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!

Rhubarb and Blueberry Streusel Recipe

First and foremost my apologies for not posting in some time. Unfortunately I got diagnosed with leukemia back in March which has prevented me from creating more recipes in my kitchen. I could go on and on as to how I could improve hospital food, only if it were as simple as a spice or two, but I am not going to go there. I’m just happy to be home with my wife and kids, and to be able to be back in the kitchen when my energy permits, and this past week was probably one of those good weeks with as much energy as I think I may have over the next few months.

It’s funny the first thing I did when I came home was make a meal for my family. Thai basil chicken to be exact. Granted we were blessed to have family and friends bring over meals for my family as I was laid up in the hospital, whether that be of gift cards, casseroles, or other homemade goodies; my wife and kids (and I) were so very thankful in receiving all of the gifts during the challenging time, but being able to whip something up in my kitchen felt oh so good, and let’s just say my wife and kids loved the spice and flavor impact of the Thai food.

So I had a small amount of time on my hand this past week, and I decided to whip up a dessert I knew my wife and daughter would love (and hoping my boys would take down), and that was a rhubarb and blueberry streusel.

 

Rhubarb and Blueberry Streusel Recipe
Rhubarb and Blueberry Streusel Recipe

This recipe is so easy to make, and makes excellent use of rhubarb, something that is perfect right now and is in season this Spring.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint blueberries, washed and cleaned, strained
  • 2 cups rhubarb, cut into roughly 1/3-inch-thick pieces, exterior skin removed
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, divided (plus a little extra for sprinkling)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Butter. I know. It probably makes this recipe so delicious. Not only that but the combination of rhubarb and blueberries, along with the light brown sugar brings this one together. Cut into bars, these are addicting. Trust me.

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F.  Line it with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. This helps with removal and slicing when it is done cooking.

Combine the blueberries, sliced rhubarb, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Set this aside to macerate while you make the crust and streusel. I love macerating.

Place 2 1/2 cups of the flour into a food processor. Cut the butter into large chunks and add to the flour along with the cream cheese, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup of the light brown sugar. Pulse to combine the mixture until moist and crumbly, with no chunks of butter remaining.

Remove about 1 2/3 cups of this crumbly mixture from the food processor and set it aside for the streusel topping.

How to make rhubarb and blueberry streusel
How to make rhubarb and blueberry streusel

To the rest of the mixture still in the food processor, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, whole egg, baking powder, and vanilla. Blend until it just starts to come together to form a dough. This should only take a minute or two.

Press the dough evenly into the lined pan (it’s easier to do this if your hands are slightly damp). Bake for 10-15 minutes. I use a glass 8×12 pan a few inches deep.

Strain the macerated fruit to remove the excess liquid. Spread the fruit in an even layer over the surface of the partially baked crust. Sprinkle the reserved streusel topping over the surface of the fruit and then sprinkle on a little more light brown sugar. Bake again for 40 to 50 minutes until the topping is golden-brown.

Let the pan cool for 20 minutes before lifting out of the pan using the parchment paper. Let the streusel cool, then slice into squares.

Rhubarb and Blueberry Streusel Recipe
Rhubarb and Blueberry Streusel Recipe

Take square. Take a bite. BACK AWAY FROM THE STREUSEL. THEN BACK UP TO IT AGAIN AND GRAB ANOTHER SQUARE. This is how it goes with this dessert, it’s that good.

If you are looking for a super simple dessert, one that is seasonal, and one that is darn right addicting, you will have to give this rhubarb and blueberry streusel recipe a try.

D’Vash Roasted Pears

D’Vash recently contacted me inquiring if I would be interested in trying their product and creating a a recipe. I am always game when it comes to that and I was really interested in their product after reading their story. Their product is a date nectar, very similar to what you would taste in a honey. It’s sweet, and really, really good. Their product came in straws and after my kids and I sucked down a tube or two, I decided that I would come up with a roasted pear recipe using this sweet nectar. It was a perfect treat to end our week, and a really nice dessert to boot.

D'Vash Roasted Pears Recipe
D’Vash Roasted Pears Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole pears, quartered
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 straws of D’Vash Nectar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • vanilla ice cream, optional

This recipe could not be any easier to make, and it is a perfect dessert.

Start by heating a medium skillet on medium heat. Add the sugar, water, butter, and let the butter melt down. Next add in the pears and the date nectar. Give a gentle toss, and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the pears soften and the mixture becomes a thick syrup.

D'Vash Roasted Pears
D’Vash Roasted Pears

When you are ready to serve, scoop some vanilla ice cream into a serving bowl, and ladle in some pears and the sweet syrup. Dig in.

The product that D’Vash is turning out is really great and my kids loved it. You can get their products online at D’Vash Organics.

Dehydrated Pineapple

Not too long ago I was fortunate enough to get a gift of a dehydrator. I know, it sounds lame, but it is something that I have wanted for a very long time but never really pulled the trigger on the purchase. I was lucky enough, however, to have a wife that is either a really great listener, or one who wanted some beef jerky for that matter. Who knows. Whatever the case, I’m in heaven, and I have been looking at dehydrating everything from beef to vegetables, to fruit.

The latest was dehydrated pineapple and it was based on an idea from one of my colleagues. This stuff was awesome and my wife and daughter fell in love with this. Packed full of flavor and nutrients, what’s not to love.

Dehydrated Pineapple Recipe
Dehydrated Pineapple Recipe

Let’s get started.

  • 1 pineapple, skinned, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Food dehydrator

I know… complicated, right?

I have a four tier dehydrator, but use however much pineapple, keeping about a 1 inch distance between each piece on each rack.

Turn on your dehydrator, and let that baby on for about 14 hours. Yep, about 14. Check the pineapple about 10 hours in to be on safe measure. Just be careful not to over dry this stuff. My family loved it with just a little bit of give in the texture.

Once you are comfortable with the texture and time, refrigerate them in a sealed tight jar, or vacuum seal them for future storage.

These things are like candy, but yield a nutritious bite, and if my kids are down with that, I’m down. Give these a try if you are looking for different ideas for dehydrating food. Hope you enjoy!