One of my pet peeves (just the one because Ohhh Lawdy! Don’t get me started…..) is having to make a special trip to the shops when I find a nice recipe to try. For someone who likes cooking as much as I do, I am surprisingly reluctant to go out and buy any foodstuffs, let alone the ingredients for something I really want to make. So when I find something that sounds great AND I have all the ingredients in the house, it’s an absolute win.
So it is with this recipe.
But first, rambling story time!
I’m a big fan of old recipes (Duh!), but I also like to try more modern ones (NB ‘modern’ for me = the whole of the 20th century), so every now and then I stumble across something that piques my interest and I’m off on a bear recipe hunt!
I don’t really have a very sweet tooth, but recently I came across a couple of cookie recipes that seemed to be rather popular and I thought I’d have a go at them to see what all the fuss was about.
The first was Laura Bush’s Texas Governor’s House Cowboy Cookies. These came to prominence in 2000 as part of Family Circle’s political Bake Off that they run every four years between the wives of the two policial candidates. It’s a whole *waves hand vaguely* thing, if you want to go look it up. The wives submit a recipe each and they are published in the magazine and the public invited to try them and then to vote for their favourite. That year Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies beat Tipper Gore’s Ginger Snap Cookies. So I tried them and…. well, they were OK, I guess.
Anyhoo – next were the (in)famous Neiman Marcus $250 Cookies.
It’s something of an urban legend, but the story goes that a woman enjoys a cookie at the famous Neiman Marcus store and asks if she could have the recipe. The waitress tells her she can buy it “two-fifty” to which she agrees, assuming the price is $2.50, and is then shocked and outraged when she sees the price of $250 added to her bill. Variations of the story go back to the 1940s with the store and recipe details changing over time (Snopes has a very thorough de-bunking if you’d like to read more). By the 1990’s it had settled on Neiman Marcus cookies and the recipe was being shared over email. So I tried a batch, and to be honest, I didn’t like them. There was just something off in the taste.
During my internet hunting, I had also come across Texas Cow Patties, which were intriguing for two reasons. As well as containing oats and nuts, just like the Cowboy Cookies and Neiman Marcus cookies, these cookies also had cornflakes as an addition. The second reason they caught my interest was – there’s seems to be only one recipe out there. Sometimes it’s doubled, sometimes it’s halved, but it’s a single recipe. No variations. Ever. Weird. Of course, that might also be down to the name, because ‘cow patties’ in Texas are cow poop. The addition of the cereal and the oats made for, what appeared to be, a very roughage-filled cookie. And the addition of chocolate pieces didn’t do much for the appearance either.
I didn’t try these cookies, although I’ve bookmarked the recipe as a ‘maybe’, because by this time I’d already got distracted hunting down the original Cowboy Cookie. I also had a suspicion that Cowboy Cookies were a sanitised version of Texas Cow Patties – cowboys being a much more appealing image to delicate southern ladies.
As it turns out, Cowboy Cookies don’t go much further back than the mid 1950s, but then next to one recipe I read about Ranger Cookies (yeah, we finally got there) which, after some hunting about, I found actually date from as far back as 1934 and this seems to be the master recipe from which all similar variations descend.
Full of chewy oats and coconut, the cereal in this early recipe is puffed rice, there’s no chocolate to be had anywhere, and they’re just delicious as they are. Very simple to whip up and with a baking time of just 12 minutes, quick to cook. All of the ingredients can be found in the cupboard/fridge, and make for a very delicious cookie indeed. They’re crisp on the outside, and chewy inside. The dark brown sugar and vanilla give them an almost caramel flavour, and the oats and puffed rice – not rice krispies, puffed rice is something else – give the cookies great texture and chew. I’m definitely saving this as a great addition to my oaty biscuit repertoire.
This is a half batch which makes 30 x 25g cookies.
115g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
100g dark muscovado sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
120g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
35g puffed rice
115g rolled oats
50g dessicated coconut
- Cream the butter and sugars in a stand mixer or with an electric whisk.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt, and add to the butter mixture. Mix thoroughly.
- Add the rolled oats, puffed rice and coconut, and mix. The dough will be quite dry and crumbly.
- Roll the dough balls the size of a walnut (25g). I used a small, 4cm diameter scoop to measure out the dough, rather than weigh it.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment about 5cm apart. Press slightly with the smooth bottom of a glass or similar to flatten to about 1.5cm.
- Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan.
- Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the cooking time. You might think they look too soft when you take them out of the oven, but resist the urge to bake them longer. They will firm up as they cool.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheets then store in an airtight container when cold.
 Kallo is the brand I used.