A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

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Entry from July 24, 2008
Ranger Cookies

The origin of the name “ranger cookies” (and the recipe as well) is unknown. Some claim that they were originally called “Texas Ranger cookies,” while others claim they were originally “Lone Ranger cookies.” The cookies—featuring cereal (such as corn flakes or Rice Krispies) and coconut—have been cited in print since at least 1935.

“Ranger cookies” are similar—but not identical—to a 1950s version called “cowboy cookies” (containing oats, chocolate chips, and pecans).

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. Gold Medal Flour
1/2 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. quick cooking oats
1 c. Wheaties or Total cereal
1/2 c. shredded coconut
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix shortening, sugars, egg and vanilla thoroughly. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Let stand about 3 minutes before removing from baking sheet.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.

If using self-rising flour, omit soda, baking powder and salt.

NOTE: If using Wondra flour, mix 2 tablespoons milk with the shortening mixture.
Peanut Ranger Cookies: Substitute 1/2 cup salted peanuts for the coconut.
Chocolate Chip Ranger Cookies: Substitute 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces for the coconut.

26 April 1935, Uniontown (PA) News Standard, pg. 14, col. 4:
Ranger Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1-2 tsp. baking powder
1-2 tsp. salt
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
2 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup shredded cocoanut
Cream the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the flour which has been sifted with the soda, baking powder and salt and mix thoroughly. Add the oatmeal, rice cereal, cocoanut and mix. The dough will be rather crumbly. Mold with the hands into balls the size of a walnut. Place on a greased baking sheet and press with the hands slightly. Bake in a moderate oven.

24 June 1938, Oakland (CA) Tribune, pg. 18, col. 4:
1.2 cup butter
1.2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon Schilling vanilla
1 cup Sperry’s Drifted Snow Home Perfected flour
1.2 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon Royal Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup Kellogg’s Rice Krispies
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Cream butter and sugars thoroughly. Add egg and flavoring and beat well. Sift flour, soda, baking powder and salt together. Combine with oatmeal, Rice Krispies and coconut. Add to creamed mixture and stir until well blended. Drop by the soonful onto well greased baking sheet, shape with round bowled spoon. Bake in moderate over (350 deg.) about 15 minutes or until brown. Four dozen cookies two inches in diameter.

21 December 1942, Lethbridge (Alberta) Herald, pg. 8, cols. 7-8:
1 1/2 cups shortening.
1 1/2 cups sugar.
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar.
3 eggs.
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
3 cups flour.
1/2 teaspoon soda.
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.
3/4 teaspoon salt.
3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal.
3 cups oven-popped rice.
1 1/2 cups cocoanut.
Blend shortening and sugars thoroughly, add egg and flavoring; beat well. Sift flour, soda, baking powder and salt together; combine with oatmeal, rice cereal and cocoanut; add to creamed mixture and stir until well blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto well-greased baking sheet or turn onto floured board; roll to 1/4-inch thickness and cut with cookie cutter. Place on greased baking sheet and bake in moderate oven (375 deg.) 15 to 20 minutes or until brown.
Yield: four dozen (two inches in diameter).

My Easy Recipes
Title: 1952 City School Ranger Cookies
Category: School Cafeteria
Instructions: 1952 City School Ranger Cookies
Source: Los Angeles Times - recipe provided by Los Angeles Unified School District.
These are also known as “Flying Saucers.”

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter with granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time.

Sift flour with baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir into butter mixture. Add vanilla extract, oats, cornflakes, coconut, chocolate chips and nuts and stir until blended.

Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Flatten to 4-inch diameter. (Use square of wax paper to keep dough from sticking to fingers or whatever you’re using to flatten dough.) For small cookies, drop by rounded teaspoon. Do not flatten.

Bake larger cookies at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies should be slightly soft when removed from oven. Bake smaller cookies at 375 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes.

22 large cookies or 6 dozen small cookies.
Each small cookie: 77 calories; 56 mg sodium; 13 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 11 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein

14 July 1957, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Cookies Provide Wide Scope in Creating Prize Recipes” by Marian Manners, pg. D14:
The old-reliable Western Ranger Cookies are wonderful, too, for many variations.
1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted enriched flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
2 cups oven-popped rice cereal
2 cups chopped nuts or coconut
METHOD: Cream shortening and sugars well. Add eggs and vanilla; blend. Resift flour with soda and salt; add to egg mixture. When well mixed add oatmeal, cereal, nuts. Roll into balls the size of a walnut and place on greased cooky sheet.  Flatten slightly. Bake at 350 deg. 10 to 12 minutes. Makes about 20 cookies.

December 1968, Southern Living, pg. 76, col. 3:
1 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups cornflakes
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Add cornflakes and oatmeal and dry ingredients sifted togather. Stir in coconut and vanilla. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F. about 10 to 12 minutes. Yield: about 7 dozen.

21 October 1976, Van Nuys (CA) Valley News, section 5, part 2, pg. 1, col. 2:
“Deliciously satisfying with a crunchy texture. The original recipe called for cornflakes and dates.”
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups quick oatmeal
2 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup coconut
Caramel Icing
Cream together shortening and sugars. Add eggs; beat well. Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients and drop from teaspoon on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Top with Caramel Icing. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

11 March 1987, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, “The Exchange” by Jane Benet (food editor), pg. AA4:
I thought a couple of the ranger cookie recipes that ran a couple of weeks ago sounded pretty close to the real thing. However, they all missed the mark, according to four readers who sent their versions of the “correct” one. All of them, incidentally, were basically the same.

Ione Elioff wrote (on the tail of her monkey bread request): “Melanie Ashworth did not get the real recipe for Ranger Cookies. I feel compelled to give you the best and only authentic recipe - if there be such a thing - Mrs. Provo’s version from Mansfield, Louisiana.”

Patricia Farley of Mill Valley got hers from “The Art of Making Good Cookies Plain and Fancy,” by Annette Laslett Ross and Jean Adams Disney. It uses shortening instead of butter.

Sheila Spindel of San Francisco uses margarine for her version and adds 12 ounces of chocolate chips. Helen Smith of Fort Bragg sometimes substitutes nut meats for the coconut.
1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup shredded coconut
INSTRUCTIONS: Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Sift flour, soda, baking powder and salt together. Add to butter-sugar mixture and blend in. Add oatmeal, cere al and coconut and mix well. Dough will be quite crumbly.
Shape into balls the size of a walnut. Press flat on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degrees oven until lightly browned.

14 February 1996, San Antonio (TX) :
The one we are printing is called Texas Ranger Cookies from “The Authorized Texas Ranger Cookbook.”

Dallas (TX) Morning News
What’s in Ranger name?
Author: Ellen Sweets Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News
Publish Date: May 5, 1999
When J.J. wrote about losing her grandmother’s recipe for Ranger Cookies, chances are she had no idea her request would generate a flurry of correspondence. Letters and e-mail came from all over - Elmo, Palestine, Clarksville, Celina, Corsicana, Marshall, Oak Leaf, Denton and, of course, several Dallas neighbors, including Irving, Plano and Garland. There was even one from a successful State Fair competitor in Rockwall.

But no one and no source we consulted could answer the question…

Dallas (TX) Morning News
Ranger Cookies name game
Author: Ellen Sweets Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News
Publish Date: June 2, 1999
It’s not often we get to offer choices, but Ranger Cookies afford us that rare opportunity. Some weeks ago, a reader pondered the origin of the name for Ranger Cookies. Some speculated that it might have been named for the baseball team, but L.J. says the recipe itself pre-dates the guys who play at The Ballpark in Arlington. (By the way, she has made hers with blue corn flakes.)

We asked eagle-eyed readers to help when we were unable to find an explanation in the many cookbooks…

From: Richard Kaszeta
Subject: Re: “Ranger” Cookie Recipe?
Newsgroups: rec.food.baking
Date: 2001-11-06 07:07:51 PST

“Hugs” <[log in to unmask]> writes:

> While talking to a friend today, she nostalgically remembered a cookie
> served in her cafeteria in school, called a “Ranger” cookie. She can’t
> remember if they had molasses in them or not, but that they were very good.
> My question is:  Is there a type of cookie called “Ranger” like a bar or
> drop cookie?  Or is this a flavor or specific recipe. It would be great to
> find this recipe for her if at all possible.

Ranger Cookies are a mainstay of grade school cafeterias… smile

Usually they are flavored with brown sugar, and have oatmeal in them

Here’s the recipe I have:

1 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups oatmeal (rice krispies work too)
1/2 cup coconut

Blend shortening, sugar, brown sugar, egs, and vanilla.
Mix in flour, baking soda, powder, and salt.
Mix until smooth.  Fold in oatmeal and coconut.  Mix until fairly well distributed, but I like ‘em more if you don’t mix it completely.
Roll into small walnut-sized balls and press onto a cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

3 April 2003, USA Today, “Soldiers make the best of MREs” by Steven Komarow, pg. D10:
Staff Sgt. Grady Parris, 32, of Asheville, N.C., says one of the first things a soldier learns is how to make a “Ranger Cookie.” “Get 2 tablespoons water, half a pack cocoa powder, half a pack peanut butter, some coffee creamer and a pack of sugar. Mix it together and stick between two crackers,” he says.

The All-American Cookie Book | November 2001
Nancy Baggett
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.  (Recipe follows—ed.)

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (5) Comments • Thursday, July 24, 2008 • Permalink

Regarding the origin of the term “Ranger Cookie”, I’ll offer the alternative explanation of US Army Airborne Rangers.

Rangers are known to consume most anything edible (and even some non-edibles), which could explain the wide variety of ingredients--from corn flakes to shredded cocoanut--attributed to “Ranger Cookies”.

According to testimony from the Monkey Bear, this is the source of the name.

Posted by Steve  on  01/24  at  10:43 PM

The problem with the ‘Army Airborne Ranger’ explanation is that they did not exist at the time the name for any of the older recipes were coined.  The year was 1942 for our Airborne Ranger brethren....but nice try, Steve and Monkey Bear.

My great grandmother’s recipe (Mountain Ranger Cookies) dates back to the 1910’s, and is similar to many of the variations that are out there today.  Hers actually used corn flakes and walnuts for the extra crunch.  Truth is, nobody really knows the origin of the cookie recipe name, but they are indeed delicious!!

Posted by J.R.  on  07/14  at  12:08 PM

Ahh JR, my non-military friend, the lineage and honors of US Army Rangers go much farther back than you, your grandma, or the US Army Ranger School Mountain Ranger Camp, in Dahlonega, Georgia--no doubt the location to inspire your “Mountain Ranger <Camp> Cookie” recipe!

The American Ranger lineage, in fact, traces back to the mid-1700s, with Major Robert Rogers, in the French and Indian War.

Have a ranger cookie and a big glass of milk, with my compliments.  grin

Posted by Steve  on  07/15  at  12:16 PM

Thank you for this post

Posted by Leslie  on  12/15  at  09:58 AM

Does any one have the ranger cookie recipe that were sold at the Tulare Western High School cafeteria back in the 70’s? Will you share it with us please. They were thin big and delicious.
Thanks so much.

Posted by Daria  on  01/20  at  01:11 PM

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