Ranger Cookies

If there was one cookie I truly loved it was a cookie, a straight up oatmeal cookie, that my grandma made. I tried to recreate them off of her recipe many years back and they were just not the same. Maybe it was grannie’s touch, who knows. As I keep beating this one down, I am not a sweet tooth, and really do not consider myself to ever have been one. Sure, I liked Jolly Ranchers, would not turn down candy, but I would have to say that during my late teens, through today, I have not had any interest with sweets. But for whatever it is worth, these last few weeks I have wanted nothing more than sweets. I have had an ice cream sandwich, probably each day, candy, and have been making a dessert when energy allows, for my kids about once or twice a week. This recent one probably has many different names, but I’m going with the Ranger cookie recipe on this one.

Ranger Cookie Recipe
Ranger Cookie Recipe

I want one now, they are that good. The only reason I came up with the Ranger cookie recipe is that I wanted to start purging things, you know the half open bags of things that your kids once showed interest in, and essentially toss them into a cookie mixture, bake, and serve.

TRUST ME ON THESE COOKIES. You will have a hard time just eating one, and trust me they are huge. Huge in the sense that you are fitting about 6 on a cookie sheet. A large cookie sheet!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup frosted flakes
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted coconut flakes
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of nuts (walnuts, cashews, almond slivers), optional

See what I mean about the purge?

Start by getting your mixing bowl ready, and add in the butter. Beat the butter until it is a bit light and airy, only a couple of minutes, if that.

Next add in both of the sugars, continuing to mix on medium-low speed, then add in the vanilla extract, banana, and eggs.

Stop your mixer, then add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Turn your mixer on low and slowly let that flour incorporate into the mixture. If you go back to medium speed, you are going to have flour flying out onto your countertop. Let’s not go that route!

How to make Ranger Cookies
How to make Ranger Cookies

Once the flour starts to incorporate and stick with the rest of the mixture, slowly add in the frosted flakes, oats and toasted coconut. If you wanted to add in nuts, go for it. My kids are not fan of nuts, but my wife and I are, but in this case I was thinking of the kids.

Lastly, add in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and mix until everything is nicely blended.

The trick here is chilling your dough. I think this lends to a crispy, yet chewy cookie in the long run, and those are my favorite type. So place the bowl of dough mixture into the refrigerator for 1 hour.

About 45 minutes in, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Have I mentioned what a fan I am of parchment paper?

How to make Ranger Cookies Recipe
How to make Ranger Cookies Recipe

Take your cookie mixture out, and spoon, or use about 1/4 cup, of the cookie mixture onto the baking sheet, leaving a few inches in between each cookie. I fit about 6 on my sheet.

Place into the preheated oven, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown, and cooked in the middle.

Once achieved, remove the cookie sheet from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, and carefully remove onto a cookie rack to cool.

Repeat with remaining dough.

I probably ended up with 18 of these cookies, maybe more and they lasted only a couple of days. These cookies are so freaking good, and my kids questioned not once, not twice, but three times as to what was in the cookie. Believe it or not but they got most of the ingredients with the exception of the toasted coconut. Regardless, not complaints, and after about a gallon of milk and a dozen cookies later, I think I made each of those kids happy!

If you are looking for a great cookie, and one that is totally satisfying, give these ranger cookies a try. Hope you enjoy!

Peanut M&M Bars

We recently joined Costco, and to say the least we love it. I priced things out all of the time as I do the grocery shopping, so you have to watch what you are buying. It’s easy to load things up in their massive carts, but there are items I know my kids are going to go through as they pack their lunches on a daily basis.  On a recent visit I bought a large bag of peanut M&Ms. I figured my wife and kids would go through those pretty quickly as someone is always in the hunt for chocolate, so what a better way to get some nuts into the mix as well.  So one afternoon I was staring at that large bag of M&Ms and decided I would come up with a recipe to surprise my wife and kids when they returned home for the day. That’s when I came up with the Peanut M&M bars, and whoa were these things delicious.

Peanut M&M Bars Recipe
Peanut M&M Bars Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups of Peanut M&Ms
  • 1 tbsp additional unsalted butter

Pretty simple ingredients for something so perfect.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

During this time, add the butter, egg, peanut butter, and brown sugar into a mixing bowl. Mix until you have a creamy consistency, then add in your vanilla and flour. Continue to mix so the flour is nicely incorporated. Next add in the 1 1/2 cups of the peanut M&Ms. Gently stir.

Lightly coat a baking dish, large enough to hold the mixture, and lightly butter the dish.

Peanut M&M Bars
Peanut M&M Bars

Scoop the batter into the dish, then top with the remaining M&Ms.

Place the dish into the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes. The batter should come out clean when inserting your knife.

Let the bars cool before slicing into squares.

These bars are everything you love about a peanut M&M, but they have this added creaminess from that smooth peanut butter. Get a nice cold glass of milk for these puppies. Hope you enjoy!

Coconut Dessert Bars

I’m back at in the baking zone, in particular because I have those sweet tooth’s in the house, in particular everyone but me. But let me stop there for the time being. I say stop because these coconut dessert bars are not only addicting, but holy moly are they delicious.

This all started because I bought a bag of shredded coconut some time ago, and yes it is still fresh, as I was going to knock out some coconut shrimp for my wife and kids. Well, that never happened. I got side tracked, and I will admit that. Three kids, a busy work schedule, well, sometimes I just get spent. But I ALWAYS LOOK AT THAT BAG OF SHREDDED COCONUT. That is when my daughter showed up in the kitchen while I was looking at that bag of coconut, and (she gets me every time as she loves to cook with me) I asked if she could help me with making a dessert. Of course she was sold on making these. What kid or adult would not be!

Coconut Dessert Bars

These bars not only are addicting, but they last a long time. A little bit will do you just fine.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ~ 3 cups of Quaker oatmeal flakes
  • 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ~ 2 cups shredded Mounds, sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2o Rolo chocolate candies
  • parchment paper

Simple, fun, awesome. Preheat your oven to 360 degrees.

Here we go.

To about an 8×8 or baking glass/pot to hold your materials (forgive me, I’m not a baker), line it with parchment paper.

To a bowl, add the oats, the salt, then drizzle in the melted butter. Stir.

Next take that baking glass/pot/sheet, what have you, and add the buttery flakes. Push down with the back of a wooden spoon.

loaded-dessert-bars-ingredients

Next, distribute your chocolate chips, and your butterscotch chips (love), along the top.

Top with the coconut flakes, add the Rolo’s, about an inch apart or so, then pour over the condensed milk. I NEVER DO THIS, I ONLY DO IT FOR THE KIDS.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Just make sure you take a peak as that coconut can turn on you, about 18-20 minutes in. Once the coconut is lightly golden, remove, and let cool.

Coconut Dessert Bars Recipe

Once cooled, slice into your bite-sized pieces, and go at it. Again, I’m not a sweet tooth, but holy moly, these coconut dessert bars are a winner. Kids loved them, I loved them (weird), and we brushed our teeth’s three times a day (or at least I did). Hope you enjoy!

How to Make Homemade Butter

Homemade butter? Yes, and trust me on this that it might change your take on butter. My oldest kid uses butter on a regular basis to sear up ham and buns, yep, he is into that and I don’t mind as he is exploring in the kitchen and cooking on his own. After watching a recent Vimeo video of this guy’s passion of making bread and butter, I decided that I was going to make my own butter. If you have never made butter before, try it. It was super simple, and you know what you are getting when you are making it yourself, and that is the beauty of it all.

Homemade Butter Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pints of Organic Heavy Cream
  • KitchenAid with Whisk attachment or a large mason jar with lid
  • 2 cups of ice cold water
  • Salt, optional
  • Cheese Cloth, optional

Yep, that’s how butter is made. Way to simple.

I used a KitchenAid, however rumor has it that you can shake the crap out of the cream in a large mason jar. I support KitchenAid, so I went that route.

Start by adding the heavy cream to the KitchenAid bowl. Place in the mixer, and spin on medium to medium-high spin for about 10 minutes, keeping an eye on it along the way.

After about 10 minutes, possibly sooner, the cream begins to curdle and separate. It’s cool, it’s really cool. Once it separates, turn off the mixer. Strain the liquid from the solid. You can reserve the liquid should you desire. Once the liquid has been strained, return the solids back to the mixer. Add in the ice cold water, and continue to mix until you have a tight, solid mixture. Drain the excess water.

how-to-make-homemade-butter-ingredients

Once you think the liquid has been strained, it has not. Use a large wooden spoon and press the butter against the bowl. Lots of liquid will come out, trust me. Continue until you know that all of the liquid has been removed. I ensured this by placing the butter into some cheese cloth and tightening it until all of the liquid was removed.

Now you can add salt if you desire. I added about half of a tablespoon of course Kosher salt. You could add Sriracha salt as well. Give a gentle stir, and save in a sealed tight container, in the refrigerator.

The end result is a great, really great butter. I haven’t seen my wife spread butter on a bagel in some time, and she was all over that. We spread it on corn, as well as seared up some ham sandwiches. Give this a shot if you want some really good product, and remember, use organic, I think that makes a huge difference.