Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Texas Ranger cookies



When I was eight, my dad drove us from Carrollton to Arlington to see the Texas Rangers. It was my first baseball game. While my previous sporting experience had only been football, I soon fell in love with a sport that allowed you to sit outside on a breezy summer evening, served hot dogs and peanuts at your seat, and played organ music every time a player approached the plate.

(I also developed a huge crush on Jim Sundberg, which completely dates me, I know!)

We moved to Houston soon after that, and the professional baseball games there were not quite the same. First, instead of being outside you sat inside the air-conditioned Astrodome, where you lost all sense of time. And while an organ still played, there was also an impressive light show that exploded across the board whenever a player did well. It was completely different from what I’d seen in Arlington, but I still had a ton of fun.



Because I spent most of my childhood in Houston, I’ll admit that I consider myself an Astros fan. But since the Rangers were my first baseball love I will always have warm feelings for them. And yes, I am over the moon to see a Texas team in the World Series, especially after the difficult time the state had this summer; it’s refreshing to hear happy things about Texas in the news.

This past week I’ve been in Texas signing books and meeting so many of you—it’s been a blast. But it's also been a thrill to see large groups cheering on the home team.

Before I left New York—when we were still watching to see if the Rangers would cinch the American League title—I made a few batches of ranger cookies, though in honor of the team I took to calling them Texas Ranger cookies instead.

Now, if you’re not familiar with ranger cookies, they are very similar to cowboy cookies in that they’re chock full of good things such as nuts, oats and chocolate chips. A little research, however, revealed that ranger cookies differ slightly from cowboy cookies in that they also have cereal such as corn flakes, wheat flakes or puffed rice added to the dough. There is also dried fruit, which you don’t see as often in cowboy cookies.

To mine, instead of the usual raisins I’ve added dried cherries and blueberries, as an homage to the Rangers' team colors, of course. I also baked them as a bar cookie instead of a drop cookie, which is not only faster but if you have a Texas-shaped pan it also makes for a fine presentation. (Though any baking pan will do.)



While they’re a delicious dessert, ranger cookies were originally created to provide non-perishable, portable energy to outdoorsy types such as hikers, campers and yes, rangers. And as we make our way through this nail-biter of a World Series, trust me, we’ll need all the energy we can get!

Texas Ranger cookies
Ingredients:
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup corn flakes
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 cup chopped pecans

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; grease a 9x13 baking pan or a baking sheet.

Cream together the butter, the granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, and mix until well combined. Stir in the corn flakes, the oats, the chocolate chips, the coconut, the blueberries, the cherries and the pecans.

If making bar cookies, spread evenly the cookie dough in the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes or until edges are set and dough is lightly browned. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

If making drop cookies, roll dough into walnut-sized balls, place on baking sheet and bake one pan at a time for 15-17 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

Yield: About 36 bars or cookies

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47 comments:

Unknown said...

I make something similar that I call Trashcan Cookies. I make them last in my holiday baking and throw in whatever bits and bobs are left over from other batches (coconut, chocolate chips, pecans, candied ginger, cranberries, raisins, oatmeal, sesame seeds, pretzel bits, pretty much anything). Some years are more successful than others . . .

Paige said...

These sound delicious, and I'm still quite envious of your Texas baking pan. I also loved reading about your early memories of Rangers game. The Texas Rangers were my first baseball game as well, and I have such fond memories of it. We didn't go often since we lived two hours from DFW, but it was always such a special treat when we were able to go. I'll definitely make these for sustenance to power through the rest of the series. Let's hope we can win one more game!

Anna said...

You lived in Carrollton? I've lived 21 of my 30 years in Carrollton! Love your blog!

Aaron said...

Jim Sundberg was my favorite player when I was a kid!

Go, Lisa! Go, Rangers!

Stacey! said...

I can't believe you're going to be in San Antonio today and I'm going to miss it! :( Hope you are having a wonderful time! I'm also an Astros fan, but I'm pleased as punch about the Rangers! I won't be too terribly upset if the Cardinals win, though; Lance Berkman is a hometown boy!

Lee said...

Lisa,

We must have been separated at birth! I was also raised in the Metroplex -- 8 years in Arlington and the rest in Lewisville -- and my family would go to Rangers games pretty often. Jim Sundberg was going to be my boyfriend, ha ha! Many of my fondest memories are of making Ranger cookies with my grandmothers. Our recipe was a bit simpler -- no chocolate, fruit, or nuts. The best part has always been to smush the cornflakes into the dough.

Kathryn said...

Oh my gosh, I'm in love with your baking tin, Lisa! And I had never heard of Ranger cookies before but this looks so hearty and amazing - definite energy food! :)

Shan said...

My boys are huge Rangers fans. I really hope "we" win just so I can see the joy on their faces. I may just have to give these cookies a try Wednesday for game 6!

lydia of boy howdy daily said...

That is crazy too!! I grew up in Carrollton and have been a reader of your blog forever!! Small world. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Carrollton? I'm in Coppell. Small world.

Meister @ The Nervous Cook said...

Just look at that giant Texas cookie! I love this so, so much. My home state (NJ) wouldn't make a great giant cookie, if only because there's that depressing skinny part in the middle.

Joe Cantu (aka O-Dub) said...

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for writing and publishing the cookbook. I ordered five copies for my family and my wife as Christmas gifts that you, hopefully, signed at BookPeople last night.

You and your blog are a gem.

I'm a native Texan, born in Austin, and I could go on and on about Texas cuisine, but you say it so much better than I.

Cheers,

Joe

Liz F. said...

Lisa, you rock. This is so great for Homesick Texans all over the the world who are glued to their World Series streaming radio programs! -Your fan in China, Liz F.

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

My childhood Ranger crush was Steve Buechele. I'm not embarrassed to admit it.
Sounds kind of like a fruit cake in cookie form. And while I don't get into the nuts & all (I know, right?) I could totally see making these for my dad.
You're presence in the state has been a good luck charm this week. We're going to win it all.

~Donna

Frances said...

Love your blog, Sundberg, and the TEXAS RANGERS! This Wichita Falls, Tx. girl will be biting her nails tonight -- Go Rangers!

PS -- thank you for all your wonderful recipes!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Unknown--I love the addition of pretzel bits!

Paige--My grandma gave me that pan 20 years ago. She ordered it from 3-Minute Oatmeal.

Anna--What a small world!

Aaron--Go Rangers!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Stacey--Sorry to have missed you!

Lee--What a wonderful memory!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Kathryn--They'll definitely give you a boost!

Shan--I hope they win, too!

Lydia--What a small world! I went to Woodlake Elementary, which I think is now called June Thompson Elementary.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anon--Yes it is!

Joe--Thank you! And I think I remember signing those books!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Liz--You're a long way from home!

Donna--I never thought of it as a fruitcake cookie, but that sounds about right! And we are indeed!

Frances--You're very welcome. Tonight I'll be biting my nails, too!

Jeannine said...

I love this! Send lots of good thoughts to the Rangers during the next game (or two). It's going to be cold and baseball and cold can be a tricky thing. Neither the Rangers nor the Astros have ever won a World Series. It's time to Texas to show up.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Jeannine--Yep, I agree!

Esmer said...

i love ranger cookies! there's a place in San Angelo (Mr. T's) that makes some great ones!
Can't wait to try this recipe!

Janet Schneider said...

Hi Lisa, Thanks so much for this recipe. I am in love with the Ranger Cookies from Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse in El Campo, but will give these a try. Having grown up in Corpus Christi(before settling on Long Island)I made the drive many times between there and Houston, always stopping for cookies (and barbecue:) on the way).

Janus said...

Go, go, Texas Rangers!

Jesterkat said...

I went to R.L Turner HS id love to try this rescipe but where do I find the Texas pan?

Anonymous said...

I don't have a Texas pan, but I do have a Texas waffle maker. Most of my pans apparently are Wyoming or Colorado shaped!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Esmer--I'll have to stop by next time I'm in San Angelo!

Janet--You're very welcome!

Janus--Yes!

Emilie said...

Jim Sundberg came to my elementary school in Euless when I was in fourth of fifth grade... Oh, my. Talk about a crush.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Jesterkat--Here's a place that sells them: http://www.trulytexas.com/5013.html

Anon--A waffle maker is next on my list!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Emilie--Wow! How cool is that?

David said...

Go Rangers. Dallas Cowboys Rally Chili works for the Rangers, too.

black dog :: food blog said...

This sounds so yummy!!!! Talking about 3pm afternoon sweets and coffee time...I want one now!

Anonymous said...

I had a heavy Texas pan but sold it on eBay. Always regretted it! I love to make Ranger or Cowboy cookies to use up leftover cereal and bits of other things...nuts, choc chips and such. The common ingredients in mine are oats and coconut,sweetened because you can't go wrong with them. I collect Texas cookbooks as well as specifically San Antonio too since that is where I was born and live. I am going to get yours too.

maureen said...

This makes me so happy!! I am a CA Angels and SF Giants fan, but when my teams aren't playing, I go for the underdog. GO RANGERS!!!

Tammy Horlacher said...

Lisa- made these today for the game tonight, andmy kiddos are in love! They are delicious! Thanks for sharing!

Tammy Horlacher said...

Thanks for the recipe! These were delicious! Our girls (7 and 5) Loved them

Susan said...

I read your blog so often and don't know how I missed the fact you'd be in Texas this past week signing books. Bummer, to have missed the opportunity!The Houston chronicle just ran a recipe on Texas Governor cowboy cookies, very similar to Texas Ranger cookies, without the cereal as you noted. I like the Texas pan idea--very cute and these are delicious cookies.

Janus said...

Lisa, if you're not a regular follower of CakeWrecks.com, you need to go there to take a look at the entry for today (October 28). It is World Series/Texas Rangers related -- and I think you will be highly amused.

Megan said...

I have VERY similar memories of my parents packing up my sister and I headed from Plano to Arlington (I was 8 she was 4) to see my first Ranger game back at the old Ballpark.

Your stories and foods always bring me back - thank you!

beverly said...

I was wondering if you chop the pecans first?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Beverly--Yes, I do. I'll correct the recipe--thank you for noticing.

Andrea said...

Just bought your book, and it's just as amazing as your blog. A very, VERY, good book indeed! Reminds me of home and I plan on buying everyone one for x-mas! :) Great recipe above by the way, I'll be making this for my next PFA meeting! Thank you so much for the blog, and now, the book. It's the little things...

Terry Ann said...

These look fantastic!!!

Thoughts of a Rambling Man said...

I was born and raised in Carrollton! I love your blog. I don't usually comment, but as a misplaced Texan also, I love hearing your adventures in Yankeeland. I live in Chicago now.

Kae Lucchini said...

I've been looking for this recipe FOREVER! Thank you! :)

Kinnari said...

Where did you find the Texas shaped pan from? I LOVE IT and I love the Rangers too! =)

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