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.
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
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?