These Ranger Cookies are a “keeper” of a recipe in more ways than one. As the introduction in the cookbook reads, “These hearty cookies are good “keepers” and ship well.” They seem to have left out the part about them being absolutely amazing. It’s impossible to grab one and not return for at least one more. Yes, this is your warning.
I’ve baked cookies labeled “ranger” or “cowboy” in the past. None of the recipe were worth writing home about. They disappointed. I mean, okay, I didn’t know what they were supposed to taste like, but “bland” and “boring” probably weren’t it. This recipe for Ranger Cookies hits all the right cookie notes. Soft, yet substantial; sweet, but not “hurt your teeth” kind of sweet. I like the bit of crunch in them too.
Jump down to the recipe using the Table of Contents below or hang out awhile and talk cookbooks.
How Did Ranger Cookies Get Their Name?
Ranger Cookies, Texas Ranger Cookies, or Cowboy Cookies—no matter what you call them, they are amazing. Some recipes include corn flakes instead of crisped rice cereal. I think the corn flakes wouldn’t have as much crunch, and that crunch is what makes these cookies different and delicious. I guess I’m just picturing a thin cornflake compared to the width of Rice Krispies®.
So, how about that name? Where did the term “ranger cookies” come from? It is an odd name for a cookie.
These large, hearty cookies are a fairly recent addition to the American repertoire, appearing sometime in the latter half of the twentieth century. Most ranger cookies contain rolled oats and coconut, and some also include pecans and crushed corn flakes. Despite the name, the cookies don’t seem to be connected with the Texas Rangers or Texas, or with any particular part of the country, for that matter.
These cookies have a rich, satisfying taste and toothsomeness that gives them great staying power and appeal. They are particularly good with a glass of milk.
Nancy is correct. Every bite is a pleasure. While I haven’t tried them with milk, they do go great with a cup of black coffee in the morning. Of course, I’m too “grown up” for such things as cookies for breakfast. Of course.
Blue Ribbon Family Favorites Cookbook
There’s no hiding on a shelf when you have a cover as bright blue as the Blue Ribbon Family Favorites Cookbook (2007) by Yankee Publishing. I love these kinds of cookbooks. Each of the 200+ recipes include an intro (some are longer than others), the name and location of the recipe submitter, and the fair or festival the person had entered. Occasional blue-boxed callouts include a fact about a specific festival or fair or information relevant to a recipe (such as detailed instructions for creaming butter or a good sour-milk substitute).
When deciding whether this was a cookbook I needed, it didn’t take me long to decide “Yes!” Recipes like Nany’s Caramel Peanut Butter Cake (with five layers! and not a typo, it does read “Nany”), Cheddar Cheese Pepper Bread, Baked Apples Filled with Sausage, and Chocolate Caramel Cookies leaped out the page, and that’s with random flipping around. Oh, and so does Bananas, Strawberries, and Cream Delight—one amazing Bundt cake recipe. Wow. This cookbook is so packed with good recipes, I could keep on listing the items I want to make no problem.
Chapters include: Introduction; Appetizers and Salads; Soups and Stews; Pasta, Vegetables, and Side Dishes; Fish and Seafood; Meat and Poultry; Quick Breads; Yeast Breads; Cakes; Pies; Cookies; Pickles and Preserves; and Too Good to Leave Out.
I had to take a closer look at the chapter, “Too Good to Leave Out.” What did that even mean? Join me! Well, this is a mix of recipes. From Caramels (with excellent and entertaining instructions), to Arizona Honey Granola to Breakfast Casserole Italiano and Rhubarb Crunch. They all sound excellent—but the caramel recipe will make my oldest son particularly happy, as he’s been wanting to try making caramels ever since we had some at a local chocolate shop a month ago. We always seem to forget how much we love them.
Baking This Ranger Cookie Recipe
This recipe for Ranger Cookies hails from Dakota City, Iowa. It was entered in the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa. And now here it is in your hot little hands and on page 310 in the Blue Ribbon Family Favorites cookbook.
Nothing is difficult about this recipe. Set your butter out to soften 30-60 minutes before you begin depending on the temperature in your kitchen, and that’s about the only pre-planning you’ll need to do. Break out your cookie dough scoop for this recipe. It will form the cutest little uniform cookies. I used my OXO 2 teaspoon cookie dough scoop. I chuck it in the dishwasher when I’m done so even clean-up is simple.
My oldest son had friends over the other night and these cookies proved to be a hit. You don’t always know when there is coconut involved, but I had made the cookies two days before, so I went with it. I know I thought I hated coconut for a long time. But the coconut blends in with the rest of the ingredients. I think they would be a great cookie for anyone who professes to despise coconut. They say coconut is an acquired taste. You’d be doing someone a service!
- 1 Cup Butter Softened
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar Packed
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 2 Cups Quick-Cooking Oats NOT Old-Fashioned Oats
- 2 Cups Crisped Rice Cereal You know the kind, "Snap, Crackle, and Pop!"
- 1 Cup Shredded Coconut
- 350* oven.
- Cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- Cream the butter in your stand mixer until smooth.
- Add in the sugars and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add in the vanilla extract and your eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
- Add in the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- Now, the recipe says to combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and baking soda) in a separate bowl and then stir the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture by hand. I, however, dump in the dry ingredients, and without digging too deep, give them a little floofing together, before I switch on the mixer for a moment to combine.
- Stir in the oats, the cereal, and the coconut by hand or, do what I did, and briefly give them a mix. My way does run the risk of crushing the cereal or overmixing the dough, so do pay attention and only mix to combine.
- Drop the dough, using a 1 1/2 Tablespoon cookie dough scoop onto your prepared cookie shees.
- Bake 8-12 minutes, depending on your oven and the size you make your cookies. My cookies took 8 minutes to bake. They should be lightly browned and look "done."