do you ever have a recipe that you remember from childhood but that has been lost for more than a decade?  I did until just this past week when lo and behold I stumbled upon the recipe for Ranger Cookies in an old family cookbook nestled in the back of one of my mother's cupboards.  She would make these for me when I would get home from school from about 4th grade to 6th grade and then she just stopped making them for some reason.  I've tried googling ranger cookie recipes a few times and trying them, but none of them have ever compared to the real deal.

These little babies are homey and delicious - a drop cookie that makes me think of cinnamon and toffee and butterscotch, even though there is none of any of those things in the recipe.  Although I bet if you added toffee bits or butterscotch chips or even M & M's to the batter it would be delicious.  But I like 'em straight-up old fashioned with a tall glass of cold milk and a sliced apple.  Its the perfect snackin' cookie and I can say that with experience because I threw a few of these in a picnic lunch I made for me and He-Man to take with us on our hike last Saturday and they were fantabulous.   

He-Man asked me why these were called ranger cookies and my only answer was "I don't know."  So I came home and did some searching and the real answer is - nobody knows.  Some say they were originally called "Texas Ranger Cookies" others say they were called "Lone Ranger Cookies", but it looks like they have been around since about the 1920's. 

Please forgive my ugly old cookie sheet.  It bakes great - way better than my newer one.

Anyway, lots of other recipes call for granulated sugar and say that you can use Rice Krispies or Wheaties or something, but I'm gonna' pompously say that the recipe I am going to share with you is the one you should stick with because using only brown sugar really sets the flavor apart and makes ranger cookies different from every other drop cookie out there. 

Ranger Cookies

2/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 1/4 cup cornflakes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream shortening, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Add oatmeal, cornflakes, and walnuts.  And just so you know, I will never, ever omit nuts.  In fact, I almost always double the amount of nuts in my recipes.  That might be a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one. 

Drop by rounded teasponfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown but not overcooked.  I've seen other recipes add coconut to the mix, which I love, you know I do, but my mother's recipe didn't include it so I didn't either.  I wanted the experience I remembered from my childhood, ya' know?

I had to bag some of these up and stick them in the freezer to keep myself from eating all of them at once.  Seriously. 

And at risk of exposing my secret identity with an image of myself, check out my cute apron from Anthropologie.  I love that store but this is the only thing I own from there because everything is so expensive.  I got this apron on clearance last year. 

But I'm thinking about making some more aprons for myself, because that's what I did for all my sisters-in-law for Christmas this year and they turned out so much better than I expected.  What do you think?

Gotta dash now.  Ciao!


  1. Those cookies look really good. Neat-o aprons too. How long did it take you to make them?

  2. Honestly Mic, it took me what seemed like for-ev-er to make the first one, but this afternoon I whipped one out in like two hours while watching a movie with He-Man. I've made seven now total. And I'm not much of a sewer. Or seamstress. Or whatever.

  3. These aprons are really cute!!! Makes me want to make some! I am going to try the cookies too!

    Happy New Year!

  4. Looks like comfort food! I'd love to have one of those cookies.

  5. Hey Wonder Woman - it's been way too long since your last post! When will we hear more about you??

  6. I just had these cookies for the first time today... I came home from the local "Nob Hill" grocery store in Santa Cruz California were I live. I was floored as these things were utter "Sin" and really believed if they were made in the 17th century would have been considered the devils work as they are truly sinfully good! I kid you not I finished the whole batch of cookies by the end of the day... I am going to save your recipe and make them myself as I am sure I can not afford to be eating 5 dollar trays of them everyday.

  7. Our stories are so similar, I could have written this post! LOL I had my favorite ranger cookie recipe in a book where I work as a baker, then someone "borrowed" my recipe and didn't bother to return it. I was devastated as you might imagine.

    I spent some time over the past few years trying different versions of the recipe I found on the Internet and none seemed quite as good as the "original." Then about a month ago, I stumbled across one on All Recipes and BINGO--that's IT! I'm so happy; it really is like discovering a long, lost friend!

    Thanks for sharing your story.


Your turn!...